Saturday, June 17, 2017

Something's Buzzing ...

Honey Bees!

Several months ago Patty, apropos of nothing, asked what I thought about becoming beekeepers. As Patty asks many questions like this I said that might be interesting and then figured she would move on to something else. But a while later she forwarded me an email about a beekeeping class. I noted that it was on a week day when we'd both be at work.

And then our friend Barb intervened, albeit unknowingly. She mentioned that a friend of hers had to move into an apartment and because of that couldn't maintain her bee hives. And the empty hives were being stored at her, Barb's, place. Well, one thing led to another and now one of those hives is in our yard.

This one:

You've heard of 'crazy cat ladies'?

I give you the crazy bee lady.

A saner version of same:

Patty found a local supplier of bees who would install them in our hive. So one day one her way home from work she arranged to pick them up and voila, we were bee keepers.

She had approximately 10, 000 bees in a wooden box in her car. Like I said, crazy bee lady.

The bees had already been very busy and you can see in the images above and below frames filling out with the next generation. If you look closely at the right center of the upper image you can see several larva (white blobs in the holes).

Our girls, and vast majority are female (there's a "men working" joke in there somewhere ...) spend the first part of their lives working in the hive, tending to the queen and the developing young.

And their last several weeks as so called 'field bees', like the one below. Seen here returning with pollen (it is very hard to get a shot of the bees coming or going as they are very quick about it).


Eventually the hive will expand to look like this:

The bottom blue box is for making new bees. The yellow box is for food storage, honey for the winter to keep the hive alive when there are no flowers to visit. The half height white box on top is for additional honey which we can harvest. Alas, most hives don't produce this extra honey until the second year. But we can be optimistic. Wish us luck!

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