Saturday, April 9, 2011

It's Just Natural

No matter how hard you look, this time of year you're bound to miss a queen cell and the hive will swarm :(The hives are busting with 'newbees' and newbees are the new nurse bees. They don't leave the hive to forage for nectar or pollen, their job is to tend the eggs and brood. They do an excellent job of it too! Sometimes they will cover up the queen cells and you just overlook them.....anyway, when that happens and the queen hatches, the older queen, even if she's less than a week old will take half the hive with her to some place new, hence a swarm.Less than five days ago we checked our home hives and culled lots of queen cells... apparently we overlooked a couple :( We were out checking hives in other locations and came home to this.
A swarm.......really, really high in the tree. A wooded area that can't be gotten to easily at all. If we were tree climbers and could shimmy up that tree, I think we would have at least tried, but we're not, so here's one for nature ;)

We had to go back through the hives to see which one swarmed because if (and they did) they have any more queen cells ready to hatch it will decimate the hive.....leaving the last few with nothing.
While going through a song came to me LOL, I hope you enjoy it or at least can appreciate it ;)

sung to the tune of "Up on the rooftop"

Up in the tree tops, Oh, so high
there is a swarm hive saying goodbye;

Oh, no, no, Where will they go?
Oh, no, no, I'd like to know!

Up in the tree tops come back home...
People will hurt you, please don't roam!

Oh, no ,no, Where will You go?
Oh, no, no, Please let me know!

Up in the tree tops saying goodbye,
hanging on a large limb, WAY too high!

I hope they make it okay.......

Until next time!
BEE looking!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Singing Queens And Pure Comb Honey

When we first started keeping honeybees, I would notice, every once in a while, a sweet high pitched singing sound in our hives. It made me happy and I would tell my husband I would get this over whelming feeling that the Queen was alive and well in that particular hive. At the time I thought it was a worker bee singing to her Queen, but just last week while watching a documentary about bees, I discovered that this sound comes from the queen herself. In the documentary it shows a moth mimicking a queen bee so it can go undetected through the hive to drink honey. We found this to be true ourselves while doing a hive inspection this weekend. We had lost a queen and the hive had produced a new queen. There were no eggs in the hive and we had to look for her. My husband gets antsy with me because I don't work as fast as he does ;) He had given me a frame to look over because I can see eggs in the cells where he can't.
As I was looking I heard her! I was so excited I kept asking him if he can hear her and he said "no, give me the frame and look through this other one!" I started to get angry because I wanted to see if I was right, but I reluctantly gave in. A few minutes later he called me by my full name! And said, "you're NOT going to believe this, but here she is!" I was amazed! And so relieved that I had let him have that frame because he never would've believed me! ;) We didn't have time or the extra hand to take a picture and I would have given anything to get it on video! Now that I know for sure it's the queen I will try to get at least the sound on video to post!
I'm trying to get comb honey this year and they are doing pretty good on this frame. The brown on here is bees.

I don't have the heart to kill our queens when they just happen to hatch out before our eyes during inspections so my husband bought me a queen hive. Naturally, during assembly something went awry ;)
Over the weekend during our inspections as usual we had to cull lots of queen cells. I put them in with the burr comb we collect. Monday when I went to my mom's to inspect the hive at her house, I was getting ready, and pulled out my container and couldn't believe what I was seeing. My mom came over and we watched as this little queen hatched.

I'm not happy with my camera because it doesn't seem to let me take focused pictures or I haven't learned how to use it yet. ;) This clump looks funny and not at all like a queen cell, because it was molded in with another q-cell and burr comb. So tell me, after going through all that.......could you just kill her???
After she hatched I put her into a queen catcher and got a drop of honey from my mom to feed her. When I got back home I put her into a queen cage and put a candy end on it.

Can you see her?
I went into one of my little Nuc's and got a frame of eggs, brood and nurse bees and a frame of honey for them. I took them to my new queen box and put the new queen in with them. I'll let them *bee* for a few days then have a check on them. I hope things go well for them. I'll keep you posted.
This is the nuc I got the frames from.
Until next time!
Bee Bizzy! ;0)

Here's a picture of the inside of the Queen Hive. It's in sections to hold two frames each. There are four sections.

I couldn't stand it any longer.....we had a bad storm come through early Tuesday morning and the outside of the box looked a little messy and I got worried. There were no dead bees outside so that was a good sign.
A look inside, all seems well. There's a lot of space between the frames because I had the queen cage between them.
I pulled it out and she is gone! They ate the candy and released her. ;)

Can you see her? She's so Bee-u-ti-ful!!! I am SO thankful they excepted her.
I have found that a brand new hatched out queen will be excepted way quicker than a purchased queen. I'm not saying you should never purchase a Queen, to each his own. But I know that our bees know what's best for them and I would rather let them take care of things instead of me interfering.....too much ;)

Until next time!
Julie ;0)