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.

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Early Morning Rituals

I’m leaving town this afternoon, and though I’ve arranged to have my roommate refill the feeders as needed I still went out to check on the bees before leaving. They seem to be working through the feed a bit slower than the first batch, which is just fine– all the pollen sacs I saw marching around the comb yesterday let me know the foragers are out doing their jobs, and the sugar-water’s moving to a supplementary role.

I absolutely treasure the fact that I’m keeping them in my backyard. I love being able to wander out around the beeyard at all hours, just to look. I don’t bother with the bee-suit when I go for these little checks, I just wander right up to and around the gate and they pay me no mind. The other night, during the first storm since getting them here, I went out well after dark to see how the rain sounded on the roofs of the hives. I thought that there might be a discernible patter, given the metal sheeting of the telescoping covers, but there wasn’t. It didn’t disappoint me, though– it is always nice to be out there, even for a few minutes.

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