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Showing posts from May, 2011

Done Swarming?

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It has been 8 days since we had our first swarm.  From what I've read, an afterswarm can follow about 8 days after the primary swarm.  The bees have been pretty settled in with two days of cool, rainy 50 degree weather but were out flying well today.  You can see them flying if you zoom in on the photo above.  Hopefully, they are settling in and the threat of another swarm from #2 or a first swarm from #1 is over.  Bees were busy but looking normally busy, bringing in quite a lot of pollen.  Dandelions are turning to seed now.  Oak, birch and ash are producing pollens as well as many blooming flowers.  Keeping the fingers crossed on the swarming.  Hopefully they are now thinking HONEY!
While the bees were busy, I made myself busy and did a spraying in our little vineyard (just over 30 vines), from which we make great juice and a drinkable wine, at least most years.  I like this time of year with the vineyard, when the vines are just leafing out and the new grapes are just coming on…

Still swarm season

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The bees continue to be all over the hives.  Our number 2 hive, which swarmed, still looks as though it hasn't lost a single bee.  This morning they were even more abundant on hive #1, so we decided to go into it and remove swarms cells.  I also wanted to make sure they had a good top opening.
There were certainly a lot of bees.  They were completely covering the front of the entire hive, bearding off the outer cover and off the bottom board.  Not so many in the honey super, which I noted they had begun to draw out some frames a bit.
There was plenty of larvae, and though I didn't look at all the frames, a couple I did look at certainly had some room in it for the queen to lay in.  But it was hot (90 degrees--this will be a record for the 10th of May), the bees were definitely grumpy and telling us so.  Kathy didn't think they were as bad as I thought they were.  I did find a few swarm cells in the top two boxes, only one looking capped.  We removed those.  In the bottom …

Swarmed!!

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Well, what looks like bees getting ready to swarm sometimes is only bees getting ready to swarm.
Rats.
Last night, they did settle down and went back into the hive.  There was normal, busy activity this morning on a day that has been the warmest in weeks.  In the early afternoon I went out to check them again and immediately saw that things had notched up several degrees in intensity.  There were thousands of bees in the air, moving about in a frenzied swirl.  It wasn't long that they began to rest on the trunk and one limb of a recently dead scotch pine near the hive.  (See the short video "First Swarm" at the bottom of the page.)
Kathy went in to get some honey and I got the 5 frame nuc box I had made last year.  We put some honey on the frames in the nuc and I set it right under the swarm, with the lid slightly ajar.  There were still many bees joining the swarm, so I didn't want to try to take it right then.  Besides, we had to leave for a couple hours.  My though…

The Calm Before the Swarm?

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Or is it just the bees out enjoying a rare (for this season) time outdoors?  I'm thinking (hoping) the latter.  I have really never witnessed a swarm, so don't really know what to expect.  If this were animated, you'd witness a steady march of bees up the hive to the cluster near the top.  This was late afternoon, and many bees were in the air, but much pollen was being brought in and there also appeared to be a number of bees just seemingly taking orienteering flights.  At least they were just circling around in front of the hive, as well as I could track them with so many bees about.  We walked out back later, after supper, and the number was considerably smaller and I sure didn't detect a swarm anywhere nearby, so my guess is they were all just out enjoying the pleasant afternoon and are gradually making their way back into the hive as the evening coolness descends.  The other hive was also very active, with a smaller group clustered on the front, but not like this …