Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hanging out at the hives....



A few pictures snapped down at the hives this afternoon...it's lovely relaxing down there with a cup of tea, watching the bees coming back with their pollen stores :) click on the piccies to see the pollen their are bringing back and the bees coming in to land...the foragers readying for take off.......guard bees fanning their alarm scent, the wasp on the feeder stealing syrup from the outside of the feeder etc etc....lots happens at the entrance. Notice the dead bee and bits of wax on the porch - the bees have been doing their housekeeping again!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Bee quick ;)

www.currclick.com/product_info.php?products_id=2229&it=1&affiliate_id=436

Free lapbook project pack on bees to print off!!! But only until tomorrow!!!

Great video for you and your kids!!!

tv.hww.ca/video/watch/1

Interesting and informative video for your kids AND you - all about bees and how you can help them!!! :)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Frame from Fauna


Frame from Fauna (hive 2) yesterday. Click on the picture to see the image larger.

I added this image simply to ask people on Beemasters forum to tell me what the various
cells were filled with. I am told that the cells are filled with honey and pollen...some of which are capped. I was actually surprised that only two weeks in there is already honey!! I thought it would take them longer to make honey than that! I guess not!

All I can say is thank goodness for the forums - especially Beemasters!!! I don't know what I would do without them all there to ask for advice - thanks everyone!!!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bees





My bees working hard :)





Pollen patterns


On patrol at the entrance...





Guard bees and bees on the porch....

Bee kisses

Crowds....


Up close in the hive!




Drones




Can you spot a drone in these pictures? He's bigger than the worker bees...his eyes are different....drones are the male bees that are born at certain times of the year and are born simply to fertilise the virgin Queens.

2nd Hive Inspection




Today we did our second hive inspection. I took the camera down with us and thought I'd add a few pictures for you all to enjoy! Don't forget you can click on them to see them bigger :)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Well maybe not!

Well, maybe not....maybe thats just the way bees are after two days of being cooped up in the hive! I've just been back down and Flora is now calm and the bees are coming and going as normal....but Fauna is going crazy with the bees flying about all over the places and bees pouring in and out all over each other!

How strange!

Fascinating to watch! They never do it at the same time though! Interesting!

Somethings wrong with Flora!

video

The bees in Flora seem a little disturbed by something today. They were calm earlier when I was out there. I sat out there for quite a while watching the bees calmly come and go with their pollen. then the UPS truck came by and I was busy with the children. When I went back out, I found Flora like this. The bees were going crazy outside of the hive. I'm not sure what happened to upset them.

Fauna, as you can see is still as calm as ever...a few bees on the feeder and a few foragers coming and going with pollen - it has its busy moments but nothing like this very often.

I wish the frogs would be quiet so you could actually hear the bees!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Excited

I'm thrilled that it's going to be lovely and sunny tomorrow. I'm glad we've had the rain for two days - we needed it, but I'm so excited about the sunshine and warm temperatures again tomorrow - I've missed the bees and I can't wait to open up the hive and see what they've been up to! I'm due to get in there and do an inspection! I hope Lloyd gets home in time so he can join me and we can video it and take pictures!

The bees can get out and about and do some flying tomorrow too :)

Letter from the Premiers office!!


Remember my email to the Premier? I got a letter from his office today! My Email was forwarded to the Agriculture and Rural Development Office. I hope you can read the letter clearly. I know they only reply out of politeness half the time, but it's still nice to get a response and even if just one person in their office learns something about honey bees then at least thats progress :)

Bee pictures from my old home town!!!!

www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=836

Saw the name of my old home town pop up on a beekeepers forum and had to check it out - especially when macro photography was involved!!! Check out the amazing pictures! See Mom - you need to get a hive in your back yard - it would scare off Geoff next door and this guy could come take some pictures for you!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rain

This morning I headed down to the hives to see what was happening. It was raining quite heavily so I knew the bees wouldn't be flying. All was quiet down there. The bees in 'Flora' were busy housekeeping while there was bad weather and were cleaning out bits of wax and a dead bee. Hive 2 (still to be named...hmmmm what to name it????) was just quiet....I didn't lift the lid or anything as I didn't want to chill it. I just left them be. Maybe I'll give them some more syrup tonight if the rain keeps up. 'Flora' isn't taking much syrup now that there is pollen around but if it rains for several days they won't be able to get out anyway....but then maybe they will focus on comb building and getting the Queen laying...

I finished reading the novel 'The Secret Life of Bees' today. Wonderful novel! One part puzzled me though - and that was near the end, when August ordered a new Queen from a Queen supplier. The thing is, August is a beekeeper with HUNDREDS of hives and in her position, would have easily been able to requeen one single hive from one of the other hives sooooo easily! There would have been no need to buy a Queen from a supplier! Or the hive itself would have requeened itself....it puzzled me.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I caught a robber!

Val - I caught that Huge black and white bugger that was flying around my hives yesterday! Remember that massive waspy hornetty thing??? I was sat down by my hives for a while this evening watching them all come back for the night and that nasty thing was trying to rob syrup (not that they have any left) but I got it with my slipper! Ha!!!! I felt so good :) I saved my girls from that robber :)

The bees aren't going to get much flying in the next couple of days if its going to rain as much as they say it will....but we really need the rain and the benefits to the pollen and plants around here will be worth it so thats good.

I really love sitting down by the hives and watching them in the evenings - they are so calm and quiet at night......you just hear them flying passed you as they come home - like aeroplanes landing and then they just walk on in....

Lloyd told me tonight that he loves havng the bees here and that he's so glad we got them - that he thinks it was a really good idea of mine :)

See - I do have good ideas some times ;)

Why is not more being done?

www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=219092

Interesting discussion on why not more isn't being done about the decline in honey bees.

What are YOUR thoughts?

A message to Vals Dad

Last night I got to introduce my bees to some friends to the first time. Val and her family came over for a while and we showed them the hives. I have a few witnesses to prove that Val practically agreed there and than that she will come over and dress up in all the gear - veil, hat, gloves etc etc and join in with me while I do a hive inspection.

Yesterday I lifted up the lid and showed them inside the hive and Val hopefully was able to see that the bees are actually quite gentle and aren't swarming around all over the place. In fact I don't think we were bothered once by a bee the whole time Val was here last night. So hopefully Val likes bees a little bit more than she did before.

So Val is coming to do an inspection with me and I will take pictures or video it and blog it and so Vals Dad can see it on the blog :) Hello Vals Dad - I have no idea of your name so you are 'Vals Dad' :)

Val - you can't let your Dad down now - so you HAVE to do it :) If Friday night is postponed we could do it then and a little alcohol could be provided beforehand hahahahaha :)

Hive inspections :)






Sam and Abby doing their hive inspection this afternoon :)

A gift for the bees......




This afternoon we went out for a walk and the children picked some dandelions. They know the bees love them, so they decided to go and give some of them to the bees. We were heading down to the bees to check on them anyway, so they put a couple of dandelions on the landing platforms for the bees. I'm not sure this is actually a good idea lol but I'm not going to stop the children being actively involved with the bees and I can brush them off later when I go down there and just tell them that the bees did it (if the bees themselves don't do it anyway lol) or the wind!

The children were so happy to be giving them to the bees that I didn't want to spoil their fun!

We sat and watched the bees come and go for a while and it was only a couple of seconds before the guard bees came out to investigate the dandelions. There were two dead bees on the 'porch' already and some bits of wax so the bees had been doing some housekeeping this morning anyway. And now there were these flowers in their way lol! But it wasn't long before some bees were on the flowers enjoying the pollen before them :)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Queen cups


I noticed a few odd shaped cells on some of my frames so I asked on my forum about them and posted a picture. I was told that they are Queen cups. You can see one in the picture above...the larger white cell - almost bubble shaped with another slightly to the right and lower but not quite as well formed.


Play cells, also known as queen cups, are the little cells that look like acorn cups, that appear as though the bees started building a queen cell, then changed their mind and curved in the entrance to be, what appears to be, the diameter of a worker cell. These cups are always around and become part of the furniture so it is easy to forget to look inside them but you do so at your peril because they are the real thing.
"


I was a bit concerned about them to begin with but have been reassured that they can be quite common and that they aren't a sign that I need to requeen - in fact they can be a sign that, pm plastic frames, that th bees are a little unsure of themselves and are taking their time to get used to the frames. I'm going to give them another week alone in the hives and do another inspection next Saturday, weather permitting. Another week will allow them time to get some capped brood and give me time to see some imrovements and notce some eggs, larvae and brood in all its stages hopefully and then we will see that the Queens are there even if we can't see the Queens themselves.


Here are just some of the responses I got that were so helpful:

Queen cups are something the bees do all the time and it mostly does not go any further. Queen cells are something different. They are the peanut looking things that already have a larvae inside and are sealed up.

After only 6 days of having this package, it is too soon to see anything. There are probably eggs already in the cells, but you cannot see them yet until you are trained to find them.

Do not worry about anything now. I think you need to give them time.


and

Some beekeepers were taught (incorrectly, IMO) to solve every problem by getting a new queen. That's matracide not beekeeping. I see you are using plastic foundation--that tells me alot about how your bees will progress. Bees reared on wood can refuse to work plastic to the point of swarming rather than building comb. Queens often hesitate to lay in plastic. Plastic foundation creates some very unique experiences where comb building is concerned. Some bees just like to have a queen cup available at all times. They make them, tear them out, and rebuild in a different place on the same comb or a different frame entirely. Usually you don't see queen cups being drawn before the comb is fully drawn on a frame but the plastic foundation maybe throwing the bees off and they're blaming the queen.

At this point wait and see is the best option--if they cap it, then decide what to do.





and

Well I am still a new bee, but after I installed my packages, I did not disturb the hive for 10 days. When I opened things up I found the marked queens but "thought" I saw eggs. White mini eggs on a white backround was tricky. I just took some deep breaths and 2 weeks after installation, I checkd and there was capped brood...Now they are going full tilt boogie...

Just give them some alone time Wink

Intruder alert!


When an intruder or disturbance is detected, the guard bees point their stingers in the direction of the intruder and open the plates that overlap to cover the abdomen, all the time furiously fanning their wings. Under the last segment of the abdomen lies the scent gland which produces the alarm phermone, a chemical scent that communicates danger to the hive. As the alarm scent is spread throughout the hive, more bees release alarm scent and begin to fan until the characteristic "buzzing" sound of an upset hive become audible.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Pollen




Can you spot the bees with pollen on their legs? And in the pictures you can clearly see the pollen in the comb the bees have drawn in the last week. The different colours come from the different plants. I assume some is from the pollen patties too.

Close up of a frame....

Hive after lifting off the lid



This is what it looks like when you lift off the inner lid....the bees quietly going about their business around the central frames - they are working mainly on the inner four or five frames so far.

First hive inspection





Tonight we did our first hive inspection. We wiated until the winds finally died down - it has been so windy for days! Tonight it is finally calm and it was ideal as this evening was warm and sunny and lovely. The bees were calm and didn't seem to mind us at all!

The inspections went well. We didn't find the Queens at all - kind of like looking for a needle in a haystack! We know its quite common not to find the Queens the first time - so next week we will look for signs of the Queens presence which will be easier to look for the second week.

We also didn't find any burr comb. But the bees have been busy inside and have drawn lots of comb on the frame and have been busy collecting pollen and filling the comb with the pollen. As I checked the frames and looked for the Queens, Lloyd took pictures for me. It was fascinating looking through the hives and watching the bees at their work! We didn't see any signs of mites at all and the bees seemed happy and healthy - we saw several with plenty of pollen on their legs! Thats a great sign!!!

I'm so glad they ahve accepted the plastic frames :) painting the extra wax onto them and spraying the syrup obviously paid off! And the Queens were released with no problems :)