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Bee TV — U Can’t Touch This

July 26, 2010 Leave a comment

You know the Yule log channel that’s on around Christmas each year? I think they should have one that’s just focused on a hive. I could watch these bees all day long… (Notice the very full pollen baskets coming in. Very ’80s. MC Hammer pants!)

I didn’t have time for a full inspection, but I did see that the drone eggs the queen had laid in the super (before I added the excluder) were hatching. You can see four of the newborns chewing their way out of the wax, next to the wooden bottom bar:

I’m hoping to be able to extract at least two supers in a week or so. The finished tower:

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Lucky 7

July 20, 2010 2 comments

Today my wonderful mentor stopped by for another hive inspection. It was foggy and quite cool. (I’m sharing the weather report in an attempt to excuse the behavior of the bees, who ungraciously stung him six times… He’s the kind of natural beekeeper I aspire to be–he only uses a veil, no gloves or bee suit. But today didn’t offer much incentive to change my haz-mat approach.)

I’m so happy to report that everything’s going really well. We spotted Latifah in the middle brood box. The whole brood area was doing nicely–lots of eggs, larvae, and capped brood, but still room for more. It looks like three medium boxes is the perfect number for us, allowing for rotation of space through the frames, as needed, for egg laying and brood raising.

Above the queen excluder, the three supers have been filled beautifully. In about a week, I think we’ll have two supers to extract. That means the rush is on to buy jars, design labels, and, surprisingly, buy and build another super and frames. Yes, the hive’s going to be seven boxes tall. Please join me in thinking stable thoughts.

Happy 4th (and sixth)!

July 5, 2010 7 comments

We were away at a wonderful family camp near Yosemite (Camp Mather) over the past week. Each passing bee reminded me of our (probably 60,000) little ones back home. So it was with great excitement that I opened up the hive yesterday.

The weather has been warm for the last several days, so there’d clearly been much activity. Also, I guess a work force of 60,000 can get a lot done. The two honey supers were completely drawn out and filled with nectar. About one third of the frames already had capped honey. I’m still swarm-phobic, so I went ahead and added another super to make sure the bees have plenty of room to do their thing. A sixth box! (And still not a word from the neighbors…)

I took the Boardman feeder off. The bees are clearly bringing back a lot of nectar and pollen, and I’d rather keep the front landing as large as possible, given all the traffic.