Saturday, June 23, 2007

June 23rd Inspection

June was a busy month! We haven't opened the hives for three weeks until today. We first took a look at Hive #1 and found the bees still present and busy. We noticed that the first honey super was about 80% capped! The bees were very calm today, so this was a good sign and we decided that if they are collecting honey and not bothered by our inspection all must be well in the decks below. We didn't open it up further to look for the queen or brood, but assumed all was well. We added the second super and closed it up. We will be getting honey this year, despite all our trials with the bees - hooray!

Next we opened up Hive #2. A month has passed since installation and there was already a good collection of brood, honey and pollen.

We also got a better shot of the queen (yellow dot) this time.

Notice that today, David has gloves on? After a accident with a screw driver earlier in the day, he didn't want to risk tempting the bees with the smell of his fresh blood.

June 2, 2007: David is a Beekeeper too!

After returning from the road trip, David wasted no time doing an inspection of his new hive. This is his first inspection, after the hive has been installed for one week. Everything looked good for the new hive and he even got to see the queen. Notice in the pictures his hands are bare for this inspection.
If you click the photo and view the larger image, you may see that the queen (marked with a yellow-dot) is barely visible in this shot.

May 25th: New Package Installation

Just a few days after the swarm vacated Hive #2, David's new package of bees arrived from Georgia. They had been delayed by weather several times and it was getting late to install them. To make matters worse, they arrived after David had left for a long weekend away with Kenny.

Had the swarm stayed, I have no idea what we would have done with them. I guess it all worked out in the end.

Becky and Austin volunteered to do the installation while David was gone. Here are some snap-shots that Colin took of them installing the new package in Hive #2.

Swarm update: May 20th, 2007

A lot has happened since our last post, here is a brief update. Later on the day of the capture, we noticed a huge crowd of bees on the front of Hive#1 (the original hive). We hadn't opened that hive, but it was within about 10 feet of the new hive where we placed the swarm. It appears as if the swarm was attacking our original hive.

On May 20th (the next day) we went out to inspect. The photo below is the top of Hive #1. It seems to be more crowded than we've ever seen it. This makes us think one of three things happened:
A: It must not have been bees from our hive that swarmed, otherwise we would see few bees at home.
B: It was our own hive that swarmed, and they decided to return to the home base.
C: The new swarm wasn't satisfied with the new digs, and came over attacked and took over Hive #1.
Anyway, were not really sure what explains the very full hive at this point, see both of the photos below:
Later we opened the new hive (Hive #2 below). This was where we had just installed the swarm the day before. Guess what? Nobody was home! Where had they gone?
We sure don't have this beekeeping stuff figured out. If anyone has an explanation, please post a comment.