Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bailey's Bad Day (and a Hive Checkup)

I did a hive check this afternoon. The guys doing the remodel on my parent's house were fascinated. 

This is one giant hive and our queen in a champion layer. I snapped a few pictures of her brood pattern as well as some other miscellaneous photos. 

Given the size of the hive and the late start to the season, it's not terribly surprising that their honey stores are pretty low. Only one super of partially capped honey. I'll have to consult with the madre on timing. It may be that we'll want to wait a few weeks to see if they'll cap some more honey or go in now and harvest what we can. 

 A shot of some capped honey (top of the photo), and some uncapped product (which is not yet ready for harvesting)
 Using smoke on the hive causes the bees to believe there is a forest fire. They trundle into the hive and tank up on honey, in the event that they need to abandon the hive and find a new location. It's like running into a burning house to grab some canned food items; you'll need something to sustain you as you search for a new casa. Since they're also carrying their precious stores in them, they're not likely to sting intruders as all that honey will then be lost when the bee dies.
 A single capped cell in a field of almost-ready honey
 Drinking honey
 Check out this pattern of capped larvae. Boy our queen is awesome. 
 A new bee, emerging from her cell
 Smoke from the smoker. 
 Poor Bailey. I always shut him up in the house when we work the bees and today when I let him out, he immediately nosed over to the hive to check out an enticing smell. The bees, riled from their encounter with me, where not amused. He got stung right on the schnoz. 
 The stinger (on the end of a credit card)

Not his day.