Saturday, May 9, 2009

Extreme Makeover: Bee Edition

It's been about 4 weeks since the bees have received their new home, and they have been busy.

I went out this morning to do the inspection: I got the bee suit on, lit the smoker, got all my equipment ready, and when I opened the top of the hive, it started to rain! Bees really reeeeaaaallllyyyy don't like to get their hive rained on, so I closed things back up and decided to inspect it later in the afternoon.

When I did inspect the hive, I saw that one of the frames which had capped brood in it now had open cells in the middle. See this picture:

Compare it with the same picture from last week's inspection (the third from the top). You can see that the cells in the center no longer have caps on them. That means the bee babies were born! The queen continues to do what the queen is supposed to do.

I was a little disappointed that they hadn't drawn out more comb than they had. There was a couple of frames which had absolutely no comb on them. I think it may have to do with the fact that last week I pulled off the sugar syrup feeder. All of the books I have read talk about keeping the feeders on until you need to put on the honey frames - the bees will choose whether or not to get syrup out. I think I'll do that, so I put the feeder back on.

I also decided to add the 2nd layer of frames (hence the "Extreme Makeover" reference in the title). I moved up one frame from the lower super which had the starts of comb and honey on it, to encourage / remind the bees to use the upper area as well. The picture at the top looks a little tall for just adding the additional super; here is the breakdown of what each of the layers is:

I noticed after I got everything put back together, that the hive is now very tall! It's a little difficult for me to see in the top, and it will be worse when I get the actual honey frames installed later this season. So I'll probably remove one of the cinder blocks supporting the hive to lower it a few inches.

Later in the afternoon I went back out just to watch the hive. I am continually impressed how industrious these worker bees are - they were streaming back to the hive with full pollen baskets! I don't live anywhere near a farm, but there apparently is enough pollen in the flowers, etc. around the neighborhood that they find what they need. I made a video of it - I hope you can see the pollen baskets.

I think the rain is helping the pollen and nectar supply greatly (we've certainly had our share of rain lately!).

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