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.

Stickiness sequelae

unknown bee-like visitorAnd in our continuing beekeeping saga is the sequel to stickiness. . . .still sticky!

The hive is fighting off invaders after the syrup spill.  I’d been hoping for rain, but that didn’t happen, so it was out there with the hose making like a rain goddess. All sorts of unfriendly creatures: bald-faced hornets and paper wasps I could identify without problems. Then there were (at least I hope I’ve gotten rid of some of them) others that are as yet unidentified (even with the Audubon guide). I’ve yet to do an internet search.

I think that others are yellow jackets–at least they were busy enough with the sugar syrup (dried on the hive) to mostly ignore me. The honey bees do have a fight on their hands right now, though it was looking much better after the second time I washed down the hive.   This is incredibly frustrating–I changed the style of feeder to avoid this exact thing, and then to have cropped invaders IMG_20150805_135640958even more syrup dumped onto the front of the hive and into the hive! (I’m not sure what I’ll do with the feeder that did the dump–maybe take it to the beekeepers meeting and see if anyone who already uses and likes it, wants it–I don’t think that I’ll try it again!

At left is one of my girls with one of the invaders. I really didn’t hang around to try to take pictures–I was busy with the hose. And some of the yellow jackets were just a bit PO’d about getting rained on.

These girls have really been slurping down the syrup, so I had to add more.  I went to the bee supply and got a second pail so that I didn’t have to keep the super where the feeder lives open long with all this activity of the invaders. I guess drawing all the comb and defending the hive takes a lot of energy. I’ve been reading some statistics on how far a honey bee will travel, and how many flowers she must visit to make a pound of honey, and how fast they can zip for flower to flower. Amazing creatures.


I’ve just been out to the hive to take another look around. The girls are patrolling, but the entrance with the guards is quiet. Still a couple paper wasps around, but not on the hive or near the entrance. I really didn’t need this actual experience of  what a mess spilled syrup makes–I’m going to be taking a lot of precautions to see that it doesn’t happen again! I know it was stressful for the bees, but it was stressful, and distressing for me too!  I’ve noted that even with all this going on they were still quite gentle with me–I didn’t put on protective gear to work around the hive or to change the feeder. I think that they must have held their own pretty well since there were more of the opposition dead that my honey bees.

Since I put on the new box and frames last Friday, I may be looking in to see how things are going this coming Friday, depending on the weather.

And, to end–here is the nice quiet hive entrance after the washing down. That’s just normal coming and going.after washing progress IMG_8231


cropped-crop_img_20150801_130019171.jpgI told you in an earlier post that I changed to a different type of feeder when I inspected the colony yesterday.  Well, I’ve now changed feeders again as of this morning. It’s turning into a  “feeder saga”.      I started with a Miller hive top feeder–from reading that seemed like it would be what I wanted. My only objection to it is that as a learning beekeeper with a new colony, I have to do almost-weekly inspections to make sure things are going well in the hive. The issue is that at times I can be a veritable Klutz (the capitalization is intentional–I can take klutziness to a special level without even trying just in the kitchen with a bain-marie)–the good side of that is that at least the sugar syrup (1:1 sugar to water) is not hot. All the good and bad things I’ve read about this style of feeder seem to be true, so obviously I’m not having a novel experience here, and I suspect that I’ll return to this style of feeder once this colony is established and I’m more familiar with beekeeping.

However, I did decide to try to make my life a little easier (so I thought) by changing to a feeder that would be easier to put on and take off for inspections. I went to Bailey Bee Supply, my local bee store, intending to purchase a simple pail feeder.  What I discovered was that the pail was too tall to fit into an empty medium super. Since I didn’t have a deep (and truly didn’t want one since all my equipment was medium 8-frame) I decided to try a different style of in-hive feeder.

Bee smart feederAfter the inspection yesterday, I put the new feeder into the empty medium super.  There was a minor mishap–which I thought was beekeeper, not feeder.   About an hour later I went back to check and there was syrup running down the front of the hive. This is not a good thing, since it attracts other nectar-drinking insects as well as MY Apis mellifera.

I got in there and made some adjustments and finally managed to get the syrup to stop overflowing by leveling the feeder and tray; closed things back up and went about my evening’s activities. (I did get the Miller feeder off yesterday without sloshing syrup everywhere so the wetness on the front of the hive here is not a result of my klutziness. No matter why its there its not a good thing to see.)

This morning I checked on the food–the feeder was empty–meaning that one-half gallon of sugar syrup had been “dumped” during the night.,  This was not a happy thought but all was quiet around the hive.  I took the empty feeder away and made a bee-line (sorry–that pun is unintentional, but I’m leaving it there) for the bee store again.

white pail in medium superI bought an extra medium hive body and a pail feeder (pail is just barely too tall for the medium) so that it would be covered.  Home–install new feeder. Amazingly, everything around the hive was very quiet–I had expected to see all sorts of insects attracted by sugar water spread around on the ground and the front of the hive.

Now, a couple hours later–back to check and there are bees flying everywhere–not aggressive though. I think it’s bees from my hive reclaiming their syrup.  At least I hope it is. There are a few other wasp-like critters, but they are not making any effort to get into the hive. Thankfully, no hornets either.  I think maybe a rain dance this evening with hopes of a good hard rain to wash away the syrup. What I saw under the hive (I have a screened bottom board, and no sticky board in place yet) was not what you want to see around your hive.

group of bees under hiveThe only thing for me to be thankful for is that there were only a few other insects buzzing around–I just hope that lasts. Interestingly enough, I did not see any ants around–but perhaps they were all in my kitchen slurping up the syrup from where I carried the other feeder back in to clean it out. I wonder if that is a commentary on how ants feel about cinnamon–because there’s certainly a lot of it sprinkled around the hive.

Turns out that the ants were not in my kitchen–the cinnamon sticks that I had lying around on the counter must be doing a job. But, now I’m wandering around the house with a damp cloth trying to get sugar syrup wiped off of everything I touched–outside door handle, inside door handle, cell telephone (have no idea how that got there), the faucet in the bathroom sink. . . .probably other places that I didn’t realize.  I’ll find them later when I least expect it.

I never realized that “simple syrup” could be SO sticky!