Wednesday, November 4, 2009

BEE- vorce

The day following our Halloween foray into the hive, we noticed a LOT of bees up and about in the air. We also noticed a veritable bee wrestling match occurring in various places on the ground in front of the hive.

Oh WOW!!
That kind of scared us because we didn't mean to completely upset the bee cart.

Then Kelly got on youtube and discovered a video that showed EXACTLY what we were observing. It just happens to be that time in the cycle of the hive when the girls decide they can make it through the winter without the guys. They kick the drones out of the hive so they don't just hang around uselessly, watch football, drink beer, and gobble up all the honey stores.

Like I said . . . BEE-vorce.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gettin' Ready for Winter

Beecause (sorry!) yesterday was a gorgeous day, sunny and hardly any wind, it was a good day to play with the bees. So we suited up, opened the hive, and looked at every frame. And, we since we thought the bees had too much space to keep warm for the winter (two deep brood boxes and a super) we consolidated the space to one brood box and one super.

We started the party with a little smoke, mainly cause Kelly and I like to light matches and using the smoker is a good excuse to do that. Despite our messing with their home and their honey the bees were surprisingly calm so maybe we didn't need the smoke, but it's fun so . . .

The gals (most of the bees are gals) had really stuck the frames together, so Kelly had to work hard to get into the frames.

We found a little bit of everything. Some great looking capped honey, which we'll leave on the hive for the bees to eat through the winter, some frames like this blackish looking one that has pollen and brood, and some nasties--like small hive beetles.

We took the frames that had lots of hive beetles on them, put the frames in a big plastic bag, and put them in the freezer. We left the frames that had lots of good stuff going on . . . brood and honey. We didn't actually see the queen, which is disconcerting. e did see some balls of bees that may have been hiding her--we hope!

Moving the frames caused some honey to become dislodged, so I took a plop of it and placed it on the top of the hive when we were all finished. Then, I put a macro filter on my camera and enjoyed the show.

If you can have a favorite bee, this is mine. She was very cooperative at the photo shoot.

With the macro lens, my face is just inches away from the subject, which bothered neither the bees, nor mee--fortunately.

Wee (sorry again) ended up with quite a bee picnic.

What is a picnic without an uninvited guest??? This red-head suffered the revenge of Ann's stick and consequently did not live long enough to invite her friends. And finally, look there IS a picture of Ann, albeit one taken in the reflection of the glass door.