Monday, June 29, 2009

Best Bees Ever

The bees are very active this week. I've been watching them come and go every day and it is amazing to see all the take offs and landings happening, and all without a control tower. You can't quite see it in this flower photo, but a bee is just inside one trumpet gathering nectar. I also found one on the squash blossom when I was checking the garden. It is pretty cool to see the bees actually doing their thing up close.

I did a hive check on the bees today. It was hot and still around noon when I got the smoker going and put on the gear, but by the time I got the hive open the wind had picked up. Nice. Thanks a lot, Ma Nature. When it is windy the smoke won't go where you want, it just blows away. Plus, the bees seem to be hanging around the hive area more. It was looking like Atlanta airport at rush hour. The bees didn't seem upset, though, just worried about the possible forest fire I was creating with all my smoke.

The last few evenings starting around 5 o'clock the bees have been gathering en mass at the hive entrance. Yesterday Barry was looking out the window when he suddenly yelled, "Sally! The bees! Look at them on the hive!!!", which of course I imagined to be a swarm picking up and moving out, or some other tragedy. What really seemed to be happening was evening rush hour, or happy hour on the veranda, I'm not sure which. As they all start coming in for the night a backlog of bees collects on the outside of the hive which looks a bit scary, but is only a whole mess of bees hanging out either staying cool or waiting their turn to get into bed.

I opened up the hive and had a look and I am very pleased and surprised at how much work the bees have done in such a short time. They are pulling comb on almost all the frames in the top box, and sealing up many of them which have been filled with honey.

This picture is a frame that the bees have gotten them comb ready for honey.

This one is of a frame that they are starting to close up the comb, which means the honey will be sealed up until they need it for the winter, or until some big human comes in to steal it. The top part that is white is the sealed comb. If you've every bought "comb honey" you've seen this, just not on the frame.

This photo is looking down into the box of frames. You can see they've built out honey comb on most of the frames. Six of the eight are filling up, so I went ahead and added a floor to their bee condo so they wouldn't feel over-crowded. I briefly checked the brood box (the big bottom one) and didn't see anything that shouldn't be there (extra queen cells, empty eggs cells, small cats--no, just kidding about that last one).

While I was out there and geared up I trimmed all around the hive since the grass and weeds like to grow quickly in this heat. The lack of water doesn't help the gardens, but the weeds don't seem to mind. Even with all this heat and no rain, I have to get out there every day and do things. The garden is prolific and I'm just hoping we get some rain to keep the corn and potatoes growing.

That's all for now, see you on the farm!

No comments:

Post a Comment