Monday, July 28, 2008

Week 13: Cranky Bees

This week's inspection was split between two days, as rain suddenly interrupted Sunday's inspection. Monday was a hot, muggy day, unlike much of the weather we've had all summer here in southeast Minnesota. The bees are foraging in great numbers and seem a bit defensive. I've been chased by a number of guard bees recently. As a local beekeeper told me at the Farmer's Market Saturday, "The bees must be up to something."

When we (Monta, Tristan (an interested 10 year old relative) and I) opened up Bee Glad... on Sunday, I was quite surprised. The top box, which was on the bottom of the hive last week and was essentially empty, was now heavy with uncapped honey. They had practically filled the top box in a week! The middle and bottom boxes indicated the same busy activity. The queen is still laying, there was some capped brood, and plenty of honey was brought into the hive.

While Tristan and I did not get stung during the inspection, Monta did, right near her left eye. Monta was not wearing a veil like Tristan and I, and the bees exploited that weak spot in our defense to attack... Of course, if you know Monta at all, you also know that she was right back out there after removing the sting and inspecting the wound. The eye was a little puffy this morning but nothing too bad.

I left a sticky board under the screen to get a mite check on Bee Glad... and then the rains came. I was a bit concerned about mites, having found one drone outside the hive with mite right on him.

This morning I inspected Metpropolis, the top bar hive. The weather was sunny, hot and very little breeze.

Metpropolis has turned into a big, thriving hive with a good queen and foragers bringing in much honey. I found one drawn bar filled with capped drone brood which I inspected and found a few larvae with mites. I disposed of the capped brood and placed in another bar. I will take a mite count on Metpropolis immediately.

We will see what the mite counts are in the next few days and then figure out a sustainable strategy for dealing with them.

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