Besides my love of photography, I am busy learning something that is fascinating, loaded with pitfalls and definitely not as easy as it sounded. We have added 2 beehives to our property. Bees are having a rough time of it and nobody seems to be figuring out what is causing hive collapse all over the world. Needless to say, bees are very important pollinators that affect crops of all kinds all over the world. Besides, honey is pretty darned good.
We began by researching how to care for bees. Who knew that they get varroa mites, have predator issues, get hive beetles, and diseases? Not only that but drought causes all kinds of trouble for them along with excess heat.
This doesn’t show much but the hive on the left has about 40,000 bees in it. It is the best of the two hives right now although both have healthy, laying queens. We saw them both on Saturday thanks to David McCarty who graciously offered to be our mentor. Heaven knows we need one. We nearly cooked our bees when we first hit summer by not removing the wooden entrance piece to keep out predators and the base board. In the pictures that wood piece close to the bottom is the offending heat trapper.
We fed our bees as the hives seemed to be struggling. Can you believe that they went through 2 gallons per hive of bee syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water) every 3 days. And we gave them protein bee patties too. David had us discontinue that and leave them alone for a couple of weeks. Apparently that syrup or the bee cakes sure got them to work. Both hives are loaded with pollen, nectar, capped honey both on plastic foundations and bee created honey comb. Along with all of this we saw, capped brood and larvae. Those little bees are very industrious and they certainly explain the term “busy as a bee”. .
I most admit that if you go down there and fool around with them too often they get pretty annoyed. Even in a full bee suit it isn’t difficult to figure out they are mad and want to sting you and they did. I was lucky but my husband got stung 3 times through his veil because it was too close to his face. If it wasn’t for David’s help, I am not so sure we would be willing to continue on with this. But, most of their anger was caused by us as we visited them too often instead of just letting them do their thing.
This picture shows you what they do when it gets really hot inside the hive. After we opened their hive yesterday and went through all the frames, they were hanging on the front of the hive for the rest of the day. Sorry this is fuzzy. My husband took it with his cell phone.
The left hive (in top picture) is ready for a 3rd box (a super) as they are already running out of room. The hive on the right is doing fine but isn’t nearly ready for another super. These bees are fascinating and require a ton of knowledge that we are trying to learn. I won’t be bring them in the house as pets but our grandkids did name the queens in each hive so we can keep track of the hives as we grow. Hive #1 has Queen Alexandria and Hive #2 has Queen Barbara in it. Barbara is an egg laying machine and Alexandria isn’t all that far behind. Both queens came from California and they are Italian.
Well, I’ve given you far more information that you probably want. As winter comes along, so will a whole new set of problems. I”ll keep sharing as new things happen.