Thursday, August 8, 2013

Because... bees

I don't think I talk nearly as much here about my bees as I should. I talk about them constantly on Facebook and to anyone who is willing to listen.

I love bees.

I love to talk to people about them. I love to learn from other beekeepers. I love to show my bees to other people. I just can't get enough.

As we enter our third month of beekeeping, I am giddy each time I check on our girls. Chase is still my number one assistant (he has only been absent from one hive check), and the person I feel most confident in having me help with the hive. Steve is still nervous around them, and I can't fault him with that, but Chase just oozes beekeeping confidence. Plus everything I read, Chase reads and studies. While he hasn't held an active frame yet himself (he prefers taking pictures of everything to examine closely later), he always looks them over for any signs of disease and asks many questions. Plus, he thinks that bee larvae is "just so cute!".

Shortly after Chase left for two weeks with the grandparents, I thought I witnessed questionable behavior of the bees that had me sending a flurry of expletitives into the early morning air *ahem*. Per my uncle's suggestion, I installed a mite board to monitor over the summer. Just two days before when Chase and I checked it all looked fine. When I did a morning check before work I saw what looked like the bees trying to make comb where the corner of the board had curled up (I blame humidity on that one). I scheduled Steve and my friend Dale to assist with a hive check later in the week when the weather was to be cooler.

Turns out it was just the paper backing peeling on the bottom of the mite board. *whew* But while I was already in there, I decided that the bi-level was going to become a tri-level. I also made a rookie mistake when Chase and I added on the second level and I didn't move the brood frames up. So Daisy was having to work extra hard (oops). This time I moved the brood frame (17) and three others up to the third story and replaced them with empty frames on the second level (yes, I number frames for peace of mind).

As soon as we got home from Buffalo, Chase asked when we could check on the bees. We planned it out for the following morning before I left for work and we had an extremely positive hive check. Once again Chase and I worked like a well-oiled machine. We still haven't directly seen Daisy (our queen), but the evidence that she is around are there!

The week before when Dale was over, this frame had brood on both sides. When Chase and I checked most of the brood was gone, and new larvae was laid in some of the cells.

This is one of three additional frames of brood that we found. So in a week, Daisy was extremely busy! Chase was beside himself with excitement.

Right now I am focusing on winter (kind of funny to be thinking about it in August). I want to make sure my hive survives this winter. According to SEMBA , over 53% of member hives were lost last year. I don't want to be part of a statistic! In the next week or two Chase and I will be sitting down and putting together a winterizing plan for them.

Until then, I'm staying optimistic that everything is buzzing along.







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