Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The bees are doing something weird ...

... and I thought you'd like to see.

It's called bearding and I think they're doing it because they're out of room inside.  Bees also do it when they're hot, but I don't think that's the case here - it hasn't been that hot today, and I think they have plenty of top and bottom ventilation.  And bearding because they're hot would mean they'd go back in once the evening cools down.  I first noticed them doing it about five this afternoon.  I just went out to check, an hour after dark, and they're still doing it. 

Also, did you notice the washboarding, the bees "line dancing" on the face of the hive?  They line up and move forwards and backwards.  Nobody seems to know why they do that.  I think it's to make us wonder what they're up to.  (You can see it better if you click on the bottom-right YouTube link so it opens in a bigger window.)

When I first got them home two weeks ago I put out a hummingbird feeder of sugar syrup, but they haven't been much interested in it.  There are a lot of Gallardia (Indian Blankets) and Horsemint (Monarda citriodora) blooming.  Acres and acres of it just across the fence from them.  I think they're working those flowers and packing the existing hive body full. The Horsemint is a cousin of Bee Balm, so I'm not too surprised it's so popular.

When I got them, the box contained eight frames and a frame feeder.  I wanted to leave them alone for a good while before mucking around in their home.  (Okay, okay - that's not really true.  Yeah, I did want to get in there that first day, but learned my lesson then. *snicker*).  It's been twelve days.  I've seen beekeepers recommend waiting at least ten days after moving a hive before you go open it up.  I think it's time.

So I've got my plan ready.  Smoke the entrance and wait a couple minutes.  Lift the lid and set it aside.  Pry out the feeder.  Pry out the frames and inspect them one by one. I'll be looking for a nice brood pattern, along with some pollen and honey.

Then I'll take one frame of comb out of the bottom box and put it in a new box full of empty frames.  I'll put two empty frames back in the middle of the full box - one to replace the feeder and one to replace the frame I remove.  That full frame acts like a ladder for the bees to climb to the top of the new box and it's frames.  They like to work from the top down, and don't like flying up there.  I guess they bump their heads if they try.

Once I get that top box set on just right, I'll put the notched inner cover on and top the whole shebang with a plastic hive lid.  I got it for my birthday a few years ago from Kelly and Billy, friends who gave me their entire old hive.  That's the white one sitting next to my new one. Great birthday present, huh?  I certainly think so.  I've read other beekeepers' posts on forums, those from hot climates, who say the plastic tops keep too much heat in.  I'll keep an eye on it.  I have a backup plan - a piece of corrugated tin and a rock.  Fancy.

So Rhonda's coming over early tomorrow to be moral support and run the camera.  Wish me luck!

1 comment:

  1. good luck honey ! I love reading ur stuff.


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