Thursday, July 12, 2012
Honey Honey Sugar Sugar You Are My Candy Girls
Whenever we approach the bee yard we turn up the volume on the bee mobile CD player and jam to The Archies Sugar Sugar. It is our theme song and a good way to transition from our dialog to our bee keeping. I like to keep the car running while we suit up and get organized. We can't help ourselves from singing and dancing and getting jazzed up about seeing the bees. Lately I have been cranking up the music after our work as well. I have been looking for other honey and bee themed music to add to the CD for a video I hope to make of all the photos we have taken during our adventures.
Today I found myself particularly jazzed up and excited about our findings. It was a longer than usual visit with lots of work. I finally caved and bought a new smoker, it just had to be done. The bummer is that I threw out the old smoker and the new one needs some burns before getting that lingering smoky smell in the car. We also discovered that the new smoker blows threw fuel rapidly and we had to fill it and relight it twice during the hour and a half we were working.
We had our work cut out for us, focusing on Colleen's Royal Ruckus and Drone Den but of course we couldn't help but stick our heads inside Mr. Abbott. It does seem like the Yellow Lady is finally gone. We went through each frame carefully and only saw the unmarked Queen. Her brood pattern is much much better, even compared to a week ago but still it is a weak remedial colony of bees who won't produce a lick. Honestly if killing a queen easily were in me I would do away with her and move the bees back over to The Turquoise Bee to improve her foraging power. There isn't a prayer these girls will overwinter so they are doomed no mater what. Hum, I might have to run this idea past Paula.
Royal Ruckus is just a darn nice group of girls! I love going inside this docile colony and seeing what they have accomplished. It is getting harder to find our queens, marked or unmarked because of the growing population of bees in each hive. We made our way through each and every frame of every box in Royal Ruckus wanting to isolate the queen and make sure she was in one of the brood boxes. She has moved up to the supers and laid some scant patchy brood. It is also getting hard to find our queens with a white marking because there is so much glistening nectar and white wax that confuse the beekeeper. When drops of nectar land on the bees head or thorax or small chunks of white wax are stuck on the bees it can actually look like a marking. The queen in Royal Ruckus is Yellow and I spotted her in the second brood box. She moved so quickly that Paula didn't get a chance to see her but I am sure that was her. We quickly added a third brood box and toped that with a queen excluder. Hopefully the bees will draw out comb in the new brood box quickly so the queen can use it to lay. I don't like queen excluders because in my opinion they are really bee excluders and often times the workers won't pass them to comb out and pack the supers. We have one super above the queen excluder that is completely combed out and packed but still needs some capping. The second super is almost all drawn out and they are starting to pack that one too. So we ended up putting on a third super. If we got some rain I am sure the bees would fill the second and third box in no time.
Same story in Drone Den but her first super is completely capped. We also saw some beautiful pink honey on two frames that the bees have capped. I am not sure where they are getting the pink nectar, perhaps a humming bird feeder with pink syrup. I wished we had photographed it. We couldn't find the queen but were very confident she wasn't up in the supers anywhere so we went ahead and added a third brood box, the queen excluder and a third super. Drone Den was a little worked up and defensive, nothing like The Turquoise bee but not docile wither. When we added the new brood boxes and supers on both these hives we took frames of nectar from lower boxes and moved them up to the new boxes. Hopefully this will draw the bees up especially now that we have the queen excluders in play.
We also added a third super on The Turquoise Bee as she drawn out her second box and started to pack it. Crazy Comb hasn't done anything in the second super so we left her be with just two supers. You can see we have a growing apiary.
Royal Ruckus and Drone Den are really getting tall. All in all we have 11 supers in play. Four are full and I mean full. One of the full supers is completely capped and the bees are working on capping off the rest. At a minimum we should get four full supers of honey which should be close to 8-10 gallons of honey. Three other supers are well on their way to being completely drawn and packed so if the bees cap those three off another 6-7 gallons. I doubt they will fill all 11 but if they do we are looking at 30 gallons or so. Regardless we are going to need some manpower to harvest our crop! Honey, Honey, Sugar Sugar you are my candy girls!