The Weight of Production

Just closed up the last hive, and wanted to update quickly:

The Silvers, god bless ’em, must have a little stupid in them. They don’t have much comb in the top boxes yet, but the one ridge they have is going sideways, violating beespace. I’m not even sure what to think, since I’ve given them all these lovely templates for comb-building. I’m going to open them up for a full investigation next weekend, though, because while I expect them to be slower as a result of their early queen delay, I want to make sure they’re not going to die of stupid (or unnecessary overwork, or… well, anything, really).

Perhaps I’m being a bit unfair to them, but the Blues– oh sweet goodness, I’m grateful for having two hives for comparison’s sake. The Blues have four and a half frames of the top box filled with honey and pollen, in lovely proportion. The frames, when lifted, are unexpectedly heavy– though that’s more my fault for not expecting it, really. I can’t wait to get the second box on them, they’ll be my productive hive this year.

I wasn’t looking for the queens this week, so no concerns about not spotting them, and I didn’t even care to see the brood area, since my last visit a couple weeks ago showed me that those were going well. I will (finally) attend my first meeting of the local beekeeper’s association tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll meet an experienced keeper who wouldn’t mind coming out and taking a look with me soon.

Everything seems to be going apace. Did get one hive beetle out of the Blues this time, so the traps will be delivered well on time.¬†Other than that, all seems well, and since the sugar water was going when I went to check on them, I’m going to go replace that now. Feeling pretty good, I gotta say. Something about the sweat of the sun, the smell of the suit, and the hum of the hives.

Apologies for slacking here.

At least I’ve been on-point with the bees. About to go open them up, in fact, and just ordered another shallow box for each of them, exclusively for pollen/honey storage. (Mann Lake Ltd., of course.) Got a second queen excluder to that purpose, as well as some all-natural hive beetle traps to address the problem I noted last time I opened up.

The weather’s gotten much hotter, so I’m trying to decide what, if anything, I need to do about the water situation. The area of the backyard they’re in is prone to mosquitoes, so I really can’t have standing water about. There are nearby neighborhood lakes, though, practically across the street in their flight pattern, so that may be sufficient– in addition to whatever water’s spawning these mosquitoes, though that can’t be the freshest for obvious reasons.

The bees have mostly laid off the sugar water; they’d stopped entirely at one point, so I removed the feeders for a few days and washed them out, before the weather got gross and I returned them, for back-up purposes. They’ve been working on the same pound (each) for a few days now, will probably replace them tomorrow just to see. The neighborhood trees are blooming, though, and so are the red-and-yellow flowers by the roadsides, and more.

Going to start with the Silvers today, since I tend to give them less time. Will be quick about it, though– both hives have been doing spectacularly (from an outsider’s perspective). Every day I’m out there watching them arrive with more lovely loads of pollen and all. I’m not going to inspect the bottom boxes; I want to spend as little time in there as possible today, and figure I’ll get a good read on the situations by seeing what progress they’ve made in the top boxes. As above, so below, and all.

I think I still have another post hanging out in draft stage from a week or so ago. But really, it’s slowed down a bit for me: the hives are established, the flowers are blooming, the bees are happy. Judging by the color and shape of the bees around the entrance, the first batch of bees, from the package, are aging well, and the first sets of brood may be making their way towards the entrance here soon, and starting their first orientation flights. How quickly things move!