Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bee Update

The ladies are thirsty. This morning the pond was alive with busy bees, zooming in to collect water for hive cooling activities.
The girls don't know how lucky they are, having a stream that meanders past their front door. Honeybees use water to dilute the honey and to cool the hive during hot weather. Foragers bring water to the hive and deposit it into cells; hive bees then beat their wings furiously to evaporate the celled honey, lowering the overall temperature of the hive.

This morning mom and I did a quick hive inspection. Things, in general, are looking pretty good. Each hive has 2-3 supers that are quickly becoming heavy with honey. The Blue Moon and Swarm Hives have excellent brood patterns and lots of eggs. The Mud Honey Hive is awash in capped brood but we noted an absence of eggs and uncapped brood. We're going to continue to monitor that hive closely.
There are a few things that we've noticed with our bees as of late:
  • The ladies have become a wee bit more territorial as their honey stores have increased. More to protect=more aggressive. When we first introduced the bees to their hives, they were sweet and gentle. Now, not so much. Mom still handles the hives without gloves (After my run in with The Bee Sting that caused a nasty infection, I've yet to return to handling the ladies bare-handed) but we suit up entirely when doing full inspections.
  • The sound of the hive changes, depending on their mood. We've become good listeners. Upon first opening up a hive and spraying with sugar water, the hive emits a gentle, calm humming. Yet upon moving individual boxes and delving deeper into the hive, the sound changes to a more agitated buzzing. Frankly, they're probably rather ticked off and are letting us know about it. It also may be that there are more bees swarming in the vicinity by the time we get down to the lower layers, but I don't think this accounts for the abrupt change in tone, just the intensity of the sound.
  • Keeping a bee diary has been really helpful. Today we were able to go back in our journal to read about the queen cells that we observed in the Mud Honey Hive. Coupled with a lack of eggs observed today, we're forming a timeline of happenings.
  • Generally, the amount of swelling I experience after a bee sting has been decreasing. Thank god.