Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Quick update!

Lloyd and I sat down by Flora and Fauna last night and watched the bees come and go. Not one bee used the upper entrance to go back in - not one!!!!! So we figure this is a sure sign that they are ALL using the bottom entrance where the guard bees are and this MUST mean that they are ALL blended. Surely??????? We sneaked a look inside and the bees are busy ding what they do. Just going about their business. And they are going in and out, some with pollen on them.

There are no newspaper bits on the outside of the hive which we expected to see - we thought we would see signs of housekeeping as thye eat their way through the paper while they blend.

The first day bees were using the upper entrance to in and out of Flora. Now they are only using the bottom entrance. We will give it two more days and then we will close up the upper entrance all together and assume the hive has completely blended.

Success? WE figure this is success :)

WE are so enjoying beekeeping :) Lloyd took my hand as we left the hives and said that he can't wait to get more hives next year :)

From someone who wasn't too keen on getting me these hives this year, I count this as a HUGE success :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Forecasting tornadoes by watching my bees?

I've been catching up on my bee forums and was reading about how to protect your hives (or whether you actually can!) during a tornado.... poster wrote the following and I thought it was very interesting:

I read somewhere that bees actually can sense bad weather and will glue everything together even more to prepare for it. I think it made reference to approaching hurricanes.

I was watching a Nova on PBS about animals sensing natural disasters and this retired geologist in Central California has been predicting earthquakes with near 100% accuracy for years. Would you believe how he does it? He actually tracks missing pets in the newspapers and watches for trends. That big Earthquake in San Francisco in 89 he predicted because the area was averaging a handful of missing dogs and cats and all of a sudden it went up to 75 in one day. He said within 3 days they would have a major earthquake, and voila. His prediction was right there in the paper. "So and so predicts World Series Earthquake." Fascinating!

So I could use my bees and the amount of their propolis to see whether we are going to get a BIG tornado! And I thought it was fascinating that pets go missing before earthquakes and such natural disasters etc....

Animals are so clever!

Sam the beek :)

Various bee and frame pictures

Some pictures from our inspections today - various frames showing various cells from various hives :)

Not such good news for Flora and Fauna..

After inspecting Flora and Fauna we made a big decision.

Given that it's August this week. Given that Flora is on her third Queen now. Given that the nectar flow is sooooo short here and that Summer is just a few more weeks long here. There are VERY few bees in the hive now and no time for them to build up their number really before winter.

Given that Fauna is doing a little better but still is on hr first brood box, has not built up her numbers and has very little honey stored - is no where near ready for her first super to be added....

Well, we decided to join the two hives together. It's something we've considered for a while. It will give them at least a fighting chance of surviving the winter - of having enough numbers to ball up together - to huddle together and keep warm for inter and maybe bring in some more supplies in time before the end of the nectar flow. I can feed them through the winter yes but they can huddle in their ball together too and there won't be such a small number now I have put them together.

Basically you join them together with a sheet of newspaper between them that has slits in it and they slowly make their way through the paper....


Freya, my swarm hive, continues to do really, really well! Such a great hive! Lots of hive, soooo many bees - plenty of babies and I think this hive will do really great through the winter!!!!!!

chain links...

Bees link together as they make comb.....they look like little paperclips linked together!

A baby bee in the making!

This ia bee larvae in some comb - it comes from Freya and it actually fell from a frame when I took it out. The swarm has been so busy the last two weeks and they build so much burr comb and lay brood in it all that when you take the frames out some of it falls off. IN fact this hive is quite hard to inspect and the only hive I have to use my hive tool on. I have to prise open the hive because the burr comb and the propolis seals everything up tight every time and the comb sticks the frames together and the poor little babies are in all the comb as well as on the frames!

this little larvae fell on the ground so Lloyd wanted to bring it home ad feed it (??????) and see if he could raise it (??????) and I just wanted to get some macro pictures of it!! On the frame above at the very bottom you can see the part it actually fell from and if you click on the picture and see the bigger version you can see all the other pink larvae baby sisters of this larvae!

A long time over due update!

And an apology to Vals Dad for not updating before!

Not a lot has really been happening that has been worth updating! Summer continues - the bees have been doing their thing! We insect them weekly although it has now been two weeks since our last inspection due to our holiday in the Rockies (we went to Canmore for a few days and then last weekend was busy so we have only just got around to inspecting the bees).

Anyway, when we last inspected the bees we noticed two things. Flora (hive one) had a Queen cell almost ready to be born. This meant that either their Queen had died or they were not happy with their Queen and were planning to kill her off. It was unlikely they were going to swarm as there no signs they needed to swarm. And they have not swarmed so I was right! I didn't get a picture of the Queen cell sadly but it was a beauty - you could see the Queen bee inside in all her glory! It was a big Queen cell. I wish I had my camera with me! Next time!

The other thing we noticed was that Freya, my swarm hive was ready to have a super added (another box) as they had filled 70% of the brood box. So we added another box before we left for holiday. We added two of their filled frames to the upper box to entice them up to the higher level and this worked wonderfully as they are now using both boxes well :) in fact both boxes are now almost full of brood and honey :)

So now I will continue with my updates and lots of lovely bee pictures for you all! And sorry Vals Dad - Val tells me you're not happy that I haven't been updating :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Freya has a Queen!

We did an Inspection on Freya, the swarm hive, and she is doing great! Plenty of eggs, larvae and capped brood, so obviously a laying Queen who is doing great! They are drawing comb beautifully and will soon need a new Super added. They are getting through a full jug of syrup every day!! But the comb is also full of pollen so I know they are bringing in plenty of nectar too....I would stop feeding but local beeks advice is to feed feed feed the I think I will take the advice I am given by the local beeks - especially with the shorts season and given that we are soooo behind! It's July and we are still only on the brood box on all our hives! In the Southern States they have endless Supers on and many have extracted honey already.

Anyway - I am very happy with our progress - three happy Queens in three happy hives now - plenty of brood - and we saw baby bees hatching in Flora today which was pretty amazing :) Canada Day babies :)