Posts Tagged ‘pollen’

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?

Bees are Way Better than Sims

April 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Seriously. We’ve got a “life-simulation” game going on right in our very own backyard. Gender and class issues (queen, worker, drone); environmental concerns (El Niño, the nectar flow); political intrigue (the reliance on foreign sugar water)–all in one little, wooden box.

So, here’s the cast of thousands, foraging, on a fine, spring day.

I wanted my kids to be able to see the pollen baskets on the incoming bees’ legs, so I saved a section in slow motion. The bees seem a bit less graceful when you see how narrowly they avoid bumping into each other. (Or not.) But it’s still impressive that all the take-offs and landings are accomplished without air traffic controllers.

And now for the great news: I saw the queen! She’s a lovely golden color–and, yes, looks like a stretch limo compared to her daughters. She was running around on the 5th frame (of 8). The bees have drawn out beautiful, white comb on about 7-1/2 of the frames. There’s capped brood and larvae on the middle frames–and brightly colored cells of pollen (orange, yellow), as well as lots of nectar, on the outer frames and on the tops of the middle frames. This was a wonderful hive inspection. (Or as the bees would probably say, “Hey, a space alien just took off our roof!”)

The bees needed more room, so I stacked another brood box on top. They’re well on their way to a lovely, cedar high-rise.

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

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.