Monday, May 18, 2009

Imperfect Attentions

I finally finally finally put the second brood supers on the hives. Each hive is now two levels. But the frames are tortured wood, wire and beeswax foundation. They're very sad looking efforts...many staples and cracked perforated wax foundations...its embarassing. The good part is...the bees won't mind a bit. In fact they will take my imperfect offering and make it perfect. Perfect for their use anyway :)

They weren't too happy about being disturbed this morning. Again I'm afraid I smooshed a few hapless bees. This is a very disturbing hobby. Everytime I open the hive someone gets killed!

This morning I took the wells out and replaced the space with newly minted frames...such as they were, and I placed the new supers, each containing ten more frames atop.

I did not try to inspect the frames or look for a queen. It was too early in the morning for that, and a cool cloudy morning it was too. I know they will appreciate the new digs, but they really weren't appreciating it this morning. Two bees flew up the back of my shirt and made that quite clear.

Two more bee's followed me into the house. I one rescued from the light fixture and put it back outside, it flew away in the direction of the hive. I thought Little Bear ate the other one but Cousin Sandy found it and tried to rescue it. He put it outside, but instead of flying away it sort of fell to the ground. I guess they can't all be saved.

One thing that was quite fun to notice-- while I was in the midst of operations I pushed the frames aside, and two that had been worked together by the bees split apart and golden honey oozed out. It was pretty.

Oh, and even though I didn't look for brood or a queen each hive was buzzing with thousands more bees than I started with, so I think thats a good sign.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bee bites!

I have to tell this story. Maybe its one of those 'you had to be there' stories, but I am still chuckling over it.

I haven't been into the hives officially yet. That is, I haven't smoked them and pulled the frames for a good look-see, but I have walked up to them and peeked under the lids and put my face close to entrance to watch the ladies bringing home the pollen, etc.

This last time I was out there, my cousin stood about 15 feet from the hives. He has a strong interest in what I've been doing and has helped me this year, and so deserves a nice cut of the honey. Next year he plans to keep his own hives. --But back to the story... He stood way back and yells out 'Are they bit'ng you? Are they bit'ng you?' I guess it was the way he said it that strikes my funny bone...hee hee hee :) Anyway-- I'm still laughing.

While I was out there I saw hundreds of millions of poison ivy shoots all around the hives....possibly there weren't quite that many, but I do have some apprehension, as I am quite allergic to the stuff. Cousin Sandy says he will pull them up for me. But maybe I'd like to get a goat to eat it up. I wonder how goats and bees get along...?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I like bees.

I went to bee school. I read from the internet. I've read books, newsletters, and magazines. And the more I learn, the greater my sense of awe and respect grows for the honeybees. They have got to be the coolest creatures on the planet.

They make wax! And that isn't the coolest part. The fact that they work it and use it to not only to cradle their young, but to warehouse their perfect food (which they make themselves) is totally amazing. And that isn't the coolest part. The coolest part is that they have selected the perfect shape-- the six sided cell in order to optimize the use and preservation of precious resources.

I imagine all beekeepers eventually come across this information in some form - but this book that I've been reading called 'The Dancing Bees' by Karl von Frisch does a side by side comparison and depicts clearly how of many different possible shapes a bee could use to construct their brood and storage units, the hexagon is the optimal choice which makes maximum use of available space and coincidentally uses the least amount of wax possible in comb construction.

Monday, May 4, 2009


I have provided
a habitat fit for a queen.

I am in service to the queen
and I will be rewarded in due course.

But I think that means
I have been domesticated.

I Break Frames!

The crooked nail asails
the thin and splintery rails.
Fragile frames they be.

Ah me!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pictures of my bees

Boysenberry is getting on the job training. He'll be my assistant.

My busy bees :)

This is the second package. The first package went in the night before.

These are my brandy new bee hives! I nailed them together myself-- well a couple of them anyway. My brother John finished them up while I glazed a chicken for baking.