Monthly Archives: May 2012

Traffic Jam

I looked out the window as the sun was setting and saw a mass of bees on the hive. I guess this is what happens when all the bees come home to a very full hive – they have to wait to get in.

The entrance is clogged with bees!

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Week Seven Inspection

May 28, 2012

Video on YouTube

The tenth frame, which I added a few weeks ago. Lots of nectar stored and larvae growing.

I thought 10,000 bees was a lot of bees when I installed the package in early April. Nope; 60,000+ bees is a lot of bees. The queen has been laying 2,000 eggs every day and I’ve been able to tell that there has been a significant increase in the population based on the number of bees flying in and out every day.

When I opened the hive today, every frame was blanketed with bees, compared to just three frames when they first moved in. Every frame in the hive body is drawn with comb now and all have nectar stored along with eggs and larvae. I only looked at the last frame I added a few weeks ago so I wouldn’t disturb the bees too much.

Comb on the inner cover.

The bees have started making comb on top of the frames and in the cover. They really need an addition to the hive. UPS says it’s scheduled for delivery tomorrow, so I’ll add it as soon as possible. That should also help cool them off as it continues to get hot.

What I’m wondering now is, if they have totally filled ten frames of the hive body in just seven weeks, will they fill the brood chamber in the same amount of time? How big can a hive get? Will have I have a skyscraper by the end of the year and need a ladder to open the hive?

These bees are too busy working the nectar to notice me. There are two bees on the left that are passing nectar between them. Foraging bees collect the nectar from flowers, then pass it to bees in the hive to store.

The bees have made comb on top of the frame. You can see their little tongues going into the nectar.

We had a tasty treat of unfermented honey from the comb I scraped from the tops of the frames. I also made a gooey mess on the camera and on the cinder blocks under the hive. Next time, I’ll have to remember to take a dish to set it in.

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It’s Getting Warm

The caulking crew

Every day, there is a line of bees filling the spaces around the entrance reducer with propolis. They are very methodical, moving back and forth. When I removed the reducer, it was stuck in there pretty well.

It’s the end of May now and starting to get pretty warm. We’ve been fortunate actually that it hasn’t gotten hot before now, so I’ve enjoyed the cooler weather. I can tell the bees are getting hot too because they’ve been hanging out on the outside of the hive. I’ve read about bearding, which is when the bees cluster so thickly it looks like there’s a beard on the hive, but the books I have are written by people in the north and they only talk about bearding that happens before a hive swarms and runs off with the queen. So, naturally, I’ve been worried that my bees were about to take off. Thankfully, I came across the Bush Bees website, and the writer talks about bees bearding because it’s hot and not to worry about it. Whew!

I had intended to use a shallow brood chamber on top of my deep hive body, but I had read that I needed to use frames from the hive body as bait to draw the bees into the new chamber. I don’t think that really makes sense, especially since bees will apparently happily keep their honey in a shallow honey super. But, whatever; I’m a novice so I’ll follow the advice of my book. The problem is, I’m still waiting for the deep brood chamber to arrive in the mail. It’s been two weeks since my last hive inspection, and considering how fast they’ve been working over the past four weeks, I’m sure they are ready for more room.

In the mean time, I’ve removed the entrance reducer and the plastic board from below the screen bottom to provide more ventilation. They seemed happier almost immediately. Not as many hanging around the outside.

I did a quick hive inspection May 5 and May 15. Next inspection is May 28. Hopefully my brood chamber will arrive this week so I can give them the extra space they need.

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Week Three Inspection

April 28, 2012

The queen! The yellow dot helped us spot her. I’m glad I paid the five bucks to have her marked.

We saw the queen today! She was on a frame that only had some comb drawn last week, but now has eggs. Of course, after I replaced the frame I worried all day about whether or not I had squished her.

I have a new frame lifter, but I’m not sure I like it. The prongs poke into the upper cells, which seems rude since the bees spent time and energy filling it. And it’s a little hard to keep a good grip on it. On the other hand, it does make it easier to lower the frame back into place without getting the fingers of my gloves trapped between the frame and the hive body.

Hial took some really amazing photos today. Since they’re digital, I’ve zoomed in on some so we can see the bees better, like the queen photo above and two others on this page. It’s such a thrill to be able to look in the hive.

Queen

The queen in a newly-drawn frame. She’s towards the left.

This frame is gorgeous! I’m so thrilled they are doing so well.

There’s so much going on here. I’m still trying to figure it all out. There’s capped nectar (or syrup, since I’m still feeding them), capped brood, and larvae.

I don’t know what these girls are working on, but they are deep in concentration.

Check out all the larvae!

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Week Two Inspection

April 21, 2012

What a difference a week makes! Last week the bees had a good start on drawing comb and the center frames had eggs. This week, more of the frames have comb, there are eggs, larvae, and lots of capped brood. The bees are also storing nectar and pollen. It was so exciting to see how much work they’ve done in the past week. I have a feeling things will really start to take off from here.

A drone bee

We noticed this drone hanging out. He’s one of the few male bees in a hive. If he survives until winter, the female workers will give him the boot.

comb

I think the morning sun shining on the comb is just lovely.

The puffy yellow stuff is the cap over a brood cell with a baby bee growing inside. You can also see stored pollen around the brood cells.

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Week One Inspection

April 14, 2012

It’s been a week since I installed my hive and I’m so excited to see what the bees are doing. I didn’t see the queen, but I know she’s in there because she’s started laying eggs.

Checking a frame

You may have noticed my purple gloves – they’re dishwashing gloves. I got the idea from my Beekeeping for Dummies book. They fit my hands better but are still thick enough to protect my hands from stings.

The bees have been busy drawing their beautiful comb.

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First Hive Inspection

April 10, 2012

Three days after I installed the hive, I made my first inspection to make sure the queen was released and to refill their syrup. I’ve been waiting impatiently to see what’s going on inside.

First inspection

Empty queen cage

The queen is out of her cage and a couple of other bees have crawled inside to clean up the last of the candy plug.

Later that day, I caught these bees in action, bringing pollen to the hive.

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