Thursday, May 28, 2009

And now....The Bees!

Today is a hot one. It registers 87 degrees in the shade, but the humidity makes it very heavy. I can tell when it is really hot because the dogs just flop down on the wood floors like rugs and you can't move them.

I also found out that today was hot for the bees. I went out to see them this afternoon (no rain today, yippee!) and found them happily making honey and hatching baby bees. Bees fan their wings when they are trying to cool down the hive (or heat it up in winter), and when I opened up the hive I saw several 'cooling bees' doing their thing. There weren't a lot of them, but enough so that I propped open the top of the hive a quarter inch just to keep the breeze moving. I have a screened bottom board (the very bottom level of the hive), so there is good ventilation, but I wanted to make sure the veranda was good sitting weather for them.

Here they are being the busy bees they naturally tend toward. Yes, that saying does ring true. "Busy as a bee" is busy.

The dark holes are where worker babies have hatched and are now going about their business, usually cleaning the cells and hive of trash. These two pictures are of the brood frames where the queen lays eggs and little bees grow and are born.

This is a photo looking down inside with two frames removed. They really like working on the four frames they came with, rather than my frames. Many experienced bee keepers tell me it is because they are plastic, which may be true, but I also don't want unknown beeswax to start my hive because you never know what is in it. So I'm trying plastic frames. Next year I'm going to try totally frame-less, so I'm really bucking the system then.

This frame is going to be filled with honey when completed.

Here they are working on one of the new plastic frames. The actual plastic is black, so you can see they are doing a good job of 'pulling out' the comb. They make it themselves from glands on the undersides of their thorax. I can see some bees walking around on the hive with what look like pale water wings on their legs. That is the bees wax they are getting ready to deposit into comb. Fascinating creatures.

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