Hive 01 Oct. 2015

pollen-carrying bees

Go girls!

Frustration here–weather has kept me from opening the hive to see what’s happening in the upper medium box that I put on a few weeks ago.  Normally, I’d have done a routine inspection last weekend but opening hive in the rain is definitely a no-no–truly ticks off the girls.  Again today, too windy and chilly.  Given our weather forecast looks like I won’t be opening the hive until sometime next week. I’ll be out there checking on the first sunny day. My curiosity must wait a bit longer.

Switching to winter feeding with 2:1 sugar to water ratio. Looking ahead to colder weather getting some fondant to provide some food if needed in the colder weather, and adding a bit of insulation and moisture protection to the hive. Time to place a mouse guard, too.

I’ve done an assessment for Varroa destructor (mites) about 2 weeks ago with a stickyboard. There didn’t seem to be many mites. I’ll repeat that in the next few days to be sure that I don’t need to treat before winter.

Hive report (08 &10 September 2015)

traffic in and out of hive08 September 2015: Even though it’s a cloudy day there’s a good amount of traffic in and out of the hive–I’m glad I did give them a larger entrance to the hive when I had it open for the inspection.

I’ve looked at the flight path in and out of the hive and I think that they are heading for a local greenway/trail. Looking at Google Earth map, that is easily within a one-mile radius of the hive. I need to go hike the trail and see what is blooming now.  That’s one of the things you need to look at the blooming flowers from a bee’s point of view, and the quality of nectar produced by the flower. So much to learn….

Today I put the “stickyboard” in the screened bottom board to assess Varroa destructor (mites) in the colony to find out if I need to treat for them before winter. That has to stay under the hive for three days so I can get an idea of what’s going on with mites.

honey bees at hive carrying pollen10 September 2015:  The girls have been slurping down the sugar syrup (with Honey-B-Healthy), as well as bringing in pollen and nectar.  I gave them new syrup today as they had almost completely cleaned out the jars.

When I went out to the hive I got to see some different honey bee behavior:  I had bees washboarding on the front of the hive. No one seems to know what this behavior is, but it’s common, and it’s done by “adolescent” worker bees.

There was lots of traffic in and out–different colors of pollen being carried in–the bright yellow shows up most clearly, but I saw some orange, white, deeper yellow, and some very dark red while I was watching them come and go.

Tomorrow I’ll be able to pull the stickyboard and see what the Varroa population looks like.  Fingers crossed on that one since this is a new colony.  I’ve been reading about the various treatments, including some “natural” ones that use herbs, and other “harder” chemicals.

It will be another week before I can sneak another peek inside to see how much pollen, nectar, brood, and honey is there.  It’s  like wanting to peek into the oven to see if the soufflé is rising properly–not at all a good idea no matter how curious you are.

pollen colors

Friday hive news

honeybees at hive entranceAs you can see from the video FB post, there’s a lot of traffic in and out of the hive–fall nectar flow.  That kind of traffic makes for a happy beekeeper!  It’s so hard not to look into the hive more frequently than I should, but I’ll get to check what’s going on inside over the weekend.  Watching the activity from the outside makes me feel like I’m going to see that a lot of work has been done on the inside!  I hope that there’s enough pollen and nectar stored that I have to add another super so these girls will have lots of food for the winter.  Nectar must be good since they are not taking much of the sugar water–they know where the good stuff is.

Just a bit of frustration, though certainly not with the bees, but my telescoping cover seems a little cattywampus so I’ve got yellowjackets in the top super where the feeders are located.  BUT, they can neither get into the hive nor can the bees get into that super.  I need to find a solution to that.

(I also need to find a video converter so that I can post videos here–I’m so impressed with the traffic in and out–there’s no way to capture it on a still unless you’re very lucky.)


At the hive. . . .

bees on upper super top framesMy last inspection was a little off my intended schedule–I didn’t want to open the hive with yellowjackets buzzing around. They were finally gone last week so I peeked into the hive to see what the “girls” were doing. (I have to keep reminding myself that the colony only arrived here on the 24th of July.)  Definitely more regular traffic in and out lately, carrying pollen in all colors different colors.

Goldenrod is starting to bloom here now–and I think I’ve seen ragweed.  I’m not yet used to looking at fall flowers for a bee’s point of view. From the meeting of the Durham Beekeepers association this week, it seems that I was correct about the goldenrod, and the asters will be later.  It’s a whole new perspective on looking at flowers when I consider the bees!

There is new comb in the upper super, but only very rare pollen or nectar, so I didn’t add an extra super this time. I’ll be checking again in about a week to see where we are. I’ve asked an experienced beekeeper to go through an inspection next weekend.  It will be good to have a “teaching” inspection since I wasn’t able to get into a class before my bees arrived.


Hive report

bee coming to hive with pollenThere is considerable relief in the last couple days as I watch the traffic in and out of the hive. There are no longer guard bees clustered on the landing board–they are able to do their job from inside the hive since the sticky mess of spilled syrup has mostly been removed by changing the cement blocks that were saturated with it, and there’s been some rain that apparently help wash away what was on the hive and the ground.

It’s very relaxing to watch the steady traffic of bees coming with pollen–white, yellow, orange, and some greenish in color.–and then heading back out for more.

Only the very occasional bald-faced hornet seen now and the yellowjackets seem to have either been trapped or decided that the sugar left around the hive is not worth fighting the guard bees for.

Still Sticky, continued

We had some rain last night, but it seems that all it did was to make the spots where the sugar syrup spilled wet again, and get attention back to those.

Bald-faced hornets (BFH) and yellowjackets are still skulking around the hive.  I’ve put out traps–homemade ones–with soda for the yellowjackets and meat (tuna and chicken) for the BFHs.  At least this morning the BFHs were grabbing some of the yellowjackets and making off with them. There are lots of bees at the entrance apparently on guard duty.  Bees carrying in pollen are coming and going–though it seems their pollen baskets aren’t as stuffed as they were a few days ago and the pollen whitish-greenish!

A few yellowjackets have made it into my homemade traps, but so far no BFHs.

Still sticky

Perhaps this should be titled sequelae to stickiness sequelae. . . .and for all my friends who are grammarians, I used sequelae intentionally, to refer not to this sequela to the previous post, but to the myriad, multiple, bucketful, and gobs of effects stemming from that one event of a leaky syrup container.


bees at hive entranceOn hive check this morning, it looks like normal activity at the entrance. No “invaders” hanging around the entrance for the time that I was watching–just “my girls” coming and going on the landing board.

I have traps out for yellowjackets and for bald-faced hornets.  Looks as if a few yellowjackets have been lured into the trap.

Unfortunately, there are still yellowjackets clustered on the lower right cement block that is supporting the hive.

I suspect that yellowjackets on cement blockwas were most of the sugar syrup flowed down.  That rather porous material is probably saturated with sweetness! They see to be preferring that to the trap with Coco-Cola in it. More concentrated sweetness (I hope). Maybe when that’s all been slurped out they will like the trap better.

I’m contemplating how to be sure that my pail feeders are not leaking, although when I check the inner cover and the empty super covering the feeders this morning there doesn’t seem to be wetness that would suggest feeder leak that would be dripping through the hive. I guess time will tell.