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Farmette1769's Blog

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: top bar bee hive

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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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It has been raining here on the outskirts of Charlotte, North Carolina for days and days and days and… Our honey bees had been taking advantage of the wildflowers we let grown in the front and back most fields. And, there had been a significant slowdown on feeder provision usage. But, since the onslaught of wet weather has come upon us all here @farmette1769, the bees have been sucking up lots of sugar water.

The following three photographs are of the somewhat quiet hive on this rainy Friday night.

  1. Sunset – This shows the standard/traditional beekeepers hive. It was converted and uses top bars instead of frames. The long-style top bar hive (unused ATT) is currently a stand for the in-use standard hive.
  2. Darker – Entrance to the hive during wet weather.
  3. Dusk – Extra sugar water mason jar holders to feed the hungry masses.

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There are still not many honey bees in the added super. It doesn’t seem to be quite as overflowing in the main section as it was. Yet, the original box is still pretty packed. If any of the bees swarmed and left, it could not have been half the population. But then again, a queen bee can lay 1500 eggs per day…

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The last three photographs show the Honey Super that was added to the hive in a rush last night. The plastic mesh you see is called Queen Excluder. It allows the Worker Bees (all females) to go up to build comb and store honey, without the Queen, who would lay brood aka future honey bees, included. I had been converting the “Loading the Honey Bee Package/Box into the Hive” Super into a Honey Super, when I realized that the hive population had experienced an extra big surge.

The following photos are from yesterday evening’s checkup on the hive.

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Yes, I got daring, again.

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This pic shows the only space left in the entire honey bee hive.

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This is a closer look at that quaint little tubular hole.

I wrote to the gentleman who distributed the bee packages from the man who raises them (That source beekeeper refers to himself as the Fat Bee Guy). It never occurred to me that the hive would grow this much and this fast. It was two months to the day, Thursday the 17th of May, 2018, when I took these photographs.

The email asked if the Super should or should not have the Queen Excluder at this point in the game. I’m not sure if it is too early for a Honey Super, or if I should have a Regular Super, and then an additional Honey-Only Super with Queen Exclusion on top of that.

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The last two pics were taken this evening.

Believe it or not, the front entrance to the hive is not as crazy looking as it was last night. The honey bee workers come up to just inside the box, but at least they can get in and out in what seems to be a comfortably organized manner.

I do not want the honeybees to overheat or swarm/leave to find a larger space. Hopefully, I will hear back soon. If not, I will have to scour the internet and/or just go ahead and build another super/bars to prepare for the inevitable mega overflow of this very prolific honey bee hive.

This bee video, from yesterday, shows the level of madness going on in our front yard.

Happy Friday Night Bees!

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