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

-C.S. Lewis

Stream In January

Stream In January

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ora and Walter

I did a hive inspection this morning and am very pleased with the bees in Ora and Walter. Ora has been a little slow to build-up, but this morning I saw 4 frames in the new super being drawn with comb. I can tell just by looking at outside activity that this colony is really starting to grow. I have confidence they will fill at least one super with honey.
Walter is, in a word, amazing. The bees have filled 2 supers with honey and 8 of the frames in the super I added last Tuesday are already drawn with comb and the workers are busy on the remaining 2. I had to feed Walter all last winter because there were no honey stores. (I didn't take the honey, there was just none there because of the poor season last summer for bees.) My plan right now is to leave at least 1 honey super for Walter, and if Ora does not produce at 1 full super of honey, I will take 1 from Walter to add to her for the winter. If production continues as it is now, I hope Walter will fill 2 more supers. Well see. The following are some pictures of what the bees are loving in the garden right now. Not shown is the feeding frenzy on the cucumber and squash blooms. The sourwood is also starting to bloom.

Headed for the hostas.

Loving the lamb's ear. The buzz around this plant is almost like standing next to the hive.

Bees on borage. Borage is an herb and also one of those plants that once you have it, you have it forever. It self-seeds and is everywhere, but is well worth having because the bees do obviously love it. Very hard to get a picture of working bees. They just won't sit still for me. :)

I'm going to post a picture of Walter's new super in the sidebar. My husband built this box and did a great job on it. He also said it was about the ugliest thing he had ever seen after I painted it. I have to admit it is sort of day-glow yellow, but that's what you get when you mix green and yellow paint. I used what I had. The next one will be red. Bees don't seem to care and I'm not Martha Stewart.


Anonymous said...

Good going! Good to know your hives are doing great! I checked mine on Saturday and all was looking great. But get this...they're going through about a quart of syrup a day! Yeah, I'm having to feed them because they were so stressed and small when they arrived. But now they're drinking syrup like crazy and using pollen substitute too. They were all over the yard today flying to and fro from the hive. So from the mountains to the Piedmont, the "city" and "country" cousins are bizzzzy as...bees! Good luck!

Barbara's Spot on the Blog said...

Your photos are AMAZING! I love the bee in flight to the flower.

I just put my first supers on last week and hope to do an inspection tomorrow. I'm presuming from your post that the bees built 8 frames of comb in about a week? Did you feed them while they built the comb?

Lynn said...

Hi Mark and Barbara. I fed Walter from early November until about mid-April just because there was simply nothing for them to live on during the winter and I was not willing to let them starve to death. They did bring in pollen starting late in January. Even on cold days here, if the sun was shining and the temp was 38 or above the bees would break the cluster and do some foraging so I never added pollen substitute. I sustained them throughout the winter, but I haven't fed them at all during the time they've been building comb and making honey. From what I've read, if you plan to harvest honey and sell it, you can't give the bees any kind of sugar or pollen and label your honey as wildflower, tulip, etc. I hope this makes sense. It's way past my bedtime!

BTW, I haven't fed Ora at all because our honeyflows have been so good this spring. She has been a bit slow to build-up, but I'm not sure that colony didn't swarm even though it was a split.

vicree said...

Just wondering... is it possible for bees to take on the character traits of the people they are named for? Your description of the bees activity is very close to the way I recall the work habits of the original Ora and Walter. Ora: quiet and steady. Walter: strong and untiring. Both...special!