Hive report: bee attitude!

I’m willing to admit that all us females have a potential for bitchiness–expressed in various different ways. My girls in the hive seem to have a very explicit way of expressing theirs–and, no, I’m not talking about stinging. That’s a total last resort only when threatened and/or injured.  That’s defense, not attitude.

This is much more subtle. Despite my careful monitoring of the feeding jars, I let them get empty–completely empty–while on the hives. The bees are sucking down syrup at a great rate which does say something about nectar dearth. But they have registered their disapproval of my behavior.

When I removed the jars–quart jars with a lid that has small holes punched in them so that syrup is under a vacuum when the jars are turned upside down–I find that the girls had filled each and every one of the tiny holes in the lids with propolis. Every single little, tiny hole–completely shut!

Propolis has its uses–it’s antimicrobial, and bees seal small cracks in the hive with it and cover things that need to be “sealed”–like a mouse that is too big for them to carry out of the hive if the beekeeper, perhaps, forgot to put the mouse guard on the hive in the fall.

Getting propolis off of anything is not easy–it is very sticky so that dissolving it is really the only option. Rubbing alcohol is the best thing I’ve found–and the 91% rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) is much better than the usual 70% stuff, but it still required an awl to open each little hole individually and then a second scrub with alcohol.

I understood the message while I was out of town for the indexing convention–the jars were probably empty for several days, so I get the propolis. But this time they were only empty for a few hours–I get this message too, but I think I detect a faint bit of attitude here as well, but then I guess I could be feeling that way because I have been getting attitude from the cat as well today.

Anthropomorphize? Who, me?


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