Today was an outdoor bee meeting at Keown Orchards in Sutton. The weather is starting to get a little cold, and today was a windy day.
The bees at the orchard were particularly nasty as well, due to the weather and the fact that there wasn't any nectar available. Here are some pictures:
There's a bee on some goldenrod:
The hives weren't really in very good condition - lots of dry rot. The bees were using this as a back entrance.
Ken working the bees. He ended up putting on a veil. You know the bees are nasty when Ken puts on a veil! The bees were also irritating the observers, so I didn't stick around.
There was this pretty cat walking around the orchard, very friendly. Had to take a picture of it! :-)
I also took the opportunity to inspect the backyard hives. Just wanted to do a queen check and see how they are doing on food.
I like to look down into the frames to judge the overall activity of the hive.
Saw the queen in the White Nuc - marked red (it's a little dark - she's along the top wooden part of the frame on the left).
Found the queen here too - red dot (it's easy(-ier) to find the queen in a Nuc - only 5 frames to deal with!)
Good activity on this hive as well.
This nuc has the yellow-dot queen formerly from the Green Hive (from last year):
This hive was a little different than the rest - it was packing away the nectar a lot better than the other nucs.
The Green Hive is doing a good job putting up some honey in the super, but it just won't / can't finish it off:
I don't know if I'll get any of this - probably not; I'll leave it for the winter stores.
But I did see something strange. A little over 2 weeks ago I put in some Mite-Away Quick Strips for mite control. I pulled out one of the frames on the Green Hive and this is what I found:
This used to be a full frame of comb; now a lot of it is missing (you are seeing through the frame to the Brown Hive). I've never heard of bees doing this. Right under this frame was one of the MAQS pads, and as you can see, there is a lot of junk on top of it:
The only thing I could figure was that something about the MAQS pads the bees didn't like, and it made them think they needed to tear down some of the comb.
But the queen was still laying:
And here she is (another weird thing - the queen usually doesn't like to be on a honey frame, and this frame is almost exclusively honey).
The Brown Hive has a honey super on it, but it is bone dry. They haven't done anything with it all season.
But in the hive proper there are plenty of stores - a full honey frame:
The Brown Hive is an enigma - I have never been able to spot the queen in this hive all season! But there is plenty of evidence she is doing what she needs to. Here's a frame with honey and brood (the white things in the cells are larvae):
And another frame packed with brood - excellent!
But... I did see a queen cell! I decided to tear it down since it's too late in the season to make a new queen. They'll just have to deal with the queen they have.
By the time I got done with the inspection, a lot of bees had collected on top of the frames. Happens sometimes. If you enlarge the picture, you can see some bees along the back edge (to the left) have their tails in the air scenting:
Overall things are doing just fine.