Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Visitors to the hives!!!!
This morning we had some special visitors to our hives! Vals Dad is in town from Vancouver Island, and he treated Val and I to breakfast (thank you so much) and so in return I treated him to a taste of honey from each of the hives!
The combined hive of Flora and Fauna continues to not do well, and so I plan to combine it with my Swarm hive Freya for the Winter to enable the bees to make it through winter with Freya's honey stores. They will kill off one of the Queens (hopefully the Flora/ Fauna Queen which is obviously not the stronger Queen at this time but that is something that will be left to the bees to fight out). They really are struggling badly and quite aggressive now and protective over the hive so I think I won't wait and may well combine them tonight while I know the frames are separated easily from the inspection.
Then in the Spring I will split the hive and then hopefully next year they will do well and be quick to get going as they won't have to draw up all that cmb again as the comb will already have been drawn up! (they will have eaten all the honey and emptied the comb over winter and will again start to fill the comb that spent all that time making THIS year).
Anyway.....so we opened up the smaller hive first and tried some honey there and looked at capped brood and saw how dark that is compared to capped honey which is all golden and light here right now (although it can be quite dark depending on the nectar flow). We saw how empty the first hive was and how crazy the bees were. I had problems trying to get the smoker going (normally Lloyds job - if I'm alone I don't often bother but as you get closer to Fall the bess tend to get more protective of their honey so you tend to have to use your smoker a little more - especially on a hive with very little honey!!!!)
Then we opened up Freya and Val and Cliff were able to see the difference ina good health hive compared to a poorly producing hive. Freya is working beautifully! This colony is just doing what it should! They are now filling all the foundationless wooden frames and they just look gorgeous! The honey filled frames are sooo heavy! The honey is such a beautiful colour! The bees aren't aggressive at all now.
We lifted off the top box and one of the wooden frams was attached at the bottom and the bottom of a frame came apart falling to the ground and a lot of comb honey came away! Val ran up to the house to get a plate and the children all stood around with a plate of comb honey covered in bees and ate it - literally sharing this honey with the bees - bees so drunk on honey they couldn't move! Several bees died in the honey where they were stuck in it :( After everyone had had enough we put the plate by the front of the hive and the bees will clean it up for us. I hear they do a good job of cleaning up frames so I will take a picture later and add it so Val and Cliff can see how good they clean it up themselves!
Val did very good by the hives - The hats and veils were there for her to wear but she didn't!!!! She came pretty close a few times and she DID put her finger in the frame to try the honey - and the bees were on the frame at the same time! And at times the bees were flying around all over the place so I was impressed :) Although much of the time Vals hands were tight around her neck ;) But she didn't call me names like my friend Holly that came over last week - Holly called me 'The crazy British Bee Lady'.....
Ok so the next few posts will be pictures from this morning :)
Thanks so much to Val and her Dad Clifford for coming over this morning - I had a great time!
Posted by Jane at 1:45 p.m.