Sunday, August 23, 2009

Metpropolis Queenless?

I did some work in the beeyard today. I took off the honey supers (nothing really there) on both Lib-BEE-taria and Bee Glad... and dusted them with powdered sugar. I also switched out a drone brood frame in Lib-BEE-taria. I fed the Nuc To Be Named Later which seems to be doing well. Plan Bee... looks excellent as well, though I'll probably have to feed it a bit to get it ready for winter.

But Metpropolis... well... I am a bit concerned with this top bar hive. I kept pulling bars looking for either brood or a queen and saw neither. The workers didn't behave like they were queenless, but I saw no evidence of a laying queen otherwise. One hypothesis I have is that the hive swarmed recently and I missed that, though there are plenty of workers inside. I plan to watch this hive closely. Luckily, I do have that queen in the nuc, so it will not be hard to requeen the hive.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

13 Lucky Tips for Activists

Since much of my concern about honeybees is motivated by environmental concerns and the need for activism in this regard, I thought I'd provide an interesting link (click on title) I found on the IWW website.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Inspections This Week So Far

I've made three inspections this week and, overall, all goes well in Beelandia.

I did a thorough inspection of Bee Glad... on Monday, preparing my mind for repositioning frames in the three boxes next month. Interestingly, it is the second box that seems relatively empty of honey. The bottom box is quite full and might account for why the queen is only laying in the top two. I pulled a frame in the bottom box, leaving 9 in the bottom. The bees were gentle, not overly defensive even though there were plenty of bees in the hive.

Nuc To Be Name Later is in excellent shape. The new queen exhibits a solid brood pattern and the forgagers are bringing in much nectar and pollen. I still have to consider what to do with this nuc come next month.

Yesterday, I opened Metpropolis and found another thriving colony of gentle bees. I did find a few queen cells and open cups located in places that might indicate swarming. I cut these cells out. I will watch this hive carefully.

Friday, August 7, 2009

This Week In Beelandia

Just a few notes on what's gone on in Beelandia since my last post:

  • I did a 24 hour sticky board test for mites in both Bee Glad... and Lib-BEE-taria on Wednesday. I am pleased to report that their mite levels are very low. Only three mites appeared in Lib-BEE-taria and 4 in Bee Glad...
  • The queen in Plan Bee... is healthy and laying. Besides seeing her, I also observed brood in all stages.
  • I refilled the frame feeder in Nuc To Be Named Later.
  • Today I went out in the drizzle to check the hives and one guard bee in Bee Glad... took a distinct dislike toward me. She got me right on the back of the right hand.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bee Glad's First August Inspection

There are two things I am better at this year than I was last year (my first). First, I am much slower and deliberate in my movements which keeps the bees calmer. Second, I am getting very good at spotting the queen even in the large colonies you will find at this time of the year. Both these skills were demonstrated to me during this afternoon's inspection of Bee Glad... .

The weather was perfect for an inspection. The sun was out, there was a slight breeze and the temperature, I estimate, was in the mid 70s. The bees were actively foraging, storing a great deal of their nectar in the top box. I would guess that they are a behind a bit compared with last year's bees.

I found the queen in the second box, seemingly searching for a place to lay. (She was walking around on a non-drawn out part of a plastic frame.) She looks healthy, and active, and her brood pattern, in all three boxes indicates that as well.

I also pulled a green drone frame full of capped brood in the second box, and replaced it with a drawn drone frame. I ended my inspection by dusting the bees with powered sugar.

And again, no stings!

Monday, August 3, 2009

News From Metpropolis

I am back from a weekend in Chicago with Monta and so I needed to get out an inspect both The Nuc To Be Named Later and one of my top bar hives, Metpropolis.

To be honest, I didn't spend all that much time inspecting the nuc. I opened it up, took a glance around and refilled the frame feeder with sugar syrup. The nuc seems to be doing fine and they are taking the syrup.

I spent a significant amount of time going through Metpropolis. As I continue beekeeping, I've become to notice that different hives have different "personalities" and I really enjoy Metpropolis'.

I do treat the bees gently and this hive responds in kind. The bees go about their business while I work around them going about mine. And speaking of business, Metpropolis is doing very well indeed. The queen has a good brood pattern, and the foragers are bringing in nectar and pollen. The Italian bees in this hive have drawn comb on every bar but one. I harvested one bar for honey, while cutting out some drone brood on another. Even with all this manipulation, the bees neither stung or head-butted me like Lib-BEE-taria.