Thursday, May 19, 2016

Checking the Bees

Last summer Ann loaned me a book to read while I was in Tahoe. Telling the Bees, by Peggy Hesketh is an absolutely beautiful novel. It must have made an impression on my parents as well because every time I talk about the bees one of them brings it up. :) When I think of that book, I can still see my surroundings in Tahoe, that beautiful lake, the warmth of the Sierra sun, and the vivid images of a beekeeper in dusty Southern California. It probably was a big influence on why I was so eager to have bees again and why I felt I should be able to do this myself. After checking the bees last Friday I spent the rest of the weekend cleaning cleaning cleaning to make the place half way presentable for my parents who arrived this past Monday for the week. Thus the late update. (We are having a blast by the way - but more on that in another post). 

Miss Mary, my wonderful neighbor and friend, braved the bees to come over and watch while I checked on them. She took some fantastic photos as well! 
My bee guide, Matt was still feeling under the weather. But since I had not looked in on them for a week I was concerned that they did not have enough food and I decided to look in on them myself.
I had a full pot of sugar water prepared just in case I had to fill the pickle jar full.
As it turned out they had only eaten a quarter more of the sugar water. They must be finding plenty of food on their own. 
 I finally managed to get the smoker working - perhaps a little too well.  It is very smokey - I think too much. I must not quite have the hang of getting something to smolder. It still runs out of smoke too soon.  
In addition to the food concern, I needed to check to be sure that 1. the Queen was still there and 2. that there was a brood of workers and not drones. 
 I found Miss Queenie on the first frame I pulled out. She's doin' dandy. 

In fact, by the second frame I pulled I knew she was doing better than dandy - she's been extremely busy. 
The area in the middle is a capped section of worker bee larvae. That will be the second generation for this hive. 
There were two frames with nice capped broods. 

In several other frames there are exposed larvae in their little puddles of nectar being very carefully attended to. Once the water in the nectar gets down to a certain percentage the bees will cap the cell for the last stage of development.

As this week progresses I am once again anxious to check on them. While I'm not eager to disturb them, I want to assuage my fear that Queenie has absconded or died, I want to be sure there is plenty of food in the hive, and I want to be sure everybody is happy! Hopefully we can do that tomorrow. 

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