Monday, June 16, 2008

Week 7: It's Such a Perfect Day

I did the week seven inspection a day early. The day was perfect, I think, for both bees and humanity. The temperature was in the 80s, bright and sunny with a magnificent, soft breeze. I've been finding that as a somewhat urban beekeeper (I hesitate to call Winona urban!), it is quite difficult to figure out just what the bees are foraging, though foraging they are. I've seen them exploring white clover, but anything else is just a guess. There are just too many ornamentals growing in the neighborhood to exactly know what type of pollen and nectar they are bringing in.

Bee Glad... was thriving. When I opened up the top box, there were a few hundred bees scurrying around the top of the bars. Unfortunately, one of their number decided to sting me on the index finger as I took the inner cover off. Not a very good way to start the inspection but all went reasonably well after that. The bees have been building comb on all the frames, except of course, the green plastic brood comb frame I am using for varroa control. The bottom box was booming with bees. Unfortunately, it also contained two frames stuck together with cross comb. I did some trimming of comb in that box but will wait until the bees fully move to the top box to really split and trim those frames apart. I am convinced that my cross comb problems in Bee Glad... were the result of not having the starter strips firmly secured to the frame. The bees were tearing the strips out and then had nothing to guide their drawing. I am now using waxed Popsicle sticks glued into the frames instead. If the comb drawing in the top box is any indication, this looks like it works much better.

Metpropolis, as usual, is simply a pleasure to work. I handled one cross comb problem in this hive rather leisurely and the bees didn't mind at all. Also, I cut a section of comb off one bar that was primarily filled with drone comb, as an effort to do some IPM against varroa. (Next week, I will do a varroa count on both hives) There was plenty of brood in all stages, and the bees have begun capping honey on the few bars they have dedicated to it. I added a bar and closed the hive up.

Monta did take photos of this inspection and I will upload them sometime during the week, along with a photo of a spider who feasts on an occasional bee from Bee Glad...

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