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Farmette1769's Blog

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: friday night bees

I’ve really got to get my act together. But maybe I just need to give in and swap Friday nights for Saturday mornings. Saturday morning seems to be working out better. I wake up rested. It has been cool in the am. It’s a nice way to start the day. Hmm…

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I popped the top off the super today, and since the bees had not really started up full force yet, I managed to grab that feeder out without getting chased away and/or stung.

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I also pulled all but a couple of top bars out so that I could see better in there. They’re not using them so far, so why not? If and when they choose to start using the two left behind, I can just add one at a time back into the mix.

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Here’s a closer view of the little bit of activity above the main hive box.

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Around front, they were just starting to wake up to the sun. It is shining on them from the south, which is how one should place a hive. This gives them a morning warm up and also backs up to the northern wind (they need protection from it in the winter).

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The day is shaping up to be nice outside, although it will get somewhat hot at a high that will reach 88 degrees here in the middle, far south in NC near Charlotte.

Lastly, an up close and personal look at Farmette 1769’s honey bees.
See you next week!

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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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Above our (obviously not manicured) front yard, was the threat of a thunderstorm this past Thursday night. Although I could hear it in the distance, it did not end up passing over us here on Farmette 1769.

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This was what our honey bees were doing at the time. It was about 8pm, so they were coming in for the night. It was hot and they were hanging out on their porch again.

This morning, I took the entrance feeder mason jar off its base. What I normally do is grab the base of the jar and throw it into the grass; since there are always a few bees hanging on. Then I just retrieve and fill it with sugar water.

This video is a quick up close view of the entrance, from within the path that our honey bees take in and out – Front Left. I could not stay there long, since they guard it well.

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Lastly, this is a peak inside the bluebird house on the way back inside. The babies are almost ready to head out into the big world!

Please join us next week for another addition of Friday Night Bee. It may be delayed until Saturday morning. I’ve been really tired on Friday night for weeks now. If that continues, I will have to change the name from FNB to SMB.

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The first shot is of the front of our honey bee hive. The next is of the back. The back is where you want to check on the hive – since the worker bee guards focus on the front entrance.

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I need to add some sugar water to the mason jars. At this point in the game, the hive is stable, but I still like to give them a food supplement boost, especially when it is raining. But, as you will see the first video, they are out and about on this cool-ish, misty morning.

The following pic shows what happens to invaders of the hive. That big bee is stone cold dead. I saw them wrangle a black carpenter ant down into the depths of the hive, but I didn’t get my video going in time to catch that epic battle. There are big red ants scurrying about, taking advantage of the sugar water drinker. The bees seemingly ignore them. I wonder if it is due to the coloring being somewhat like that of a honey bee?

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I added an internal feeder to help encourage the bees to come up into the super. I’m not sure if this is a normal tactic. I really want them up there building comb and storing honey without brood, so that we can sneak some honey out late summer/early fall. I’m thinking I should read up on this a bit. Ours is not a conventional hive setup, so getting the correct information may take a bit of digging.

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It took a lot of back and forth from the hive to get the video footage from today. It was me jogging off when a guard started buzzing near my face or hands, and then meandering back to try again. In the following video, I actually dropped my phone into the honey super. If you stay with it, you’ll get a pretty close view of the bees at a horizontal angle as I flip the phone up. It ends with my grab and retrieve action.

And lastly, a clip of what is going on in that top super. Not too much is actually happening, but hopefully I will figure out how to make more happen in there.

 

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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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