Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bee-Bo - social networking website for bees

Sorry about that!

Well, I did a check of the hive yesterday after work and things still appear to look fine. The weather continues to be generally summery compared to the whole of July which was seemingly the worst in 50 years or so. I can easily believe it!

All the same, lots of bees were flying (a good sign) and there was plenty of activity around the hive entrance.

The smoker wasn't going too well - I consider this is a real skill which I am far from mastering - I had to stop a couple of times and relight it.

Starting at the rear of the hive [I have the frames running parallel with the front gable entrance - this is the "cold way" I think],I worked my way through each frame. There was plenty of honey, both uncapped and also with the thin waxy seals which the bees cover the cells with when they're full. A couple of the frames were surprisingly heavy - full of the sweet golden liquid.

The sunshine wasn't so strong by this stage and I saw lots of cells with tiny single eggs standing upright at the cell base - remarkably again just like the books say! [Bees seem very well-read!]. The fresh eggs also appear to be in the scattered cells previously left unfilled with the exception of the cells corresponding with the wired frame reinforcement which she leaves alone. These eggs are only one day old so I know that the Queen, again escaping my clutches, was around within the last 24 hours so I'm not concerned that she's unhappy with her surroundings.

I looked through the rest of the frames for anything out-of-place but it all seems normal. Noticeably there were fewer drone cells and adult drones than last week which probably indicates that the ladies are preparing to settle down for the off-season and don't need these guys around anymore eating their food and generally getting in the way - a true matriarchy!

There were still cells on the outer frames which contained the multi-coloured pollen.

Having untidily topped up their syrup reservoir (I really need to improve how I do this!) and helped myself to the excess wax from the crownboard (a kind of ceiling), I replaced the roof and duly retired to leave them for another week to continue to rear the youngest family members. These potential infant bees will likely form the over-winter population that will keep the hive warm and support the Queen through the long winter days until the lengthening days of next spring.

Below is a video of the bees gorging themselves on honey after I'd puffed some smoke.


Pia said...

Hi Cliff,
My queen also ignores the wired area in the frame - I wonder why! You mention lots of honey - do you mean in the super or in the brood box?

Cliff W said...

I got my 4 frame nucleus quite late - middle of July - and only having fresh foundation frames to draw out and the bad weather the bees have had to work never hard. This has been my reasoning not to add a super yet.

However, having spoken with a local expert beekeeper recently, I am concerned that I now have too much honey stored in the B.C below vs upcoming brood. At the last inspection, I had around 4 full frames of brood (eggs and larvae (open and sealed) & a couple of foundation frames being drawn out. The remainder were a mixture of brood (all stages) and honey stores. The potential problem is that I will not enough bees going into the winter.

In reality, it seems to be agreed that it is a fine balance between feeding them enough to keep them alive in the poor weather (which everyone recommends!) and overfeeding them so the space for new brood starts to be compromised because of honey.

I will be looking this evening to see if I can manipulate the frames at all. Also praying that those torrential storms don't return!