Hive Personality Comparison
I spent a couple of hours at my aunts today, working wonderfully next to the bees who were working the last of the oregano blooms and the lush dandelions. I even have a nice picture!
I’m rather sad about my headphones cord getting in the shot, but it’s a great picture none the less. There’s even a cute little damselfly in the bottom left corner.
This picture doesn’t really do the scene justice. It was much more serene in person. That’s Sam in the top right corner.
Anyway! While I was there I walked all through this dandelion patch, and all four of the dogs (my three and then my aunts dog) bowled through here, and it seemed like every other flower had a bee on it. There was absolutely no trouble. I had to dig out a large bed of iris, which has grass and oregano all through it, and the bees didn’t even seem to mind if I accidentally stepped on them while shoveling. I have yet to be bothered by a bee at my aunts house.
At my house however, you can’t go outside without being attacked. I stepped outside for less than a minute, just to walk around the garden, and hadn’t even made it halfway round before being angrily buzzed by a bee, who proceeded to chase me into the house and get stuck in my hair. I managed to fling it out before I got stung, and it hit the ground with enough force that it was stunned long enough for me to squish it. That said, I’m now stuck inside for another week or so, so the population can die down enough that I’ll be left alone.
So, I think my aunts hive will be my breeder stock from now on. I’m not sure which hive is the more aggressive at my house, but Tasha’s bees are more than likely. Which is a shame, because she makes such pretty drones.
I also found a lovely alternative to frames for Warre hives. They’re called half frames. You put a 90mm bar on each end of a top bar, and it creates a sturdy enough structure to handle. The bees (in theory) attach most of the comb to the walls of the hive nearest the top bar, so having this ‘half frame’ means they’re unable, but that you can handle them easier. It’s supposed to be the best of both worlds because it’s a small enough increase that it’s not taking up too much useable room and costing the bees energy for heat maintenance in the summer or winter. So I’ll be asking my cousin to modify the top bars he’s already made to become half frames. AND at the association meeting last night someone recommended I put wooden chamfer on the bottoms of the top bars to act as guides for the bees. Apparently they follow this guide more readily than they do the slit in the bar that I asked my cousin to put in all of them.
See here: Chamfer-Wood.jpg for an image.