Friday, August 5, 2016
However at this month's beekeepers' meeting I was terrified by stories of people very recently loosing hives to wax moths, hive beetles, and starvation, so I resolved to get over myself and go have a looksee.
Also, I waited until near sundown so I could be in shadow... which seemed like a good idea at the time... more on that later.
The hive to the far right (southernmost) seems to be doing better since the last time I looked in on them. This is one of the hives I got in May, and for some reason they have struggled more than the other one I got at the same time from the same place. I've been feeding them sugar syrup and I'm glad to say they've made new wax and are apparently storing some of the syrup. I was able to find signs of their queen, though I never found the queen herself.
All in all, first hive checked, all is well. Moving on to the feral hive...
I've been feeding the feral hive, too, but they apparently have stopped taking the sugar water I've been offering. A good cup or more was still in the feeder, thickening from evaporation and the edges crystallized. Unfortunately this attracted ants, and there was a decent number of those hated beasties in there with the girls. The bees themselves actually looked pretty good... there was a lot of new wax around the cutout combs, most of the rubber bands I'd used to hold their combs onto the frames were chewed through and rejected, and guess what.... I found new eggs in their comb (and I didn't even have my glasses, go me!)
We got the queen!
There is an egg in the picture below. See if you can spot it.
See it? No? Here it is:
There were several, which means a queen has been in this hive in the last three days. Since I captured this hive going on three weeks ago, I can safely assume we got her (it is an assumption, I still haven't laid eyes on her).
On to hive number three...
Remember how I said I waited to get into these hives until the evening, thinking I was so smart because I'd have shade and shadow?
Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell, by the time I got to the third (and by far strongest) hive, it was dusk. Let's just say they didn't take too kindly to being disturbed while they were trying to unwind from their busy day.
These girls are stacked three boxes high (brood box on bottom, two honey supers on top) and I never made it past the very top super. They came at me full force, determined to make it clear it was not a good time for a house call.
I closed them back up pretty quickly, but ten minutes after walking away I was still being swarmed and bumped by those mad girls.
It was almost dark by the time I had convinced them all to go back home. I'm feeling pretty good about the strength of that hive. I'll do a proper check on them in the daylight, like I should have done, another time (sigh).
So! In summary, I'm feeling pretty good about my girls!
Bees are awesome!