Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Just Me, The Bees, The Sun, The Smoke and a Rooster!

It has been a long time since I have spent an early morning in the bee yard. It seems like all of our work lately has been in the late afternoon and into the evening. Paula and I were just talking about how much we like the light in the yard later in the day. It really is spectacular to see the sun set in front of the hives.

But I am an early bird and left to my own devices I would always choose to be in the bee yard in the morning. Neither end of the day is ideal for working though as all the bees are home. If we were serious about this, and with 5 hives we might have to change our ways, we would work the hives in the middle of the day when the field bees are out foraging. Less bees, less ruckus.

I am not sure what is up with these bees but they seem very agitated. I am sure it is some indication that they are fixing to swarm which is what I am fixing to prevent! Today was all about damage control after our little dividing fiasco on Monday. I have a habit of getting ahead of myself. I started getting edgy about the divide last week. If only we had waited for the scheduled Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers meeting which was on Tuesday evening to see the divide demonstration at the Honey House! It would have made perfect since to go to the meeting, learn how to do the divide and then go do ours. But no, I had to get it done. We left the bee yard Monday, knowing we had made a mess but it wasn't until we went to the divide demo that I knew just how big the mess actually was.

So I went back this morning to set things right as best I could. It was a cool crisp morning. Sun in the sky, dew on the ground and a rooster crowing in the background. I lit the smoker and set to work with a complete since of calm and my to do list which I kept stuck to one of the hives. I knocked off one task after another and finally set about finding the Queen in The Turquoise Bee. I had to get her into the bottom box and then set up a queen excluder and a bee escape just below the top box. There are three brood boxes on The Turquoise Bee, one of them should have gone over to Mr. Abbott's Little Bee when we did the split on Monday be we forgot to move it and had such a frenzy of agitated bees on our hands that we packed up and left.

I found her easily, Snow White right there in the top box. I rearranged the boxes and got my queen excluder and bee escape in place. Hopefully any bees remaining in the top box will make there way down and with the bee escape in place they can't go back up. Genius right, well if it works, yes. We will see. The queen excluder will keep Snow White in the bottom box, unless of course she has lost weight in anticipation of swarming and can slip through.

I stood back admiring my work, smoke billowing from the smoker. I over fueled the smoker on purpose so I could enjoy the smoke and just watch the bees settle down. It was so peaceful and I was reminded why I love this so very much. Just me and the bees, the rooster, the smoke and the sun, what could be better?


Anonymous said...

Do you think they are angry due to the sudden increase in the number of new bees? Perhaps they are acting all territorial.


sweetpea said...

Hi Colleen! I am not sure what you mean by an increase in the number of new bees, like the new hives? Yes bees are very territorial in that they hone into their hive and they always make their way back to their hive. You can have hundreds of hives line up next to one another like commercial beekeepers and the bees know which hive is their hive, they don't get mixed up and they don't mind the crowd. I think it is swarming behavior. We have never overwintered before so I have never experienced the preparations bees make when they are getting ready to swarm. The only time I have seen this is when we harvest.

GF Gidget said...

Your posts finally sound like you are finding peace in your bee keeping! So happy for you!