Hive report: a real quickie….

 

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Washboarding bees

I’m such an awful wimp when it comes to heat and humidity. I was planning to inspect both hives today since I would be replacing the empty feeding buckets with full ones. I put additional supers on both hives but I thought I should see how much comb had been drawn in them.

 

With a heat index of 102°F (even with the humidity relatively low–well actually low for here) I didn’t last long in the bee suit. It’s really frustrating trying to see the world with sweat drops on the bee veil (yes, I was wearing a headband to try and sop it up).

Instead of the more detailed inspection that I had planned, I opted to simply remove the inner cover and see how many frames had been drawn in each one. The Durham bees (the ones from here in town) had drawn comb on almost every frame in the super. The Georgia bees (the package) had drawn enough comb in the super that I decided both hives needed to have a super added before I put the feeders back on.

I still need to do a full inspection before long to check for mites and all that good stuff, but for now, I think I have two healthy hives that are doing what bees do.

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The bees are displaying an interesting bit of honey bee behavior: both hives are washboarding. It’s something honey bees do (apparently adolescents), but no one knows what they are really doing, or why. I found a reference that said the do it more on surfaces with more texture, but nothing to say what they are really doing. They just spread out on the hive (usually the front, though the bees from one hive are spreading over onto the sides as well) and are rocking back and forth, doing something with their mouthparts and front legs.

Is it just the adolescents out for a disco day?

 

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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