It’s My First Time
Where to start? I have a TON of pictures I’d like to show you, but putting them in a slide show makes explaining them difficult… you know what, I’m just going to do what I’ve always done. This post is going to be long.
This was the first frame I pulled. I know it’s kind of hard to see (my mom had trouble using my sister’s camera) but the lighter stuff on the bottom of the frame (or the top since it’s upside down) is capped honey. I don’t know why they cap it exactly, but I’d imagine it would have to do with making things easier to walk on, as well as guaranteeing that it’s stored away for the winter. If it was left open, the bees could consume it at will, but if it’s capped, then the bees won’t take the effort to chew through the wax and will eat something more accessible. At least that’s my thought. The darker center of the frame is nectar being condensed and converted into honey.
Here is an up close look at the nectar. It’s the dark shiny material at the bottom of the cells. The white stuff at the top of the frame is more capped honey.
Here’s some more capped honey, with some capped brood in the top right corner. Note the solid pattern. This means the queen is laying efficiently filling up an entire section before moving on. However, there is wild comb AKA burr comb on the edge of this. It needs to be removed.
Wild/burr comb is not desirable because it is inefficient and can’t be used by the beekeeper. The burr comb is removed, but the bees can still use the wax to build more comb on the appropriate places.
This is going to be the most difficult thing for you to see. On the bottom of the frame (almost dead center in the photo) is a blue dot. Can you see it? If you found the blue dot you found the queen. B marked her for me before I got the hive, but marking her makes it easier to find her. The color of the dot also tells you the year she became queen. There are five colors in total, but I don’t remember the order or which years they mark.
Here’s the last frame. It’s completely drawn out and mostly filled with nectar (although there were some bright pollen stores as well) but for the most part it was empty. This was the frame that I “fed”. I took the sugar water I made last night and poured it into all of the empty combs. There was some minor dripping but the bees lapped it up in minutes.
Here you can see the bees drinking some of the spilt sugar water. This little blob was gone within five minutes. It was actually kind of ridiculous.
I put the honey comb I bought on the hole up side down (so the bees could easily get at the honey) on top of the hive, and after a while I came back to check on it. I flipped it over and found the bottom and edges wiped completely clean of all honey. All of the comb that was broken was also empty. I did see a few bees chewing through the was on some of the comb though. It was really interesting to see.
Oh and look at the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen! I saw this giant white thing on the cone flower, and then noticed the bee and thought it was doing something odd with the flower. A closer look revealed this. This huge disgusting spider had caught and killed a honey bee and was feeding from its neck. Crap. Can you hear that? It’s a stampede of twilight fans running to be bitten by a vampire.
Some serious things I did notice though; the bees had made no effort to move onto the frames they hadn’t been on originally. Because of this I moved the frames on the edges of the bees activity towards the sides of the box, and replaced them with an untouched frame. Hopefully this inspires the bees to build more comb and utilize their space more. I also noticed that the queen didn’t seem to have lain very main eggs. All the capped brood that was there when I installed the package was still there today.
Things I need to do better next time: work quicker, take better observations (be sure to check for new larvae), and try not to be so messy when feeding. I managed to get my gloves as well as my brush handle covered in sticky sugar water.
It took me an hour to write this. Hahahahaha