We are losing the war on bugs. Every year, we dump 1 billion tons of insecticides on them; every year, they eat up to a fifth of the crops we grow. It’s a lose-lose scenario. Insecticides are expensive to make and use: Apple trees, for example, must be sprayed 20…
Really cool article.
I was doing a regular hive inspection yesterday afternoon where I also switched out some old boxes with newly painted ones. I moved the frames one-by-one into the new boxes, inspecting each frame for eggs, larvae, food and certainly attempting to find the queen. This inspection and the nice weather also allowed me to move a frame of brood and larvae into my weaker hive to (hopefully) boost the number of nurse bees.
Thinking I spotted the queen, I was satisfied with myself and closed the hive. I continued to work in the yard but took many breaks leaning up against the nearby tree to observe the comings and goings of the foragers as well as the disposal of dead bees from the hive. During one of my many breaks, something on the ground did not look like the others. Upon closer inspection I came to see that it was my Queen. On the ground. Outside of the hive. !!!!! I lured her onto a stick and placed her on the landing board where she was welcomed back into the hive. With that, I assume I put her back into her correct home. She must have been on a frame that I took out and moved to a new box, fallen off and been wandering since. My heart raced, but my brain was was thankful to have spotted her when I did. It was pure luck that I did not step on her in the meantime.
What I previously identified as the Queen was far from it. As you can see in the linked image the sizes of the bees that make up the hive are so great that I was clearly being sloppy in my identification!
You can see by where the snow has melted on the box cover where in the hive the cluster (of bees) is and how strong that cluster is this early in the year.
With such a nice day, I dug into the hives to have a more thorough check and clean out the dead.
The first two photos show what a frame of starved bees look like, faces in the comb and rears out (which I thought my nuc fell victim to). When I took apart the hive, I discovered that the first and second bottom boxes were full of food. Because of this, it reminds me how in the fall, I did not perform a full reversal as I should have. So far, the hive is still hanging in there. I reconfigured their setup, leaving them with just one box on the bottom, but with enough resources to eat and lay eggs if there is still a queen…
The third photo shows my strong packaged hive. It is incredible how well they have done over the past 5 months. Even so, I need to keep an eye on them so that they do not grow too quickly and swarm. I see a hive combination/split within the next month!
This is just a small amount of dead bees I cleaned out from my nuc hive. I knew that they were definitely weaker than my package hive of 2013, but they are far worse off than I imagined. I took a peek inside, pulled out some frames and could see that this hive is likely to starve. Many of them were dead in the comb, their faces inward with their rears pointing out. Though there may only be 2 frames of bees left, I checked them for pollen stores (still OK on the patty I gave them last week) and supplied them with a small frame of honey. At this point these additional stores may not matter, but we will see….
My packaged hive seems quite healthy! The top box appears full and vibrant. Nevertheless, I gave them a pollen patty.
I did not order any bees this year and the bee store is sold out. I hope these gals can make it to feel the sun on their wings.
A sight for sore eyes! This 40 degree day brought the bees out to stretch their wings!
The warmer weather got many people out of their homes and bees out of the hive (though to their peril). If they can make it through the next blast of chill, they will welcome spring with open arms.
With it being 40F today, I cracked open the hive on the right to see how they were managing for the season before I left to run errands. Whether or not this was a good idea, time will only tell. I came home to bees spilling put of the top entrance; many left to expire, while many more appeared to have left on a cleansing flight, thus coating our backyard snowscape with bee poo.
We have been experiencing record breaking artic temps for some weeks, with tomorrow slated to be the coldest in a decade. I put my ear up to the hives this morning to hear the gentle hums of living hives. Fingers crossed that this will still be the case next week.
Despite a lengthy arctic blast, the gals seem to be doing OK. Some had left the hive to dutifully expire outside the hive on this warm (19F) day, but otherwise things appear in tip top shape!
Honey never ever ever goes bad. However, if cold enough, it will crystallize, just like this 30# bucket of solid honey.
A Portuguese designer has developed a device for detecting cancer using trained bees. The bees are placed in a glass chamber which the patient exhales from.