Archive | June 2011

A Quick Summary

I’ve opened the bees twice since I posted last. They’re REALLY low on honey. Last week I put the supper box on and put a tin can of sugar water in the middle of it so I knew they would have something to eat. The weather has been perfect and there’s bees coming and going constantly all day, but for some reason they’re just low on honey. They’re all over the yard though. Particularly the bell flowers near the gate, as well as the white flowered, waxy leafed shrub across the pathway from them. The hive had plenty of pollen last I looked. I think they’re going to requeen though because they keep making queen cells right in the middle of the frames. I found the queen and she looked alright, and there are eggs all over the place. There were 4 full frames of capped brood, and a few more with mixed stages of bees.

The two queen cups they built when I was last in the hive were right in the middle of capped brood so I couldn’t really squish them. They looked like they’d been made while the brood was still young because some of the combs had been sort of contorted to make room for the queen cup. I figured, if they’re getting that desperate to make a queen, I’d let them. And I feel like the lack of resources would prevent them from swarming.

Other than the lack of honey though, the hive is healthy and active. I saw a few drone cells too, and I’m excited to see what they look like. I only got to see one drone, and that was while I was helping B about a year ago when he was putting a package in one of the hives. I feel like, if I’m not allowed to let my hive swarm, I might as well let them have a few drones so they aren’t completely out of the gene pool. The more diversity, the better.

That’s all I’ve got for now. It’s supposed to sprinkle on and off for the next few days, but it’s been in the high 60’s and mid 70’s since last Thursday, so I’m not too worried about the bees. And with the Fireweed just starting to bloom, the extra rain should help give things an extra bit of nectar.

 

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A Hatching

Do you remember all those eggs the queen laid back on the 22nd of May? They were hatching on Friday. I opened up the hive and was surprised to find all these oddly pale colored bees crawling about the hive. One frame had a couple bees poking their heads out of their combs so I stood and watched for a minute while they struggled to get out, which was something I’d never seen before. It was slightly anti-climatic, I’ll admit. The bee had chewed through most of the wax already, so I just watched her pop her head out once or twice and then pull herself fully out of the comb and start walking around. She looked a lot paler and her hair’s were lighter colored, as were a bunch of the other bees around her. It’s about time they started hatching though. I feel like the population has gone down quite a bit since I got them. There are always bees coming and going, but there’s not a back up at the door like there usually is. No matter. With the fresh batch of bees hatching, the hive will fill up in no time. I can’t wait to put the second box on. I reaaaaaally want to see them fill it finally. There are a few frames that still need drawing out however, so I’ll wait until they’ve packed themselves into their current box before putting a new one in.

They did draw out a funky bit of comb on one of the empty frames. They’d tried to build the wax up away from the foundation so that it would have two sides to use instead of one. I cut it off and smooshed it down and stuck it to the frame so they could chew it up and reuse it, but redraw it in the proper way.

Anyway, that’s all the excitement for now. Oh! Except some of the pollen that the bees had collected was black. They have a bunch of comb’s filled with black pollen. The only thing I know of that makes black pollen would be tulips, but those have all stopped blooming. Any ideas?

Various Pollinators In My Yard

We somehow manage to have quite a few bees in our yard, excluding the honey bees. We have blue orchard mason bees, little stingerless bees whose name I don’t know, as well as two or three types of bumblebee. I managed to get some pictures of the little bees whose name I don’t know. They’re so small I didn’t notice them before, but I was taking my thrice-a-day stroll around the yard and spotted them buzzing around this purple vining thing (the name of which I used to know but have forgotten).

Anyway, here’s the pictures.

In comparison, here’s a honeybee.

Here’s some bumblebees.

There was another bumble in the yard but my camera wouldn’t focus on it. These pictures were the best I could get.

Anyway. I just wanted to show that my yard isn’t completely devoid of life. Wich for some reason I’m convinced it is.