Saturday, August 28, 2010

Inspection report 8/28/2010 - Queen cell, Stings all around

Today we inspected and found a bunch of stuff

1) charlie got stung in her hair. Same situation as me, bee got stuck in there. Yes, I did warn her to wear a hat beforehand. Thanks for asking :)

2) turns out all our 10-frame equipment only has 9-frames in it. oops, that explains why there's so much space between the frames.

3) We found a queen cell! (click for bigger)

I have heard that they sometimes make these without any intent to use them. I hope that's the case. It's late in the season for a swarm or a split.

4) the top bar is pretty much full-size and they are filling it with honey.

5) charlie thinks i have a 'local' allergy to beestings. Lasts a few days, with a little swelling.

6) drones are loud and sound like angry bees, but in reality they can't sting and are just freeloaders

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Inspection report 8/22/2010

Charlie did all the manual labor this time - i just sat there and took pictures.

First up: the top bar that we added is nicely built out:

That's a 19" top bar (same as a langstroth frame) after 1 week of baking time. Not bad!

Since the hive is full, we decided to add a super. Charlie painted it up nice and yellow, and made some bee stamps to liven it up.


Although she claimed no bees were harmed in the inspection, the clump of dead/injured ones at the front door seems to indicate otherwise :) I'm pretty sure she did better than me though. I definitely squished a few.

Quick report:
* top bar looks great, bees are busy building comb on it
* no queen cells sighted
* super had some capped brood
* charlie said she saw brood about, so queen is probably OK.
* at least 2 deep frames of pollen (cells half full, not topped off yet)

We're about 3 weeks since the bees moved in, so whatever they do now is responding to the environment here. (or i've lost the head start i had, depends how you want to look at it) It takes ~21 days for bees to go from egg to worker, so all new bees from here on out were laid at hazelwood manner, not brought here as babies. :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First beesting!

Shortly after I had locked Kid C and myself in the bathroom so that we could brush her hair for school in peace (without fear of her brother attacking her with an egg timer) Kevin pounded on the door "Charlie! Open!" or something like that.
I opened it and he explained a bee got tangled in his hair and stung him (thinking it was under attack?!)
The takeaway: wear a hat around the bees, less your coiffure be mistaken for a death snare.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Inspection report 8/15/2010

We got back into town and the bee tools had arrived! We opened it up Sunday. Everything is looking good. Real hard not to squish them though. I feel bad about that.

About 4 pretty full frames of honey in the super, and most of the middle frames of the super were full of brood.

I noticed the honey was on the outer frames, and the inner frames seemed like they were either empty or brood. I think our bee dealer may have set it up like that in advance of dropping it off. I thought they typically work the middle first then move out.

I also noticed a fair amount of burr/brace/misc comb. I think the frames may have gotten jostled during transport and left too much space in between. I didn't really do much to fix that - but i'll try and arrange things nicely next time. I did scrape some of it to use to prep my top bars. It's nice to have some wax around for stuff like that.

One of the middle frames in the super was basically empty - they were putting wax in, and it had a big burr comb with some brood. I pulled that one and put a top bar in, hopefully they'll build it out with brood. I want to get some brood and honey top bar frames set up in the medium super so I can more easily make splits in the future.

I'm hoping the brood expansion up into the super means they want more bees because the forage is good. I'll be adding another super next week - late in the season but it's warm enough i don't think it'll cause problems. They have about 2 frames worth of space in the super and probably about a frame and a half in the body. Most of the space in the hive body is on the outside - i hear that is frequently left empty anyhow.

The outer side of the leftmost frame in the hive body was basically empty. Not a lot of action there. Only checked 6 or 7 frames in the hive body - they seemed to be getting angrier so I decided to call it a day. Didn't see the queen.

In the hive body, there was a frame that was real heavy and had lots of uncapped honey in it. Also lots of frames covered in bees and brood. I'm not sure i saw any pollen stored, but we'll see.

I had a veil and smoker, no gloves but long sleeve shirt. After I accidentally squished one, another bee stung the cuff of my shirt. Missed me by like 1/8 inch.

I noticed a lot of the brood comb in the hive body was black. I think that means it's old, right?

There were some parts of the black comb whose tops were wavy kind of like acoustic foam or that mattress foam stuff. Didn't see any bees on it where it was like that. Anybody know if that has a special purpose? The rest of that same comb was covered in bees, so I figure they weren't using the wavy parts. I may cut it out if it stays unused, but i'd hate to ruin the old black comb.

Next week: hopefully the top bar is built out, and on goes the super either way. I'll check a few frames in the hive body too.

don't mind the smoke, we're just pulling off your roof

Kevin only ordered *one* beekeeper's veil and *one* smoker. But he wanted *both* of us to check on the bees. I think you can see why he was really the one checking on our "gentle" Carniolian bee family. I sat on a bucket a bit away from the action and found a little friend who had landed on my flip flop. I don't think it was long for this world so I let it crawl around on me while I stared at all the intricate little hairs and tiny little moving parts. Kevin had fun on the macro end of it, I liked the micro.

high socks and pantaloons are back this season.
so are smoking cans of eucalyptus leaves(?)

This was supposed to be a 3 minute video. But my iphone lied and this is all it captured.
at least you see the little hive.

Aforementioned bee friend on aforementioned flip flop.

It dusted off it's pollen-y legs on my hand. Sign of love? Or sign of ignorance? I dunno.

Kevin didn't get the reference

Kevin asked me to create a blog about our beekeeping.

How else can you fit two bee puns in one other than referencing the *Bee Gees* and their song *Hive Talkin'* ?

(Or "Jive", you hear what you want to hear!)

I assured him that old people would get it.

Not too old mind you, but just kinda old.