Thursday, August 27, 2015

Gentle Honey Bees again

Yesterday was hive inspection day and the influence of the new queens was quite apparent.  The bees are once again a joy to be around and are quite patient and gentle. 

Back in July when I opened up the hives it was quite chaotic with my bad attitude bees.  After doing inspections at least 50-100 stingers would be embedded in my gloves.  The bees would follow and harass at quite a distance.  Just working in the garden or even pulling into the bee yard would bring out the bully guard bees looking for trouble.   Thankfully, that has completely changed with the re-queening.

Now I can work in the gardens without concern and opening up the hives is a calming almost spiritual experience once again.  All 5 hives have plenty of new brood and seem to be thriving.  It looks like they've been dipping into their honey and nectar reserves but the fall nectar flow will be starting any day now so the supers should be filling up with honey again.  No stingers in the gloves, no pelting of bees against the veil and guard bees quickly lose interest when you walk away.  This whole cycle of passive to aggressive to passive was quite an informative lesson in understanding bee behavior.  The aggressive behavior was a combination of several factors.  The summer heat, bees protecting their honey, animals trying to breach the hive, and being queenless will ramp up a colony's apprehension level.  But I think the primary reason for (extreme) aggressiveness is when the a queen mates with an africanized drone to start producing brood (baby bees) with those genes.   My hives have experienced all the above mentioned factors which makes the Bee Farm more prepared for the future.   And as in most lessons, experiencing them firsthand is much better than reading about it in a book or online.   The first year of beekeeping is the toughest they say.  And the most educational.

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