Bee update

Sunday, May 1, 2011

We got to fully open and examine the hives for the first time yesterday since we installed the bees. We were able to check and make sure that the queen had been released a few days ago, but today was the first real look to see what was going on, removing each of the frames in our 8-frame deep boxes.

Hive # 1 (the westerly hive, to your left looking up the hill) has seemed much weaker than the other. There's always less activity there and it just didn't seem to be thriving in the way that Hive # 2 is. Hive # 2 is always "buzzing" with activity, and Hive # 1 usually has about 1/3 the amount of action.

We'd worried a bit that we might have released Hive 1's queen accidentally when we were taking out the bee delivery box and queen cage, so we opened up that box first (with quite a bit of apprehension about what we might find). We were so happy to discover that the bees had built out two of the black plasticell frames and gotten a start on another two, and there were eggs and larvae already in development (meaning we still had a queen!). Shortly thereafter, we actually saw her majesty herself on the frame. It was a very exciting moment! (I think she's somewhere in this shot:)

We inspected both hives and, interestingly, both seemed to be about on a par as far as rate of development. I think Hive 1 has less bees overall but their progress is very close to Hive 2. Both hive-top feeders were completely dry, so we made a point to fill them both up so that the bees would have food and support to continue building, until such time as they have their own reserves.

Before we got out there, I was a bit apprehensive and nervous about fully opening and looking at the frames in the hives, but once we did I realized how much I love it and how exciting it is! I could just watch the bees all day - they are amazing creatures.

Here's a great shot (if I do say so myself) of John inspecting one of the frames:

And one of me, grinning like a fool just after we'd seen the queen:


Julie Smith said...

Wait ... is John not wearing any gloves? How is that? How is he not getting stung on his hands?

C-Rella said...

I know, isn't he BRAVE?! Not one sting. They're actually very docile and don't have a large number of defenders at this point (though a couple did dive-bomb my head at one point). It takes 21 days for new bees to be born and each bee only lives about 6 weeks (so some of the older ones that we received are surely dying off a bit). Essentially the population declines for the first few weeks of a new hive and then starts building up again after the 21st day.

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