Skip to main content

Couldn't wait

Even though it's almost 10pm and I'm going to practically die when the alarm goes of at o'dark-thirty tomorrow (cold fog and wind predicted, also. Brrr), I had such fun today in the apiary I had to share. Consider it a gift for Ribbit and Erin!

The story out there is that I have five hives -- two were "original," in that I meant to have them. One of those was a swarm I picked up from another person, and then augmented from my original hive, and three are swarms from my two starting hives. I had hoped to have four ongoing hives this year, but there was a total of four or five swarms (I gave some away) and that can wreak havoc on a hive's honey production.

Today I just wanted to see what the state of play was, and maybe add a super or a deep as needed to the smaller hives.

The first one, a two-week old swarm, had bees over about five frames on opening:

And they check out with a laying queen. This is foundationless comb, which I'd like to move to -- it's fresh wax, the bees decide what size to make, and it's easily cleaned up and out when it's old. Plastic foundation is difficult to clean and reuse. But it's sturdy! Inspecting just comb means I can't flip the frame over to look at the other side, but have to turn it like the pages of a book. The bees don't seem to mind, but they do get upset if you break the comb or it falls out. Ask me how I know. . .

Here's a closer look at the transition from worker brood -- see the heater cells in the capped brood? -- to bigger, larvae-filled drone cells. I'm not worried yet that this hive is producing drone brood. It can be a signal that they want to swarm, but these girls have nothing but room. I'm assuming they want to make them to propagate the hive's genetics because it's simply swarm season. It bears watching, though.

This hive is only a week old. This is the bunch of bees that swarmed the day before the chicken coop tour. I'm out of screened bottoms so this hive is sitting on an upturned homemade lid, and they have a teensy opening. Equipment limitation is only one reason to combine hives and shrink the apiary to four hives.

Although they've only had a week to work, this group has filled and capped a deep frame with honey and started drawing some new comb. See how white it is? These paddles will merge and fill the entire frame eventually.

AS I finished with each hive I made notes on the outside about what I was seeing -- was there a queen, did they have room, etc. My memory doesn't last that long -- and five hives is a lot for me to remember which one is exactly which, in terms of behavior. None were terrifically happy today, it was slightly windy and none are really what I'd call at an ideal stage, but this big hive was particularly grumpy.

As was I after tearing it completely apart only to not find any eggs or brood. Could be that it's queenless, which would make my job much easier. Could be that the queen is a newly-mated queen that got left behind last week by the swarm group. I did see two open queen cells. Either way, I have to get back in this hive in a week or so to make certain that they do or do not have a viable queen. Hard to imagine them not -- this is a busy hive. The white box is a new super I set in there as each of the other ones is nearly full. Lifting the top one up was a challenge.

I'm short on mediums right now, so I spent some time after the inspection banging some medium frames together. We'll have to fit them with starter strips or foundation (or a mix, just for experimenting) and get them on that medium sized hive. I don't want to deal with any more swarms!

Swarm box #2 is also two weeks old. Slightly less robust than the other two week old hive, though. Hives, like children and classrooms, seem to have distinct personalities. Just a few bees on the bars when opened.

But I discovered that they also have a viable queen. Lots of room, no hurry to do anything for them. You can see the results in this video. Sorry for the jerky end -- I'm not great as my own videographer. But if you like being a virtual beekeeper, this may work for you.

Popular posts from this blog

I'm Too Sexy For My Shirt

Wingman use to call me many things. Obstinate. Overcritical. Certainly bitchy. I even recall on our wedding day that he called me "beautiful". But that was a one-time happening, and I don't recall him ever crooning Eric Clapton"s "You Look Wonderful Tonight" after that. So it comes as no surprise that he never called me "sexy".

And I get it.  When I went to school in NYC, a couple of my friends were stopped by Eileen Ford and asked to come to her agency to model.  They were cute, and one was even, in an exotic way, sexy even back then.  But not me. I was and always will be, fine with how I look.

There were some things over the years that got me when I stopped dying my hair and grew it out to donate for a wig.  As part of a lecture that I did on The Avon Walk For Breast Cancer, I had my beautician come in and cut my waist-long hair short. The following Sunday at church, I was a Eucharistic Minister, which at a Catholic Mass is a re…

'Cause Baby You're A Firework. Come On Show Them What You're Worth

Five years ago today, I stood in a hospital room strewn with used syringes, rubber gloves and other medical waste, looking at the lifeless body of the man that I shared a life with for over 30 years. I should have been thinking of family, love and loss.  Instead, my first thought was, "Wow, I'm a widow now." Pretty pathetic in retrospect, and when Wingman referred to me just before I left him as "The Bitch", probably not too far off the mark.

But in time-warped speed just a half hour before that, I had already talked to the hospital twice, woken son #3 up to go over to the hospital with me, called Wingman's brother on the way, fought with a gimpy legged night watchman who wouldn't let us in the hospital, and finally took "that meeting" in a small private room where the doctor told my son and I that they did everything possible, but unfortunately (UNFORTUNATELY???) Wingman had passed. My brain was filled with what to do, who to call, …

But She Use To Have A Carefree Mind Of Her Own, With A Devilish Look In Her Eye

The first time I went out with Wingman, he remarked about how much I reminded him of his mother.  When we finally met, I just didn't see it: she was a tall, chain-smoking blonde, with a Lauren Bacall-esque voice, while I considered myself just an average size brunette with no distinguishable qualities.

She and I began our own relationship with stories about our lives, and she won every round of "Can You Top This". At 10 years old, she helped deliver her brother when her mother went into labor at home. Later, her alcoholic mother walked out on the family and was never seen or heard from again, so she dropped out of school to help. At 19, she and her husband eloped, and thought no one knew.  A photographer however, took a picture of them outside City Hall which became the cover of the afternoon edition of the NY World Telegram. (Oops.) A couple of years later, her very pregnant self drove her father and his equally pregnant girlfriend to City Hall in Newark to MAKE them get…