Thursday, June 9, 2011
The Spring Buzz
We installed our first package of bees on May 10th, and they've been busy buzzing away since then! I worried, as I always do with new things, that something would go wrong, but our hive appears to be strong and healthy, and they're making solid progress.
These pictures were taken three weeks ago, and there's even more comb development now. The bees clustered around the queen (who is marked and has been seen recently), so I switched a few of the frames to spread them out. They started out all on one side of the hive.
Look at all the beautiful new comb they've built! For those of you who raise bees, yes, we're letting them go wild with the comb building, and I probably should have cut some of this off, but I simply couldn't bear to destroy something so gorgeous.
Up close and personal, each individual bee is doing her own thing. During inspection they hardly notice that you're watching them. They keep working, building, dancing, and buzzing along.
Clusters of adult bees protect young larvae from the chill of being exposed to the spring air. We try to observe our hive on warm, sunny days at about 2:00 PM when the workers are out gathering pollen and nectar.
Capped brood comb is a good sign! Bees only live for about 45 days, so they really need to start that next generation of youngsters quickly.
Sometimes the girls get a little creative with where they build comb. This bit was attached to the inside of the inner hive cover (I flipped it upside down when I removed it from the hive). I had to scrape this bit off with the hive tool, but it wasn't a tremendous loss to them. The real bonus was getting our first taste of honey from our own bees!! Sure, it tasted mostly like the sugar water we're feeding them, but it's the thought that counts.
Is anyone else starting off with bees this year?