Saturday, May 7, 2011

Progress in the Hive

Thursday was Cinco de Mayo and a gorgeous day!  In Mexico they were celebrating their independence and I was celebrating my independence from a day of rain.  It had been almost a week since we had a dry day.  To celebrate I decided to break open the hive to make sure the bees ongoings were normal and on schedule.

First was putting up the fencing to help direct the bee's flight and curb curiosity from passer byes.  By putting up the fence in front of the hive it forces the bees to go up and out instead of directly out.  This is important so that when I am in the old garden the bees don't fly out and unintentionally pelt me.  The second fence is to hopefully keep anyone from becoming too curious.  I also planted morning glories at the foot of this fence.  As they climb up the fence  I hope they give it an English cottage garden feel.

We left a gap between the fences so that we can still watch the bees coming and going from the kitchen window.  When we drive in and out we will also be able to pause and take a peek without having to go around.

Later in the day I opened up the hive to flip flop the boxes so the bees will be on the bottom since they always work their way up the hive and they were making their home in the top box.  I also wanted to check to make sure that the queen was laying eggs, brood (larva and baby bees) were on their way, and pollen was being collected.  When I opened the hive I was just hoping to find eggs, which are about 1/10th the size of a grain of rice and difficult to find.  I was pleasantly surprised to find eggs, larva growing, capped brood (the final stage for a brand new bee), packed pollen and nectar.  There are plenty of frames that still need the wax to be built out but the hive is definitely growing and on the right track!

In the middle of the picture inside some of the cells if you look closely you can see white worm like things, these are the brood or larvae.  On the left it is hard to tell on this picture but some of the larva have been capped which means they are growing through the last stage of growth and will emerge as bees.

You can see packed pollen in some of the cells and on the outer cells it looks like they are glistening, this is nectar.  As you notice there are many bees with their heads stuck inside the cells.  They are sucking up nectar.  Bees do this when you smoke the hive, they think it is on fire and are eating as much as possible getting ready to flee.  This is why smoke calms them down, really it makes them more concerned with self preservation than with what someone is doing in the hive.

You can see how some pollen is bright red and orange!

The bees have started to build out this frame but have a way to go.

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