I have a large essay to do today, which has prompted me to sit outside in the hopes that I will be less distracted. Of course, its “nice” out (50 degrees) today which means that the bees are also out. They were loud enough to be heard from the patio, and the number of drones out has been relatively consistent the last few times, which makes me confident that these bees are definitely mine and not just robbing the hive. I went and banged on the box the other day and got the same silent response though, which I find really weird. The number of drones is also bizarre to me, and the fact that every one I looked at had at least one deformed wing. At least these guys also had tattered looking wings, which makes me hope that the girls are ready to be done with them so they can increase brood rearing for the spring. The deformed wings are always the longer pair, but there were bite marks on the shorter pair on some of the drones today as well. Unfortunately I don’t remember the names for the longer/shorter pairs of wings on the bees to be technical with you.
I was very pleased to find a worker bee, and almost got a picture of her for you. She appeared perfectly normal/healthy. She was a little bit more golden than the bees this summer, but I’m ok with that. The drones are a vibrant gold in the sunlight, and you can always tell when one’s at the entrance.
I don’t expect to get any honey from them this year, because I’m going to have to force them to redraw all of their wax so that I can actually pull the hive apart and check things out. I’d really like to split them before I do that though, because clearly one hive is not enough to make it through the winter. Maybe I can just switch the hives around like I did last year, transfer some bees into White Hive, and get a new queen for them. I’m really debating buckfast or those extremely hygienic bees. There’s a couple that keeps bees over on the peninsula who have something similar to that strain, but which they bred themselves. And because it’s a lot more local than Michigan or wherever those bees come from, I’m more inclined to buy from them. Hmm… I’m not exactly sure what I want to do yet.