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Farmette1769's Blog

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: honey bee hive

The crisp fall weather has arrived here in the Charlotte, NC region, and our honey bees are tucked into their hive; with a few guards wandering out to the ledge of the hive entrance.

The following photos are not breathtaking by any means. I am saving up for a Digital SLR Camera (My SLR is a late 1980’s Pentax Film Camera). These are taken with just an iPhone. And, my menace of a big, young dog (Barry) was pulling on his leash while I was trying to get a good shot.

But here is what I was able to manage within those parameters.

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Maybe next week Barry will be sleeping and I can get an even closer close-up pic of a honey bee or two. I should probably pull out my old reliable Pentax, use that “through the lens” viewpoint and have some old school film developing done. I think I have some good Fuji 35mm spools around here somewhere…

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NCmapFlorenceFlorence started off as a hurricane with far-reaching effects, especially on North and South Carolina. It metamorphosized into a tropical storm. We got the tropical storm part of it first, and are now experiencing the tropical depression phase.

There have been 35-ish MPH winds, and some gusts that seemed to be in the high 40s. And then there is all this rain.

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This is a small section of the run-off gully for our back-slanted property. It can fill in up the sides when there are heavy downpours. The cement pipe can barely be seen within the overgrowth. But it is not covered with water, which is a good thing.

The loss of power so far has been a less than 24 hour period. That’s pretty good for us. Being out on the country roads with a smaller population, our power restoration just does not have the priority of the cities full of teaming masses.

I left the suburbs of NJ, just across the Betsy Ross bridge from Philadelphia, when I was 18 years old. Then it was big cities for 25 years (Atlanta/GA, Frankfurt/Germany, Burbank/CA, Wilmington,/DE, etc.

Our first home purchase was one side of a duplex row house with .10 acre(s). When my husband got a job transfer offer of the greater Charlotte, NC area, we jumped on the opportunity to get acreage. It was less than 1/2 the price of the NE/USA area.

So, now we are out here. Big storms never bothered me much in the suburban or city locations. I actually love rain and storms, especially thunderstorms. But with them, out here on the country roads, preparation is a necessity. Not knowing just how strong the winds would be, we cleared the grounds on Wednesday; roofing material, wood, cages, poultry feeder/drinkers, etc.

When power is out, our water is out – due to the well system. Last night, when I should have been writing this article, I was filling up buckets and washing dishes; after the power came back on.

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We had planned to move the honey bee hive, first into the crawl space underneath the house, and then the nook right to the side of the front stoop. After further consideration, it was left in place.

I put the screen block on the hive entrance. The bees were overflowing when I was putting it on, at 5 am, so I left it at an angle. They can still get out, but it did slow them down.

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While adding the screened frame, I also strapped down the top, which is the most common recommendation for honey bee hives during hurricanes.

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This pic was taken early this morning. There are puddles gathering behind our hive.

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It seems to be time to take the screen off and let the honey bees out to weather the wet, stormy weather themselves.

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The arrow shows a big, dead beetle that dared to enter the hive. 

The bees seem to be happy to be out and about, although they are not storming out into the blustery rain.

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Florence should make its way past us today. Will more trees come down via over-saturated soil? Will we lose electricity again? I’m not sure at this point. But, albeit this weather event really wasn’t very bad for us, I’m really glad that we prepared well. Now that the yard is tidy and the household well-stocked, I may just get the chance to get back to that book reading I’ve been neglecting.

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This Saturday, I found time, around 8 PM, to wander out to the honey bee hive.

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My sidekick, Mr. Barry White, accompanied me. Since I needed both of my hands free, he was temporarily hooked to the tree that overshadows our hive.

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Looking in once again at the empty top “honey” super, I thought about how fast time goes and how winter is coming. That open space is not insulated; and it needs to be.

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So, I took the measurements of the inner walls of the super.

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14″ Wide by 17.75″ Deep. I’ll cut a flat board that size and attach a handle to one side. Then, I’ll carefully place it on top of the queen excluder mesh/screen (handle side up).

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I was thinking about filling the empty space with straw. I’ll have to think more on that. The top cap will still go on as usual. The main hive should stay warm enough, especially with the massive amount of honey bees and winter food storage down there.

That rusty reddish color is curious. I pulled the following from this article;

How to read the frames

Capped honey
There should be a reserve of capped honey at the very top of the frame, this often extends around the corners. If there isn’t, then the bees are running extremely low on food reserves and you will need to feed them. This can happen at any time of year, even in summer if the bees haven’t been able to fly for a week because of bad weather.

Nectar
In the rows of cells immediately underneath the capped honey, there should be stores of nectar. This is a snack food for bees, the equivalent of having a bowl of nuts on your desk, which you can dip into as you work. The bees consume this and feed it to the larvae.

Pollen
Next will be pollen, this may not be so clearly defined but you should see cells packed with pollen, often different shades ranging from bright orange and red to almost black. Pollen is the protein, which bees eat, if there is none it would probably coincide with a prolonged period of bad weather.

Maybe it’s pollen? I’ll have to read up or ask around…

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While I had the top cap off, I went ahead and took a few close-up photographs.

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The only insect that tried to bite me tonight was a mosquito. To date, since getting the honey bee package in March 2018, I have been stung 4 times. That’s not bad, considering that I’ve only worn a mask and gloves a few times. I prefer risk with a clear view.

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At the least, you’ll get Sweet Saturday Bees.
Sting you next week!

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This first photo is of the front entrance at about 10:30 PM. They were all very calm, so I had the opportunity to get really close.

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This honey bee is not alone by far; but, for some reason, no one else showed up in this particular pic.

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There are some of her fellow co-workers moving out to investigate a potential intruder – aka – me, myself and I.

Videos seem to auto-zoom on my iPhone SE. That’s a good thing for this hive front entrance video.

Lastly, I opened up the cover to look into the top super. That plastic mesh is the queen excluder material that helps keep the queen out of the space that was added just for honey.

I’m sure our queen bee is laying eggs galore in the bottom main hive area in order to create more workers. She has to keep this going to replace the ones that die off.

The workers wander into the the additional super a little, but for this first year with a top bar natural maze-like comb structure, the honey bees are focusing on the base hive area for their honey storage.

We’ll have to be patient. I’m thinking that the inevitable up-close-and-personal honey harvesting will be worth the wait.

 

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It has been raining a lot. The sun has come out today and will remain for most of the day. Our honey bees are taking their time getting out and about. In a few short hours they will be out full force.

In the meantime, here is a video from today to start your day… Saturday.

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