Graduating Class

On Friday I witnessed an amazing sight, one that frightened me, mostly because of ignorance, but also had me captivated. I went in the check on Ted our playful little rabbit, as I walked into the room, which has a direct eye shot to the hive, I saw a large number of bees flying and circling outside the hive. My first thoughts are the bees are about to swarm or we have a robbing situation on our hands, either way, we had trouble. I grabbed my phone and walked towards the hive. As I was recording I noticed the circling was methodical, not chaotic for a robbing situation and noticed no fighting between bees. The swarming theory was still a very real possibility but it just didn't feel that's what it was. I walked away to do some digging and no longer than 5 minutes later the circling had stopped and the hive was back to its normal pace. After a little more digging, what I had witnessed was new foragers orientating themselves. In a way, I still had the thought of a swarm in the ba…

A New Hope (Never thought I'd make a Star Wars reference...)

Sunday, Ed came by to drop off a new set of bees. We're going to keep them in the 5-frame nuc boxes instead of moving them into a full size hive. Hopefully, they can grow in numbers so that they can keep themselves warm thru the winter. They seem healthy and busy. The bottom nuc box is full with brood and nectar. The second box was just introduced a couple weeks ago and there is one frame with comb. The next time we check on them, there should be more progress.
 The new Queen is a lot lighter than the last one, who was black. These are the same types of bees, Carniolan.
On Ed's suggestion, we moved the hive location out from under the garage and closer to our back fence. This way, the sun will hit their hive earlier, prompting them to get out and start foraging earlier. Matt also built a hive stand :)
We're not expecting to harvest any honey from his hive, getting them so late in the season and not having any honey storage built up yet. Any honey they make before winter …


Yesterday, I got a phone call from Matt asking if I had seen his text message. I'm driving and #adulting so I don't text and drive anymore. The bees have swarmed. Luckily, they attached themselves to our back fence, easily accessible.
I immediately called Ed and told him. He instructed me to do what I was still nervous about doing: Catch the swarm. Honeybees, when swarming, are even more friendly than when they're busy working. This video shows that. But, I'm not yet ready for that. We built a makeshift swarm box using a deep super with 4 frames in it. Got a piece of plywood to cover the bottom and the top, leaving a small gap for them to go in. We propped the box up right underneath the swarm and brushed them into the box, using a brush :) 

In about an hour, they had all gone in. Still, their small numbers will not be enough to last them through the winter. 
When we opened up the hive, there was only 1 fully drawn comb in the 2nd medium box. Hardly any bees though…
I've just had a... feeling about the hive. Since the install, we've seen bees walking around outside of the hive, on the ground, near the entrance. They're walking and moving slowly, almost as if they brought themselves out of the hive because they knew they were dying. So there's dead bees by the entrance. I know that they remove the dead ones, but something just seemed odd about the number of bees by the entrance.

We've also noticed that bees are dying with their tongues sticking out. I didn't really think anything of it. Matt looked it up and read that it's a sign of pesticide poisoning.

I asked this in a beekeeping FB group and it was confirmed. Suggested if I could learn where and when people were spraying, I could at least lock up the bees until it settles.

Another weird thing, today, after work, we noticed, what might be, pollen, about 7ft behind the hive. Still waiting to hear from Ed about this. I want to open up the hive again, but I don't wan…
It's been a week and 5 days since we've installed the Moana hive. We cracked her open last Saturday, just to take a peek at any progress. Saw lots of brood, covered caps, larvae, and eggs. No sight of the Queen, even though she's dotted with a yellow dot.
But, since we saw eggs, that means she's been active at least 3 days ago. Not too much capped honey, but there were cells with nectar. When we first installed the hive, we had added a deep super below the medium one that was installed. I had hoped that the bees would take to it and start filling up those frames, but the last time we checked on the hive, they were pretty much ignoring it. Bees tend to build their hives up and out, instead of downwards. We may leave that deep super there, especially since that's how our sugar feeder is set up. If the bees do that well that the hive is really stacking up high, then I'll remove that bottom deep super, but for now, it can just stay. Since the feeder that we're…