Bees II

So far, our colony has been quite content at 629 Monroe. It's been a while since my first post; basically because they've been trouble-free.

I fed them with sugar solution for only six weeks; stopping arbitarily before a camping trip in the first week of June. They'd happily consumed two cups of sugar(= 1qt. solution) every two or three days. I was surprised to see that this varied quite a bit. Perhaps wild nectar was just too tempting some days? Or maybe other hive chores took precedence? Or it just might be as simple as a temperature dependent change in their activity. At any rate, they'd filled most of two deep boxes with comb, and a steady stream of workers arrived with pollen during warm hours; so I quessed they'd be ok. And so they've been.

To date, I see no sign of mites or any remarkable mortality. A few worker corpses lie on the sandstone slab in front of the hive every day; a trivial amount if that's all the loss. By now, all the package bees and most of the first born here should be buzzing in bee heaven-- if anything, i'm not seeing all the departed. We have very many yellowjackets, and these often attend the departed. Perhaps they clean up dead or dying bees before I notice them.

One puzzle to me is the small drama every week or so of a small 'swarm' of workers in front of the entrance flying in a tight formation. This contains only 100-200 individuals; and lasts only about an hour before they settle down. Usually what you see are a solid phalynx of bees at the entrance milling around, and workers either popping out or barreling into the hive from their rounds. I've seen a drone or two, but not many. I guess they are there, just supremely droneish and disdaining to step outside. Rarely, a bee is attacked on attempting to enter. Such are hit by a flying tackle at the gate; and the pair fall to the ground...

In July I added a shallow super on the two deep hive bodies. Much to the disgust of my beemaster friend, I did not put a queen-excluder in place. Sue Hubble says that most--but not all--queens will stay below by preference anyway. And since I'm told not to harvest honey the first year, brood in the 'honey supers' is no real problem.

Yesterday, this is closed to being filled with honeycomb. I added another shallow super. I could be forgiven for projecting a small surplus of honey for myself.

Posted by icosahedron icosahedron, August 19, 2012 18:23

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