Monthly Archives: June 2011

Ramona is looking better

I was a little nervous after last week’s inspection of Ramona’s hive, but I now think she is starting to recover from the pesticide incident of a few weeks ago. All the capped brood have now emerged and her numbers are a lot stronger by evidence of the quantity of bees in the hive. The only cause of concern was the wax moth I think I found hiding in the outer cover which promptly got squished.

I also put the feeder back on the hive to encourage the girls to draw out more frames in the 2nd super which in turn should allow the population to expand. Right now I’ll be happy if I can get all 8 frames in each of the two supers fully drawn out. The inch of rain we got earlier in the week should also help matters in the flower department. This drought is just miserable, but it has been a great learning experience on how to handle hives in these conditions.

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Worker Bee Honey Label

So I finally got my labels printed for my honey jars. I ordered 1000 of these suckers mainly because the difference between 250 and 1000 is like 20 bucks.

Worker Bee Honey Jar

Thanks again to Essi Zimm for the awesome label and t-shirt design.

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They should have just asked a beekeeper…

Honeybees have become the first invertebrates to exhibit pessimism, a benchmark cognitive trait supposedly limited to “higher” animals.

If these honeybee blues are interpreted as they would be in dogs or horses or humans, then insects might have feelings.

Honeybee response “has more in common with that of vertebrates than previously thought,” wrote Newcastle University researchers Melissa Bateson and Jeri Wright in their bee study, published June 2 in Current Biology. The findings “suggest that honeybees could be regarded as exhibiting emotions.”

Read the entire article over at Wired.

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Honey Harvest and Scotch Dinner

Even with this drought, Marge’s hive has still been managing to pack on the honey. One of the advantages of having a hive in an urban setting is that people have a variety of flowers in their gardens and often have watering systems to keep them blooming. Still, with no rain in the forecast for the foreseeable future, this will be the last time I take any honey off until at least the late fall, and only if we see a considerable nectar flow sometime between now and then.

This being my fourth harvest, I think I’m finally getting it down to a science. The bee escape is the best invention ever and even with this hot weather, it is still very effective with only a few bees left in the honey super. Here are some shots of the frames of honey.

Honey Frame

Honey Frame

I’m still using the crush and strain method for extraction. One of these days I’ll get an extractor, but for now this works well and I do get a lot of beeswax for other projects.

Harvesting Honey

While we were waiting for the honey to settle through all the filters, we had a wonderful dinner and scotch tasting at Brenna’s house where we keep the hives.

Honey and Scotch Dinner

We pulled right around 25 pounds off this 8 frame super, and it is the same color and consistency of our previous honey harvest.

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The Cleaner

For the past year, we have been trying to get a picture of this super fast lizard who hangs out around the bee yard. I can only assume he takes advantage of dead bees that are thrown out of the hive for an easy meal.

Lizards love bees

With yesterday’s carnage at Ramona’s hive, this guy was having a field day. Of course, I don’t know how he will react to eating tons of pesticide ridden bees, but hopefully he will be ok.

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Ramona can’t catch a break

Poor Ramona. She has one bad leg, a terrible Texas drought to contend with, and now what appears to be a run in with some sort of pesticide. I was greeted this morning with hundreds of dead bees in front of the hive.

Dead Bees

Dead Bees

There were also a few dead bees on the landing in front of the hive. I also noticed some bees walking around with great difficulty and were obviously affected by something. This just breaks my heart.

The silver lining is that upon opening the hive, they seem to be doing ok. I didn’t see Ramona but there were plenty of eggs to be found plus several good frames of capped brood. Hopefully this is just a minor step back, and the hive will weather this storm.

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Close Encounters of the Bee Kind

We got some really nice macro shots of Ramona’s hive today. For some reason, Ramona’s hive loves pollen more than I ever found in Marge’s hive. She seriously has several frames full of the stuff. It is very colorful, and I would love to know the source of all the different colors.

Pollen in Frames

Here is a nice shot of some capped brood with not one, but two “newbees” emerging!

Brood with two new bees emerging

Since I have been neglecting Marge’s hive in my recent posts, we will most likely be doing a honey harvest from her hive next weekend. Even with the drought, she is kicking ass and making honey. We now have almost 3 supers full of the stuff so we will be taking one off next week so I don’t have to get on a ladder to inspect her hive.

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