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Showing posts from May, 2009

Busy Bees

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The bees are very busy with warm, mild weather. Last week we opened the hive and moved an empty frame into the center of both hive bodies. The activity at the entrance to the hive would suggest their numbers have really increased. We will look at them again mid-week and see if we need to add the third hive body. We're using 3 since we are using mediumsized (6 6/8 inches) hive bodies rather than deeps. We may just have to rotate another frame in the middle. If it looks like there are 8 or more frames with comb, we will definitely add the third body. We also rotated the entrance opening to allow a bigger opening. It might have been a little premature since it dropped into the low 50's last night but I think that will not happen often. Fruit trees are past bloom. White clover is becoming very abundant. So far, we have seen few bees on our clover. We really wonder where they are going when they pour out of the hive 5 or 6 at a time, flying off.

Nice days

Eighty degree days, mid 50's nights. Bees are loving this. Today they were really active, ganging up at the entrance. I am tempted to open that up a bit more, even though it still gets a bit cool at night. Maybe next week.
Jessica sent a cool link about bees. Here it is:
http://www.news-gazette.com/special/soundslides/pollin.cfm
Kids getting an education about bees. Cool place. I'd like to visit that myself.

Swarm cell inspection

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Last Saturday, we had our bee class. We talked about swarming, how to recognize the types of swarm cells and what to do about them. Then we went out to the field and examined several hives. Since it was so cold, in the mid-50's, Bob showed us a method of examining them that did not require pulling frames out, thus exposing the bees and larvae to the cool air. He tilted the hive bodies, looking first at the top of the frames to see how many are filled with bees and then doing the same from the bottom. Also on the bottom, we could see if there were any swarm cells drooping down. He showed how to destroy the cells, which were empty, by just using the hive tool to slice them off. We also discussed this particular variety of bee which we all purchased and their tendency to draw comb out in some irregular manners, with a lot of burr comb. We got home rather late since we had a graduation party to attend, so decided to check our bees on Sunday. It was warmer and less windy, much more…

Queen inspection

Today we needed to go back in and complete what we started unsuccessfully last week. We were unable then to find the queen, so we gave it a week and looked again today. It was warm but windy. I'll have to remember to try to do this with less wind.We first took a look at the bottom hive body. We found a lot of honey, open and capped, as well as some larvae. Some of the larvae appeared to be capped, which it should be at this point. We did not find the queen in the lower box, so moved to the upper again, which we examined last week. Much more comb had been built up. On the next to the last frame, we found the queen. She was very easy to spot. In the video, she is in the lower left corner of the frame, difficult to see on the film. We carefully put that frame back in and closed the hive. We never did see any eggs, though we could have been more thorough in our examination. Clearly, there was larva present and things looked fine, at least to our untrained eyes. We have cl…

First Inspection

It was sunny and warm, about 75 degrees with little wind. We dressed up, fired up the smoker and went out to do our first inspection of the hive other than checking the feeding can. Our goal was to see if the bees were building up comb and to see if we could locate the queen. I had wanted to take pictures but we felt we needed to concentrate on the task this first time. I will get photos next time.
Although a number of bees were flying in and out of the hive, it was interesting how many were in the frames and on top of the frames in the top box. There were some up in the box housing the feeding can but only a dozen or so. Once we smoked, then removed, the inner cover, we saw hundreds of bees in the frames and many on top of them. I removed the frame farthest back, which had no bees or comb built up on it. We moved a couple frames over, then pulled a frame out to inspect. The whiteness of the new comb they had built up was surprising. It looked clean and fresh. Our previous e…

Feeder check

It was time to check the feeding can yesterday and it was a good thing I didn't postpone that. We used a metal full-sized coffee can and it was down to about an inch remaining. It was full when we installed the bees less than a week and a half ago. We only had enough remaining sugar to refill half of the can so we will need to check it again next week. There were probably a dozen bees in the upper part around the feeder. It was a warm day so bees were busily coming and going. I didn't take smoke and didn't really need it since they paid me little attention. It is to be warm and not too rainy the next several days so they should remain pretty active. I'm getting anxious to get in and make a check of the frames. We may try that Friday.

Nice days

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We have been in a short spell of some terrific weather and the bees seem to be loving it. Dandelions are in full bloom and the bees are taking advantage.


This video was shot late afternoon, when activity for the day was winding down, at least outside the hive. Located next to some pine trees, the hive gets late afternoon shade. You can see some bees moving around the small entrance hole in the front. Sometime later in the week we will open the hive and check to see how things are going and try to find the queen. As busy as the bees have been, we think there are certainly some things happening in the hive.
Dandelions are not the only things popping around here. Grant has developed quite a keen eye for finding morels, which were late this spring but have been popping in some pretty big numbers the last couple days.