Saturday, July 25, 2015

Hungry Bees

The last couple days we had very wet weather complete with numerous lightning strikes.  Not at all conducive to working with the bees.  The frames that we extracted the honey from were wrapped up nicely and then placed in heavy duty plastic containers waiting to be returned to the hives.  I didn't want to wait too long before giving them back to the bees.  The comb is already on the frames and there's still quite a bit of honey and nectar on all of them. 

Cooling a batch of sugar water in the sink
Yvonne cooked up a big batch of sugar water that will be fed to the bees.  This time of year the nectar flow is very minimal and foraging is difficult for the bees.  The second nectar flow will start in a month or so, but until then it doesn't hurt to give the bees a little help. 

Bee Wagon loaded down
Once I got out to the Bee Farm I began building more frames to fill the honey supers that were to be installed.  The wet frames (ones from the extraction) would be divided equally between the hives so they all have a good base to start building as well as nourishment.

New Bee Workbench quite handy

As soon as I started taking the wet frames out of the bags, quite a few bees materialized to take advantage of the sweetness.  All sorts of uninvited guests also showed up to the party including a few wasps, flies and ants.  After the wagon was loaded up with the supers and feeders I started inspecting the hives and immediately noticed a problem.  The nuc that was dropped the other day had a large crack on one side (the back door I was wondering about).  Fortunately there was an empty spare hive available to transfer those bees into  even though their numbers were on the small side.  They were not at all happy to be transferred again but it had to be done.  For their patience I rewarded them with the biggest feeder we had.
Gargoyle hive with new honey super and feeder

Half way through the work I looked down and noticed I forgot to zip up my head net.  All along my neck was completely exposed and bees could have flown right up into my headnet.  Fortunately I was pretty gentle with the bees up until then and hadn't done anything to alert the hot hive yet.  I quickly zipped the headnet snug.   And then that little voice in your head keeps suggesting that one of the girls snuck in and was walking around on the inside of the headnet admiring the view from the inside.   For a few minutes I was absolutely sure there was a bee in the headnet and would have bet money on it.  It's really not a big deal because worst case scenario is you get stung once but still it's kind of a mental thing that noodles around in your mind while you're working.

Besides the weather cooperating, everything went off fairly smooth and the bees are feasting tonight after several days of being cooped up trying to stay dry in their hives.

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