Archive | August 2011

The Possiblily Of Honey, With A Side Of Death Please

Sorry, I meant to post this two days ago when I opened the bees last, but life got in the way.

It’s amazing how much difference there is in the hive after just two weeks. I hadn’t check the hive in all that time for some reason or another, and since it had been two weeks I figured it’d be best to check them. They’ve started filling in the super with honey! They’ve drawn out most of the frames and there was honey in about half of them I’d say. Not capped yet, but hopefully they’ll manage to get some stuff done before winter hits! If they don’t cap anything before winter I think I’ll just take the box off of the hive and leave it out for the bees to clean up. They had 4 full frames of capped honey in the top box and maybe 3 in the bottom box. Most of the pollen is in the bottom box. I figure they’ll just shove the honey from the super in anywhere they can find it. They’ll be able to use it better than I will if it’s not capped by the end of the season.

The bees were A LOT more aggressive than they’ve been all year, even though I used a smoker. I had a cloud of them around my head the entire time and it took about 15 minutes for them to leave me alone after I’d walked away from the hive. And they won’t stop follow us around outside either. Does anyone else have this problem? They’ve been following us around outside all year, but they’ve never been this bad. There’s been two or three of them circling around on the patio waiting for us to come outside today, and yesterday one kept beating its self on the glass trying to get in after my mom rushed inside to get away from them.

I wasn’t outside for more than a few minutes today, in the FRONT yard where we’ve never had problems, and a bee came after me. It stung me on my arm, thankfully. I got the stinger out and sucked out the venom but my arm started swelling immediately. Half of my left arm is now swollen, and my mom rushed me to the ER because my throat was constricting. I felt fine though. It was like I just had strep throat. I could breath fine, it was just really hard to swallow and my voice sounded like I had a stuffy nose. So I guess I’m allergic to bees, lol. But it was weird because the symptoms started going away while I was in the ER. They had to give me a shot in the butt though, which I can honestly say hurt more than the bee sting. It feels like I’ve got a bruise or something on my butt. Or I pulled the muscle or something. My arm just feels tingly on the edges where the venom is continuing to spread, and it hurts to twist my wrist. The doctor also prescribed me two EpiPens incase I’m stung again. So I’ve got to carry those around with me everywhere, which is going to suck.

I think next year I’ll get a new queen, cause these bees are way too aggressive. When you’re not safe ANYWHERE in your own yard, it’s not fun. I’ve stayed shut up inside all day. Last years bees didn’t follow us around at all, though they did occasionally come to the back door.

Oh and Buttercup was stung twice today.

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Two Posts In One

I did open the bees five days ago, as is my pattern, I just was too lazy to post about it. So this post is going to be a kind of comparative post.

The honey stores have gone down a slight bit more since last week. The good news is there’s still 8 frames of capped honey in the hive, 4 per box, 2 on each end. The bees have started drawing out the super a bit more too which is a good sign that there is still nectar out there. Theres a full frame of pollen like last time, though it looks like they’ve started moving pollen to elsewhere in the hive also.

Last week there were 3 queen cups present. This week there were none.

The bees have been a lot more agressive lately though. Every so often one or two random bees will come over and start pestering my mom, sister, or me or the dogs. They left my uncle and cousin alone when they came over, but bothered my aunt. It’s really random. They’ll purposefully come looking for us too. And they’ll wait outside the door for us if we rush inside to get away from them. They won’t come inside because it’s darker.

The dogs have been stung a few times in the past week. Buttercup got stung on the nose, and on the crotch right before bed. I tried to get the bee out of her fur but it was too late. Kira’s been stung a few times, but it’s usually because she steps right on them. Sam got pestered once and I had to rush all the dogs inside because the bee was not leaving him alone, but he hasn’t been stung yet I don’t think. I think I might look into a new queen next year because these girls a much more agressive than last years.

Other than that though the hive appears perfectly healthy and looks like it’s taking all the steps to preparing its self for winter. I figured I’d leave the super on just incase there was a last minute flow and the bees needed extra room. There’s something blooming now that’s producing a dark amber colored honey. It’s really pretty and interesting to see the different colors on the same frame.

Good News And The August Dearth

I am happy to say I no longer think the bees will swarm. There must be a dearth in this area because the bees seem to have gone through some of their honey stores. And there are just over two frames of pollen. One frame was solid pollen stores on both sides. With the lack of nectar coming in the bees are storing the pollen where the honey usually goes, i.e. the edges of the frames. They still have at least 9 frames of honey though. And if last year is anything to go by, there should be a slight flow starting up again before long. I got bored a few days ago and read through some of my old posts and found that the same time last year there was a ton of pollen coming into the hive, but very little nectar. I had to feed last years bees, so I think it’s the size of the current colony (the work force to gather what little nectar is available at the moment) and their good amount of honey stores that’s keeping them going now.

Egg laying has gone down, possibly in response to the slower income of food. I’d say there were maybe 3 or 4 frames with eggs on them, and all of them had a nice solid pattern to them. And there were only two queen cups in the hive today. Both were closer to the middle of the frame. And they looked kind of hastily drawn out too because they came right off the tops of the comb. The bees hadn’t even tried to sink the cups down closer to the foundation like they usually do. I know the queen is still in there though because I did find her, not to mention there were several frames of freshly lain eggs. She’s mostly in the top box by the look of things. Which makes wonder if maybe I shouldn’t switch the boxes so she’s in the bottom box?

Because if the bees stay in the top box at the start of winter, they’re going to have to work harder to stay warm as they move down into the second box as they eat through their stores.

Anyway. The bees had drawn back out the drone cells I’d squished last week, and there were already freshly lain eggs in them. I squished them again. With around 50 drones running around the hive just before winter, I don’t think they need any more.

My aunt came over yesterday, the one who lives on an acre, and suggested putting a hive on her property. It wouldn’t be ideal since I won’t really be able to work either of the hives as if I had two, since she lives a 45 minute drive away. But at the very least I will have two, so if there is an emergency I will be able to do something. So I’ll be making the split next year, probably sometime towards the end of April. I think I’ll just cut the hive in half, as in, taking the top box and putting it on a new stand. I’ll probably rearrange the frames between the two boxes, so there is an equal amount of stores and larvae in both boxes. And I’ll probably keep the new hive here until I’m sure they have a laying queen. Transportation should be fun!

Don’t Panic, There Was Not A Swarm

The bees have been less active lately but I think it’s just because nothing’s really blooming at the moment. There is a giant field of clover a few miles away, but I’m not sure if the bees can make it all the way over there. Anyway. I came home this evening sometime after half past ten. And as I’m weird and like to look at my hive at ALL hours of the day, I went over to look at them. There were quite a few of them walking around outside. As in: more than I’ve ever seen at the entrance at night.
So naturally I went and got my camera to take pictures. After struggling to figure out how to turn on the flash I managed to take a few decent pictures. I didn’t want to get to close though because those silly girls will still go flying off randomly towards the house. There was one that was wandering around through the flowers while I was kneeling there. She’d buzz every few seconds as if unsure whether to fly to the motion light on the house or not. Two nights ago we had three bees inside because they lights at night confuse them and they always fly to them. It’s slightly ridiculous.

Anyway, here are the pictures I took.

I’m hoping they’re just too warm inside and are venting air in (it didn’t sound like they were doing that though), or too cold and are forming this barrier to keep in the heat. My concern is that they’re out of space in the hive and have no where else to be but crowded around the entrance like this. Which makes me wonder if I maybe shouldn’t move the super down to the bottom instead? I have no clue what I’m doing. *sigh*