Experience is a brutal teacher. But you learn, my God, do you learn.

-C.S. Lewis

Stream In January

Stream In January

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hive Update

I have a fountain in the yard and the bees are taking lots of water from it. Click on the photo for the best view.

I checked the hives this morning and everything looked good. Ora is not filling out much, but this was a split and progressing much like Walter did last year at this time. I had a strange occurence a few weeks ago, and I'm not sure the bees in Ora didn't swarm. I know there was a swarm because I heard and saw it, but the bees didn't cluster in the tree they swarmed to. At this point I'm beginning to think it might have been Ora, because Walter is thriving. I asked my experienced beekeeper friends and they said it is possible for a hive to swarm and then return to a hive because maybe the queen did not leave with them or maybe the queen was killed during the swarm, i.e., eaten by a bird. Anyway, I'm not concerned about Ora. I should also note, I'm not raising bees for honey, but for pollination. If I get honey, I'll be very pleased, but I won't take honey from the hives for my purposes if the bees need it to survive the winter.

I had added a super to Walter a couple of weeks ago and in my post on May 27 (I think) the comb was just being drawn out. This morning, the comb in most all the frames is drawn and there is lots of honey in the middle frames being capped. Walter struggled last year because of drought and dearth, but I definitely think I'll get lots of honey from this hive this year. There is already enough honey in the first super to leave for the winter. Again, I won't take what I don't need.

Beekeeping is turning out be such a rewarding, learning experience for me. I have had to turn down lots of bees this spring because I didn't have the boxes built to hive new swarms. I'll spend the winter building bee hives.
As an afterthought, the trees that are or have been in bloom recently are tulip poplar, locust and holly. I'm beginning to see the bees working in the flowers that are blooming in the yard and garden. The mountain laurel also bloomed heavily but I didn't notice much bee activity in them. I'm told that is a good thing since mountain laurel is poisonous. However, I'm also told nobody would eat laurel honey because it tastes so bad. Also, my blueberies are loaded with berries but the honeybees didn't pay much attention to them. The bumblebees did all the work there.


Kat said...

Bee keeping amazes me. I finally found your blog (again.) Glad I did. The photo of the bees at the fountain is cool!

Paul said...

Nice photo of the Bees seeking a drink. Learning never ceases in apiary. I am currently in the Gaylord Hotel in Nashville at my professional conference, learning goes on and on...

Barbara's Spot on the Blog said...

Great photos. I have read that honey bees don't prefer blueberries. I'm glad that good 'ole bumble bees can be relied on :) I have bumble bees living under the dog house and I like to sit and watch them come and go.