Friday, February 26, 2010

Busy Bees

For some reason our honeybees have been visiting this can of dirt (soil). Even through the winter months when it warmed up enough they would "bee" flying in and out of this can. I got in close enough to see if I could find out what they were doing in looked like they were eating. So my question was what and why? I took a sample of the dirt to see if I could find out what they were eating, but that still didn't answer my question of why. Perhaps they are like us and need certain minerals and nutrients that come from the ground. Can you see the bee in flight going into the can? (picture below)
This picture below was taken just a couple of days ago, the weather had gotten really warm close to 70 and this is what we saw. The girls have been bringing in so much pollen and a lot of beekeepers won't believe me, but they have been working all winter. Once the sun warmed up the day they would be out, even when the temps were 45 degrees and the wind blowing, bringing in pollen. We located some bushes that were covered in blooms and sure enough there were our girls gathering what they could! When conditions are this good the queen will start laying eggs and the colony will begin to grow and grow to the point where they think they need to split. They will then proceed to build (pull out) (beekeeping talk) lol, a queen cell, actually several queen cells. We didn't want them to split right now because it's still to cold and this picture below is a sign that maybe they want to split because of overcrowding.

So Sunday it got up to 70 and we decided to take a quick look inside. Sure enough they were overcrowded the queen had been busy! Babies were hatching and I found a couple of queen cells being pulled out.
I also found some beautiful honey! Can you see the difference in the two colors? I would really have loved to sample both flavors but they had brood on this frame so I put it back in the hive for them. It was sooo painful. LOL
To remedy the over-crowdedness I put another super on top to give them more room. I checked on them the next day and they were very happy :0)
Above is a better picture of the brood to the left. Can you tell a difference? We left our bees a lot of honey to last them through the winter so we haven't had to feed them, but with the cold lingering on, we want to feed them a little.
So I tried an experiment....I am an explorer, I love to try new things and I'm ALWAYS up for an adventure and a challenge.
Most of you that follow my blog(s) know that I also have chickens. So I took some of the feeders that they used when they were baby chicks and I made experimental bee feeders! A brilliant idea in my mind.......but ONLY if you live out miles and miles away from people. LOL Mind you now there were NO casualties of ANY kind and it was the neatest thing to watch well...for me at least LOL
This was at first....not to many.....
Naturally as all good things go, all it takes is "word of mouth" for things to be found out. It didn't take long for all of our girls to find these feeders. I put out three of them and they drank every drop! The feeders were dry as a bone within two hours.
The yard was like a major Bee highway, and I found so many flaws in my creative experiment that I had to put the idea on hold until I can find some more time to explore the

Questions???? Comments???? I'd love to hear them.