Wildflower walk and bee update

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I went on a wildflower walk this morning with Dr. Holly Scoggins. It was offered through the fantastic local Hahn Horticulture Garden, where I've been spending a lot of time lately in pursuit of my Master Gardener certification.

It was a wonderful walk through a secluded and little-known area protected by the Nature Conservancy. I took a lot of pictures and did my best to capture all of the right names for everything - you can check it out in my Picasa Web Album.

Beekeeping Update:

We opened up the hives today to check and make sure the queen had been released. While Tuesday (the day we installed the bees) went really well and we felt like experts, today reminded us that we're novices and will probably continue to have a lot to learn for years to come.

Both hives had built burr comb between the top feeder and the lower deep (we had a medium super in between so that we could place the bee delivery box and the queen's box in between). We knocked off the burr comb on both hives and took out the bee delivery box, the (now empty) queen box, and took off the medium super body. There was a huge amount of activity as we worked with the hive, and John got his first sting from a bee that went up his pant leg. It was a bit more intimidating than the first day!

At one point I saw a larger bee with a shiny body which I thought might be the queen on one of the pieces of burr comb... A lot of panic ensued and as I tried to "shoo" the bees into the frames with my bee brush, the bees that were there took flight. I was sure that I'd lost the queen. At this point I now realize it was probably just a drone, but it was a grim moment in our beekeeping so far! At the end of the day we realized that the bees will probably be just fine - in spite of us.


Julie Smith said...

Wow ... this is amazing stuff. Diving into beekeeping! There is a bee home in one of the walls that can be viewed through plexiglass at the Museum of Natural History in DC, and Andrew and I spent the longest time watching the bees. The depth of their social structures seems to dwarf our own.

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