Thursday, April 26, 2012

hive check

This blog, in it's various versions (The Lazlo Files, etc.) is easily the most consistent and easily accessible personal record keeping I've ever done. How sad is that? I'm a librarian for God's sake! 

Anyway, it seems safest, if I ever want to FIND my beekeeping notes, or refer to them again at any point, that I put them here. You know, since I have to check my blog if I want to fill out a doctor's form that asks how much one of my children weighed at birth.... 

Please tell me you guys have to do that? No? 

Well anywho. Stop reading if you don't care about the whole bee business, because this is just basically for my records. 

My trusty beveiled assistant and I opened the hive on Tuesday evening, with the children fighting over the best view from the girls' second story window. We found drawn comb, brood, what looked like drone cells, and even a few honeycomb cells. There was not as much comb as I was hoping to see. I'd like to be present the next time a friend opens their hive so I can compare. I definitely see why pros say new beekeepers should start with two hives.

We didn't see the queen but I wasn't really looking for her. The bees were very docile and didn't seem to mind us until I really got up in their business. Unfortunately they were not being guided by the frames, and were drawing comb BETWEEN frames, so that when I pulled one frame out, it's comb stretched between two frames, and dropped to the bottom of the hive. This happened to the two biggest sections of comb. Bad news bees. I came prepared because I thought this was a possibility with the foundationless hive. I used rubberbands to brace the comb back into a single frame. When I ran out of bands, we used twine. The bee cluster was entirely in the lower box, no movement into the upper, and there was comb on only about 4 out of the eight frames. I put one frame back in out of order, which you're not supposed to do? But I had disrupted the hive long enough at that point and every time I move a frame I'm afraid I'll crush someone important when I'm putting it back. Man they just do not take the "get out of the way of this object that's going to crush you" warning seriously, do they?

I also had my first experience with the banana smell. Just a slight sweet wiff of it, and the bees were definitely buzzing in a louder and more annoyed manner after that. Hence no pictures, and we closed up pretty quick.

Folded cardboard egg cartons are working great as smoker fuel, and I am LOVING all the amazing work the bees are doing in the yard. This time last year I had seen all my tomatoes flower with absolutely zero subsequent plants and this year they are all just about falling down with the weight of their fruit. THANKS BEES!

I can also see the temptation to go with some wax foundation maybe in the upper frames. Can someone tell me if I can buy foundation stamped with the bees natural comb measurements? I mean, it HURT to break that comb apart- all their hard work? And I hope they can use it still with it sort of shoved back into the frames, Michael Bush style, but it's not drawn from the top down like they do on their own, so I don't know.

Anyway, there's the update for 4/24. 

1 comment:

-- chase said...

I'm glad you were paying attention because all I could see was a bunch of bees.