Thursday, May 26, 2016


I'll try to stop with the bee puns, but it's just so easy (see..I didn't say "bee-asy" and I totally could have).

I have an invertebrate ecologist friend...well, his wife and I are on the radio together, and so I know him.  It's not like we hang out on Saturday nights.  Is that what friends do?  I don't know.  Can't be bothered with humans.  Too much fun with the bees.

ANYWAY (any-bee?), he came up and took some boudoir photos of the bees while I was feeding them and inspecting the hives a few weeks back.  Here are some highlights in no particular order:

 Using the hive tool (like a tiny flat crowbar) to remove a frame.  I think you can click on the photos for biggification, but I'm not sure and in trying to check that out, only some of them biggified. 

The frame.  The bees are doing a good job!

 Another Frame.  Another good job.  The black bit where the bees aren't is the foundation that is already in the frame.  It is plastic (sigh...I would like to avoid plastic but decided not to complicate my life the first year so just take it and say thank you and learn to work without foundation in the future) with a layer of beeswax on it.  The wax is imprinted with hexagons to inspire the bees to build comb.  Or to make sure they don't screw it up.

Taking out another frame.  Like my bee ensemble?  I went with just the pith helmet (which is hard plastic and doesn't fit that well) and a net veil (which is strange and exposes the back of my neck sometimes but I'll get used to wearing it), a light t-shirt (which I have swapped out for a white button down shirt (from thrift, obviously).  That shirt works better because it is huge and I can put it on over whatever else I'm wearing, and I can turn up the collar and button it tight, with my pony tail or braid inside the collar.  This is a bit gaggy, but means the veil stays down over the collar.  With the old system of t-shirt and veil, I had one bee get up inside the mesh by my face.  I chased her out but clearly she was not amused, neither was I.

The bees!  And you can see the frame feeder.  It is the black bit I'm pulling out. Fill  1/2 to 3/4 full of 1:1 sugar water until the bees have enough real nectar to survive.  Since this is a totally new hive, both hives, with no comb built upon arrival, the advice is to feed lots. Next year when the bees have the left over comb from this year, they may not need to be fed so much for so long. 

Another frame.  Nice shot Tim!  (Photographer: Tim Hatten of Invertebrate Ecology).  Shows the burr comb...those lumps.  At least I hope it's burr comb and not new queen cells.  I'd hate to have a coup my first season of bee keeping. 

And let's close with a nice close up of the bees.

No, how about a view of the beeyard as the closing shot:
Bee with more finger!  (Sorry Tim, couldn't help myself).  You can also see the gallon jug (heh heh...I said "jug") with the sugar water feed, and the yellow hive tool I forgot to pick up.  Thank goodness it's yellow or it would be lost by now.  The bees face east for the morning sun to wake them up.  I stacked those cinder blocks myself.  One of my more successful construction projects.  If you ignore how the one hive lists to one side.  You can see one of my apple trees in the background...just below the finger.  The flowers are on hawthorns.  Bees seem to love hawthorns.

Thank you VERY MUCH to Tim and his Mrs. for coming up for the photo shoot.  Nice to have a professional bugman in one's circle of acquaintances.

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