Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Life Is Amazingly Sweet!

The hive that we cut from the doublewide a few weeks ago still hadn't hatched a queen and the summer is moving quick, so when I went into one of our strong hives I noticed they had pulled a queen cell down and it was capped......wonderful, just what I needed! I took this frame, minus the bees and placed it into the queenless hive. I wanted to give it a few days before going back in to check.
This is what I found this morning! I love beekeeping! She hatched out....you can see where she chewed her way out on the bottom tip of the cell.
In this pic above you can see two queen cells, the smaller one they had started pulling down then abandoned it.
And there she is! Can you pick her out? She's new and still a little chunky, over the next few days her abdomen will grow longer and you'll be able to distinguish her better from the rest of the girls. She's over on the right side of the picture, she's more solid in color with just the tip of her tail black.....can you see her now?
I love seeing the queen, actually it's very important to always see the queen when you go in for an inspection. The colony can go down rapidly without a queen.

One of the main things I carry to the hives is a queen catcher, I always catch her when I find her, for several reasons.....one.... is to make sure I saw her (after a few hives I start to wonder) ;0)
Two....I always know where she is, with a strong hive you can lose track of your queen and when putting things back together she can get squished or harmed, they are extremely fragile. So whether strong or weak, a large or small hive, I catch the queen. It's just easier for me and once I find her I can move quicker through the hive. I just place the queen on top of the frames and the bees crawl around her, feeding her, keeping her cool/warm. The catcher is small enough to keep her inside but just big enough to let the girls move in and out of it providing her with protection.
I also always carry my hive tool, tweezers, a small paring knife and a plastic container.
The knife is for cutting queen cells out that I don't want to hatch, it's also helpful cutting off burr comb. Tweezers for killing small hive beetles that I find hiding inside cells. And the container for putting burr comb and queen cells in, you want to save this because you can melt it down into wax.
Look at this girl! I have never seen bright red on their pollen legs before! She had both legs packed! Honeybees also carry propolis back to the hive on their pollen legs. I have watched them on many occasions packing propolis onto their legs from empty bee boxes....this amazes me how they do that, they chew it, then it goes from leg to leg and the leg in front of the pollen leg packs it on. If you ever get the chance to watch one do this you've got to watch it! It is awesome! I'd love to video it, but my camcorder is out of commission....maybe one day....in the meantime, seeing it up close and personal....there's nothing better!
Last but not least.....the fruit of our girls labor! Isn't it beautiful? It tastes heavenly! Never in a million years would I have thought that I'd love honey so much! It is definitely different when it comes from your own place! I have so much more respect for our food, nature and life now that I've become a beekeeper!

Life is wonderful
And I am Blessed!
Until next time......