Saturday, May 23, 2009

Inspection 5-23-09

It's been six weeks since I hived the bees in April, and I've noticed a lot more activity lately. The weather has been good, and the bees are doing what bees do. One thing I've noticed is that in the afternoons there are bees which just seem to be doing some lazy flying in front of the hive. It turns out that this behavior is called orienting. The new bees have to fix into their minds the location of "home" and they do that by flying around the hive, noticing the orientation of the sun relative to the hive, as well as visual cues as to how to find their was back home. Once they magically learn this, they can find their way back from being out as far as 2 miles! Take that, GPS!

When I did the inspection, I saw what I expected to see - lots of bees! The numbers of bees has increased dramatically now that new bees are being born, and most frames were covered with them. Here's another example:

The holes in the center are where bees have been born already. The workers will either fill them with pollen/nectar, or have the queen lay another egg in there. Down toward the bottom you can see some larvae which have not been capped yet - cool! I didn't see the queen, but I did see brand new eggs, so I know she's on the job.

There is still a lot of frames in the upper super (and a couple in the lower) which don't have any comb drawn out. So like last week, I moved a couple of the outermost (empty) frames one position in to encourage the bees to use them (bees build from the center of the set of frames outward). You can't put an empty frame right in the middle of the hive, because you may divide up the brood area and the bees will have problems keeping the temperature regulated. But moving the outer frames each week is OK. I also took off the sugar syrup feeder - over this last week they only consumed 1/2 the jar. I think they are getting enough from the flowers.

I know this sounds silly, but I think the bees enjoy having the hive where it is. They are very gentle when I inspect them, and they don't bother anyone who comes up at other times. I don't think there are too many (if any) hives nearby, because the bees have no problems bringing back food. But I may be wrong. In the morning the sun hits them about 7:00AM, and they start working hard at that time! Anyhow, I like to think I am just being a good beekeeper and the bees like me :-)

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