Posts Tagged ‘comb’

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.


Mystery of the Vanishing Queen Cup

June 25, 2010 2 comments

I raced home at lunchtime today to do a hive inspection. It’s been very cold, windy, and foggy, so I wasn’t able to check on that troubling queen cup I saw on June 12. Since today was a bit warmer, I decided to take a quick peek. I was a bit rushed, so I didn’t get a chance to look closely for Latifah, but there was a lot of capped brood and larvae. And, intriguingly, the queen cup had vanished… So, that stuff about queen cups sometimes being part of the normal “furniture” of a hive seems to have applied here. Maybe the bees chewed it up to make tiny ottomans.

Amazingly, the super I’d added 12 days ago not only had all of its frames drawn out, but was also already full of honey! (Click for a larger, undistorted view)

6 of the 8 frames were fully stocked and partially capped. I added another honey super below the top one. We’re now up to five stories of bees.

The bees in the two upper supers were docile and charming; those in the brood boxes seemed unusually peevish today. Did my stomach growl when I saw the honey? I think they’re on to me.

Replaced the empty bottle of diluted sugar water with plain water

Guardian of the Bees

June 12, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s been unusually warm the last few days–and the bees have been very busy. The third box is mostly drawn out, with lots of honey and a little bit of pollen already in place. I added the fourth box–which will be  either our second or, most likely, first honey super. No queen sighting this time, but everyone else looks great.

I don’t know if it’s the promise of honey or a sense of animal kinship, but one of our dogs has taken to spending hours staring out the window at our hive. Maybe he’s guarding the colony.

Or maybe not:

Gave bees a 1:4 sugar water bottle, since they’re still building comb.

Beekeeping with Kids

May 23, 2010 4 comments

I love the first view of the colony, just after I take off the inner cover. All those little bee-heads (now, probably 20,000) staring up at me. Maybe our own house isn’t that crowded, after all.

We had a great family hive inspection this afternoon. Two of my kids are showing definite signs of beekeeping interest. They had to trade off using the one extra veil, but still had a lot of fun. They’re certainly more fearless than I am. And their adventurous natures paid off with an audience with our queen.

Latifah on 2nd frame of top box
As soon as we closed the hive, the foragers started returning–many with pollen baskets full of bright orange, golden yellow, and tan pollen.
It was a gorgeous (that is, un-foggy) day–and our other creatures enjoyed themselves, as well:
New bottle of sugar water on 5/20. Add third medium brood box in a week?

Baby Bees Due Any Day

May 3, 2010 2 comments

It takes 21 days for new worker bees to emerge. So, since this is day 22 for the hive–and assuming Her Royal Highness began laying eggs within a few days of being released–we should have several hundred bouncing baby bees any day now.

I opened the hive for an inspection today. The top box had a bit of burr comb that I had to scrape out. (The Italian hive tool I got from Brushy Mountain is perfect for this.) Only the middle frames had any comb drawn out, so I probably won’t have to add the third brood box for at least a week.

The bottom box was filled (really packed) with capped and some uncapped brood, pollen, nectar, and much honey.

It’s still breathtaking to be working with 10,000 bees–and these are just the original colony. Wonder what 50,000+ will be like…

Grand Opening

April 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Big day today–the first official hive inspection. Lighting the smoker went better and I got the hive open quite easily. Despite the relatively warm, sunny weather, there were a ton (ok, probably three pounds) of bees in the hive. And they were hard at work.

If you look closely, you can see where they’ve started drawing out the comb on the wax foundation.

There were several cells with bright yellow or orange pollen–and some cells were already filled with glistening nectar.

But I couldn’t find the queen or any eggs. This could mean: (1) she’s gone to the Great Beehive in the Sky and we’re doomed or (2) I’m too myopic to find tiny white eggs on pure white comb. I’ll check again in a few days…

Otherwise, though, our little friends seem to be thriving. Lots of foraging activity and the feeder bubbling away like a water cooler.

So, I closed up the hive carefully–without squishing anyone. Whew.

Sugar water bottle empty; replaced with fresh 800 ml bottle.