Friday, August 15, 2014

Bee Dance

For those interested, Karl Ritter von Frisch won the Nobel Peace Prize for discovering the Bee Dance, where a bee, finding a great amount of nectar in the field, returns to the hive and creates this dance by doing a gyration of circles that are suppose to tell the other bees where it is located. 

Although not a scientist, I have watched bees returning to the my hives and have seen most of these dances go unnoticed by the other bees. My own hypothesis is: if you know that all the bees inside the hive are actually not gatherers, but really housekeeping bees, is that; a bee, released from her mundane duties of tending to the needs of the hive, is given permission to leave the hive and fly away in search of nectar or pollen or water, but mainly is able to be free at last, to escape. She fly's away wandering, to search and gather the needs of the hive, no care in the world, and upon returning, is so excited about her adventures that she cannot help but be excited about these adventures. Spinning around in circles, I can her her say " holy fuck, what a great day I've had, at one point I almost got hit by a bus, and these huge fucking flying things kept trying to catch and eat me.  Later

Friday, August 8, 2014

Queen-less hive

During my morning check I saw no activity from  (I'll call it my Mexican hive, after the source) so I just completed a thorough investigation and found only a couple hundred bees still alive, no brood and no queen. So it looks as though they killed her upon installation.  If there had been more bees, I would have taken some eggs from my Nuc hive and transplanted them, but, short of bees, I decided to move the hive over to the nuc hive and place it on the bottom.

I was going to harvest some honey from the Nuc hive but when I pulled the outside-most frame I found that the frame itself was full of capped honey, but because it was a frame for a super, it was short of the bottom and they had filled it in with comb and it was solid with capped brood, hardly a cell open.  Will have to watch and make sure they don't leave like last years colonies.  With the addition of 2 8" boxes at the bottom, I'm hoping all will be well with them.  This is the hive that had to make a new queen and today is the day the new fliers are to come out.

So I'm down to 3 very active hives and they all have lots of room so keeping my fingers crossed.  Later

Friday, July 25, 2014

Bees all went home

My best laid plan went array again as last evening, all the bees I had shook into the QC flew back home.  An inspection showed no queen either, Oh well.

The queen I installed in the queen-less hive is of such superior quality as today, 1 day after installation, the young brood were all dancing in front of the hive.   It turns out to be exactly on time for the hive to have re-queened itself.  I'm out $67 dollars but am happy that they re-queened as I think my stock is better as it has survived not only the winter, but every imaginable thing I could have done to kill it.  You say, why did not an inspection show new brood when I checked?  The answer is that I don't open my hives, but just turn them upside down to check how things are going.  Without cutting out some cone I can't always know what state they are in.  As an armchair beekeeper, I tend to let the bees do their own thing (most of the time).  I also have viewing windows to see how things are doing and once in a while I see the queen sneak by.  Later

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Queen Castle

After checking on my queens today, I found that the feral hive from the Mexican bar, as I expected, seems to already have a queen because they are very hostile while trying to free the queen.  More like, trying to kill her.  So I decided to use her in my newly made queen castle.  I prepped everything and then placed her inside.  I then shook several frames from my nuc into it.  So far all is fine as the bees are already adapting to their new environment.  The nuc had been queen-less also (after a slight mishap) but the frames were full of brood, right on schedule, layered heavily in a good tight pattern.  Couldn't fine the queen, but if she was shaken into the Queen Castle, they will have to make another.  She seem to be a good layer, so if I did shake her out, that may not have been a bad thing.

On another note, I pulled the trap today from behind the Mexican bar as it contained few bees.  When I got it home I was going to use the few bees it had in the queen castle, but the bottom of the trap slide open just enough for all to escape into the yard while I was setting up.  Hopefully they will assimilate into the other hives.  Later

The Queen Castle (QC) is a modified 8 frame brood box with shortened frames to fit my octagonal boxes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

False assumptions again

Today My queens arrived for my 2 hives, remember the re-queening the wrong hive indecent?  Well, today I stopped by my trap and found there to be hardly any bees, and no flight bee's.  My thought is that I have already caught the queen, so what to do with the one I just bought? Hive it and hope something happens I guess.

Got a swarm call today, whom the person swore he knew the difference between honey bee's and wasps. Guess what,  another wasted trip.  The wasps were the very small bee wasps, so I can't hold that against him.  I guess the season is over for another year.  Luckily the 2 trap outs and the split gives me 4 hives.  I checked and they are all full of honey for the winter and next years harvest.  Later

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Removed trap hive today

Kind of a nasty day out so I decided to check the trap from the bar and make sure all was well.  I looked inside and it was packed with bees, so I decided to take it down and replace it later with a new box. Everything went well, but was it heavy, kind of scary from atop the little step ladder, but I got it down without incident.  Lots of bees still coming out of the exit tube from the wall, so I have not succeeded in catching the queen yet.

When I got them back home I set up a new base and made ready to place them on it.  Because they were heavily disturbed and new to me, I decided that it would be prudent to suit up, as I never wear gloves, thr thought never occurred to me it would be a problem.  MISTAKE.  When I picked the box up off of the trap the bees came out ready for action and as my hands were the only thing they could get at ( I believe they knew I couldn't let go of the box) they began in earnest to let me know they were not happy.  I watched as my hands slowly (actually quite fast) disappear being covered by bees.  Luckily, only a few stung me, I think, as after the first onslaught, I felt no more pain.  This all happened in about 15 seconds.

Will have to order a new queen for this hive also.  Up to 4 hives now and because of the excellent weather, they are all doing great.  Later

Sunday, July 6, 2014

New foragers dancing in front of the hive

Early this afternoon, the front of the hive I just added the queen to, was buzzing with new forage bees at the threashhold.  This is not good, as the new queen should just be laying and there is no way the brood could have hatched.  This means that either a rouge queen snuck into the hive and began laying, or I put the queen in the wrong hive.  Probably the later.  I now will have to queen that hive.

On another note, I may have killed the queen in my third hive as it fell over while I was nadiring it.  The hive came to a sudden standstill and became very sullen.  I know they can re-queen so I will let them.  Later