Could This Be The Last?

Today was probably the last day I’ll open the hive until next year. That’s not true, I might need to feed them. Maybe not though, they seemed to have quite a bit of stores. There were two or three frames of new brood, and one of them was all freshly laid eggs, little pieces of white (much smaller that a grain of rice) sticking up from the bottom of every cell. I didn’t see either of the queens, but clearly there’s at least on in there. The bees were REALLY unhappy with me for opening the hive. There were more of them flying then I’ve ever seen. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when I’ve got two full boxes of them.

They seemed to have a good amount of nectar being converted to honey, but very little capped honey. There were pollen stores scattered about everywhere. The bottom box was virtually untouched, although the single frame I switched did have some pollen in it and several cells with a bit of nectar in the bottom. I left that frame next to the hive for the bees to clean up, and they were done with it in an hour or so. The bottom box had mold in it, which isn’t a good thing at all, and some of the larvae were looking slightly green, so I propped up the lid to help get some air flow threw the colony. Too much moisture is bad for larvae. Hopefully the colony does well over the winter. The less I have to feed them, the better. I think my biggest concern is the temperature though. The colder it is, the more honey they have to consume. I’m sure I’ll end up feeding them no matter what. I don’t mind though. Anything to keep the bees happy!

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7 responses to “Could This Be The Last?”

  1. Diane says :

    My 10-year-old son, Charlie, is wanting to start keeping bees pretty soon so I’m passing on your blog to him. 🙂 (And, of course, still following along myself.)

    • willowbatel says :

      How exciting! There are some pretty cheap ways to start beekeeping, if you do the research. Perhaps the cheapest is the Top Bar Hive. All of my beekeeping equipment cost about $450, including the bees.
      Tell him I’d be more than happy to try and answer any questions he has.

  2. Andrew says :

    I was first in shock when I heard the title. I really felt sorry for you. That is until I read the post. Why next year though. Why not check it every day or every 2 days. That’s only coming from my perspective. But, aren’t you their owners (referring to bees). It’s like you’ve known or had a dog for several years and then he starts acting up on you. I only thought the human processor could do that. But, boy I was wrong. Bees are usually easy to piss off, so I’m still surprised the first times you opened their hive they hadn’t overreacted or reacted in some weird way.

    • willowbatel says :

      Bees do not leave the hive in winter, and if the cluster (the bees form a sphere around the eggs/larvae/brood to keep it warm) is disturbed then all their heat is let out and they could freeze. Also, every time you go into the hive, you’re disturbing the hive as a whole. Not only are you ripping apart the bee’s home, but you’re also screwing up the natural smell of the hive. All the pheromones the queen is secreting to keep the hive in order disperse into the air, and then the bees have to work to get the hive back into it’s normal state. Opening them up once a week is already a bit too much. Opening them everyday would be disastrous. They wouldn’t be able to get anything done, because they’d have to work to “defend” the hive against the intruder, and then try and put it back together again when the intruder leaves.

  3. Skydancer (Guardian Angel) says :

    Do the bees ever decide to “move”. Like, pick up and find another hive somewhere? Or do you have ways to make sure they don’t want to find another home?

    • willowbatel says :

      It’s the bees instinct to build up (collect enough honey and lay enough brood to sustain the hive while the new queen is being raised/preparing herself for the job of being queen) in the spring, and then “cast” a swarm. This is because the bees want to split themselves into two or three smaller hives, thus spreading themselves out and making sure the species sees another generation. There are several ways to try and prevent the swarm behavior by making the bees believe they’ve swarmed.
      You can “switch”, which basically means you take the top hive body and put it on the bottom, and put the bottom hive body on the top. This confuses the bees into thinking they don’t have enough stores to survive casting a swarm, so they don’t swarm. Another method is “checker boarding”. You take a frame of brood from one hive body, and replace it with either an empty frame or a honey frame from the second hive body. The brood frame then goes into the second hive body. This is repeated with five frames (or ten since it’s five from each hive body that are being switched) convincing the bees that they are spread out in their hive and that they need to reorganize as well as gather more nectar. This method is said to also urge the bees to begin producing more wax, so that they have more usable space.
      I think I’ will use the checker boarding method when spring comes, simply because the bees didn’t seem interested in the other frames until they were placed in the middle of their cluster. Hopefully I can avoid a swarm, and increase productivity at the same time!

  4. nayyirnensi says :

    OMG, I don’t want the bees to die or them to kill you!, lolz

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