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Farmette1769's Blog

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: bee hive

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I’ve been letting “our” honey bees fend for themselves a lot. They’ve likely been visiting our gardens, our wild flower patches (aka bunches of weeds), and our neighbors gardens, and the ones down the road…

This pic and the following video (from this past Wednesday), show the lack of mason jar in the sugar-water drinker base at the hive entrance. Rain is coming, so I’ll likely add supplemental food back into the mix in the upcoming 10+ days of thunderstormed weather forecast.

 

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I opened up the top of the additional space super to the main hive just now. Retrieving that mini drinker incentive is a no go tonight. The bees were less than pleased with me peaking in, even though my expectation was that they would be calm in the darkness. I may be able to sneak it out when the rain comes in soon. They’re usually pretty chill during wet weather.

What I am very pleased with is that the bees have started to move up into the super. They have not made any comb on the top bars (not shown), but at least they know the extra space is there. Maybe they’ll make some honey-focused comb soon.

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But in the meantime,

Good night moon,

Good night honey bees,

Good night everyone!

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I never know what I’ll find when checking in on the honey bee hive. Sometimes there is only one lone worker girl at the entrance on guard by herself at night.

On this still hot evening, that was prefaced with low 90s today, honey bees are overflowing onto the entrance way. Maybe it’s the equivalent of sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch, drinking lemonade, to take the heat out of the summer.

Well, I barely made it. Yet, as I had hoped for, this week’s edition of FNB is being published on Friday night.

Time: 11:39 PM

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We were building up here to a really big medical procedure for a family member within this household/farmette. Friday Night Bees, became Saturday Morning Bees. Saturday Morning Bees became Saturday Afternoon Bees. And now Sunday…

Now that the worst is over, the pathology report is already back, the prognosis is really good, and we can all take a deep breath (while our dear one recovers), I hope that this coming week, FNB will actually happen on Friday Night.

Meanwhile, here on this sunny Sunday morning, I was able to take photos while I went through the process of adding the Queen Bee Excluder Screen back onto the Additional Top Super on our Main Honey Bee Hive.

I had added it in a rush, since I thought our honey bees were getting ready to swarm and leave. It turned out that all that they were doing is reducing the population of the hive. They never moved their overflow up into the super with the excluder on, so I had taken it off.  But they still did not take up residence in the upper partition.

I did not see it happen, but a chunk of worker bees, along with some drones, and the old queen, must have departed (new queens are created by the specialized feeding of larvae just ahead of swarming). You can see, in the following pics, that there is actually a bit of room at the back of the hive now. The back was barely accessible a few weeks ago. This is how I know that some of our bees swarmed themselves away.

But we have plenty of honey bees left!

During our crisis this past week, they did not have their sugar water supplement. I left them to feed themselves 100% on the plethora of flowers in the area. They’re still here and doing really well, despite my lack of tending to them for several days.

Note: One neighbor, that is about 1/10 of a mile up front, said that a few honey bees have visited them on their back stairs. And another neighbor down the road said honey bees seem to be frequenting their yard a bit more than usual. When honey bees are kept, they tend to hover around, closer than usual to, humans. They must be somewhat aware that people can provide a food source. Sometimes they will come buzz around my face, seemingly trying to get my attention.

I have chatted enough now and will let the photographs speak for themselves for the remainder of this blog post article:

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Well, it just keeps getting later and later. It’s been extra busy here for personal reasons.

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But, better late than never, so, a day late, here’s this weeks rendition of FNB @ Farmette 1769.

The following two videos show our thriving honey bee hive. The population seems stable. The extra super is still empty, so I think that I’ll add back in the queen excluder tomorrow. Maybe they don’t want to venture up there and temp the queen to move from the well-protected hub of the main hive.

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I didn’t forget, I fell asleep. But, before we have our really late dinner, here’s this week’s edition of Friday Night Bees @ Farmette 1769.

Pics @ 10pm

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Overflowing front entrance.

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This view looks inside and down into the top of the additional super, half height section, piece.

I did find out that the bees are supposed to swarm when the hive gets too full. They take the old queen with them and leave half of the population behind with a newly created queen.

Our honey bees did start to swarm last Saturday (around 2 pm). I was so mesmerized (and worried about them all leaving) that I took no photos or video of that. It was happening before I discovered that we would still have a working hive after a partial swarm.

I grabbed a hose to make it rain and discourage them from departing. That actually worked. Yet, the hive is still overfull. They have barely made their presence known in the super that was added last Friday. On last Saturday morning, I removed the queen excluder. This was due to the fact that there were only a couple of bees in the new super, as we got a few hours past sunrise. Obviously, they have not taken full advantage of the additional space,  despite the easier access.

Please tune in next week to see what happens next!

 

 

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So I got daring, with no mask or gloves or anything. It is cumbersome to take photos and videos with all of that on. No stings! Our honey bees are pretty docile. I had my iPhone 5-6 inches away from the honey bees for this first photograph.

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Unluckily, the pic of the fullness of the hive came out blurry. I did not realize this until after I had closed it back up. But, the hive is about 85% full and packed with comb and a gazillion bees. The magenta line represents where the comb(s) has grown to. We started off with about 9,000 honey bees from the packaged box we loaded in. I’m thinking that there may be around 35,000 in there right now.

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Front view with cover on the ground in front.

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Up close upside down top cover with a few of our honey bees lingering.

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Open view of top bars in traditional, squarish, beekeepers hive – from above.
Note: This is a combo design.

And here is this week’s video!

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Non-sequitur – Our chickens out for their nightly free ranging.

 

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I did have to duck and run at the end since one flew at my uncovered head,
but I did not get stung!

Happy Friday! May The Fourth Be With You!

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