Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Eating My Workers

-From Yesterday-

We did a quick hive check this afternoon. The bees were enjoying today's weather. Which was good since yesterday was pretty soggy 'round these parts. My mom was speculating that the girls are pretty cramped, now that we've removed a good half of their hive.

On a somewhat related note:

Has anyone else noticed the explosion of spiders in the area lately? I guess the little guys are all grown up.

One enterprising spider had set up camp directly outside of the hive. Last week I'd found another web nearby, with three of my lady bees ensconced within. 

Really? You're eating MY bees? My lovely, sweet honeybees? What, are there not enough wasps, moths, flies, and mosquitoes for you to chow on? 

What ever happened to having a discerning palate? 

Regardless, dining on my ladies was not an acceptable behavior. 

I told mom that I felt a bit like those farmers that take to shooting 'vermin' [insert vermin of choice here: coyotes, wolves, dingos, bob cats, mountain lions, hyenas, etc] because they're preying on said farmer's livestock [sheep, cattle, goats, etc.]. 

Except this is like a wolf establishing its den directly under the lambing pen. A little too brazen. 

That spider met the same fate as her intended prey but I think the heel of my boot was a quicker death than those she dealt out to my sweet little bees. 


Also, we finally weighed this year's honey haul: 35.4 pounds from Mud Honey Hive. Not bad, considering our awful, no good, rotten, terrible summer. 


3 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh on the explosion of spiders. I walk outside in the mornings with an arm in front of my face. Like a snowplow.

    How many frames are you leaving in for winter? Is 34lbs the total haul post-bee food or is that just your take?

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  2. Ugh, I had spider webs in the face! They're awful!

    Good questions. We leave two boxes on for the winter, which is 20 frames. (for some beekeepers this is only 18 frames, but we use the standard measurements). The winter frames are different than the honey super frames in that they're almost twice as large; consequently they are referred to as 'deeps'. The honey that we harvested is pure profit; anything the bees store in their deeps are for their consumption, and are the sources they tap into for winter nourishment. We also feed our bees sugar water throughout the winter, again, this is fairly standard procedure in the NW now...bees just aren't making it through without a little help. Why not just leave more honey in the supers, you might ask. Tricky question but from what I've heard, often our sugar water is more accessible than stores of honey. Our hive that died last winter didn't starve to death...they had lots of honey stored in the upper reaches of their hive but they couldn't access it because that would have meant leaving their little warm bundle of bees and freezing to death. We're still learning a bit about this so it's an incomplete explanation.

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  3. Nice to know! I went to bee school last spring, so I know a little. They did not focus at ALL on how much honey a hive would produce, and so I was always curious. NEAT to know! Also interesting is the honey vs sugar water.

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