Monday, May 30, 2011

Hive #2 Inspection May 28, 2011

We completed the first inspection of our new "Nucleus" Hive, which we brought home and placed in our Apiary on Friday, May 20th.  The Bees were calm and well behaved and we removed frames and took a look at the hive progress.  We didn't see any new eggs or Larvae, but they still have some capped brood that hasn't emerged yet.  They are doing a good job at drawing comb on the empty frames, and we did see the Queen, and she appeared healthy.  She may not be mated as of yet, which would explain the absence of eggs and larvae.  They are taking the syrup we are feeding them, and storing lots of it in the frame cells, so that's a good sign things are fine.  They are also foraging, and bringing in pollen and storing it for the brood.  Hopefully by next weekend she will be laying and beginning the process of building up the bee population.

We did notice that the bees have constructed 2 Queen cells in the middle of the center frame.  Often times the hive will build Queen cells, in case they need to raise another Queen.  Time will tell if the Queen that came with the hive will be productive, or replaced by one the colony raises.  If they need a Queen, they will raise one, if the current Queen starts laying, they will discard the Queen cells.  The Bees know what's best for their colony, so we will let them dictate the course of action.

Below is a photo of the Queen Cells.  They look like a peanut hanging from the comb.  Some people say they resemble a Morel Mushroom.  Pretty neat stuff!
Another shot of a Queen Cell.  It is amazing to witness the dynamics of a Bee Colony!
The photo's below show both hives in their new location at our property in the country.  They seem to be happy there, and it is a short 5 minute drive from home!
Hopefully, when we inspect Hive #2 next weekend, we will have a laying Queen, and some pictures of Eggs, Larvae, and a growing bee population!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hive #1 Inspection - May 21, 2011

With some much needed sunshine this morning, we did a thorough inspection of Bee Hive #1.
Hive inspections are important for the Beekeeper, so they can keep an eye on what the Bees are doing inside the hive.  Any problems can be spotted and dealt with before they become a big problem down the road.  So far, this hive is doing fantastic!  The Queen is laying lots of eggs, and we spotted many egg, lots of Larvae, and a lot of capped brood.  I would estimate the size of this hive has doubled since we installed the 3 pound package on April 16th.  They are foraging well, and bringing in a lot of pollen and nectar.

Here is a picture of a frame of capped honey that they will use to feed the colony:
The photo below shows a picture perfect brood pattern.  The oval section in the center is where the Queen will lay eggs.  Surrounding this oval are stores of nectar and pollen, which is used to feed the developing eggs and larvae.  This is what it should look like in a good hive.  Ms. Queen, you and your workers are doing a great job!
The photo below show newly layed eggs.  In the center of the photo, you can see the tiny white objects.  They look like tiny grains of rice.  When you see these in your hive, you know your Queen is alive and well, and doing her job of laying eggs.  We are always excited to spot eggs...........they are a good sign!
The photo below shows a frame that is loaded with busy bees!  The dark, orange colored material you see in some of the cells is pollen.  They store pollen to feed the brood in the colony.  There is also capped brood in some of these cells, along with honey.  They were busy girls today, taking full advantage of the nice weather.
Next week, it will time to inspect Hive #2 which I placed in the Bee Yard on Friday afternoon.  They were working hard this morning, and I will be interested to see if the Queen is laying by next weekend.  Hopefully, this new hive will do as well as Hive #1!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It's Bee Moving Day.

Today is the day we relocate the Honey Bees to their new home in the country!  The plan is to prepare the area for the hive stand, get the hive stand set, and move the bees after dark when they have all returned home from their day of foraging.

Tomorrow morning when they wake up and go to work, they will have to re-orient themselves to their new location.  After thinking about the move, they will be better off in this rural location, with much more nectar and pollen to forage.  It won't be as satisfying as having the hives in the backyard, but the new location will satisfy the Zoning people, and make for more productive hives.  Basically, it's a win-win for the us and the Bees.

Once the move is complete, it's on to doing research and preparing a case for the Madison County Zoning Board to change their way of thinking about the importance of Honey Bees.  We do believe we can get the ordinances changed for the better, and we won't stop until we do.  It won't change our situation, but the goal is to make it better for future Beekeepers.  That alone will be worth the time and effort.  Paying it forward is what it's all about!