Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tales from the Hive

During the last week of very wet weather, the bees un-capped and ate the honey I was so excited to see with its special wax coating. But that's okay... it's early in the season, and this is Oregon, after all.

The most exciting thing I saw today, other than spotting my Queen again, was a few baby bees nibbling their way out of their brood chambers. In this first picture, you can see pollen packed into cells (different colors, looks glossy in some), nectar (shiny, looks black because of the black foundation on these frames), capped worker bee cells (center of image, looks rough and slightly raised). And up on top of the frame is a dedicated lady, fanning her wings just as hard as she can to try to cool her family down.

And now, for a little Queen-spotting. Can you find her? She has the same coloring as the others, but her abdomen is twice as long, and she's usually surrounded by a circle of attendants.

Here she is up close. And if you squint your eyes and look closely, you can see baby bee larvae all curled up in their cells. They look white and shiny. Once they get to the proper stage of development, the nurse bees will fill the rest of their cells with food and cap them off to finish growing.

My Italian honey bees are SO friendly and calm. Not one single aggressive action toward me yet, and look at this little hitch-hiker that rode back to the house on my hat. Just hanging out, like its no big deal to be on a human's hand. LOVE.

Today, I added back the second story to the hive after taking it away last week. After doing lots of reading and research, I've decided to switch the bees over to foundationless frames as much as possible. So I popped all of the foundation out of the frames that came with the second box and put some paint stir sticks in along the side rails as guides to help keep the wax straight. I moved one frame with pollen and nectar on it up to the center to help give them some encouragement to build up.

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