Belated Bee Report: Unregulated Comb Construction

QUICK NOTE: As of the posting of this entry, no one has correctly guessed the id of the bird in this entry...although the guesses are getting VERY close.

"I disapprove of being any part of your mad pollination schemes!"

I can't believe it! I got Non Birding Bill out to the hives! There he is standing next to the Olga hive, right before he opened up her entrance reducer. I have to say, he looks mighty cute in the bee suit. The suits were built for men and the guys look kinda sexy in them. Lorraine and I tend to look more like Oompa Loompas with the suits on. Sigh. But, I'd rather risk looking like a chocolate factory worker than getting stung.

Here's a big pile of Kitty bees. Saturday, was about checking comb construction and adding another brood box. The Olga bees had filled 80% of the frames with drawn out comb, which meant it was time to add another box for them to build even more comb. I would say that Olga is a full frame ahead of Kitty, but Kitty has some of her own weirdness going on that may in fact put her ahead of Olga.

Olga continues her odd comb construction. This particular frame appeared to have waves of comb built across it as opposed to a flat layer of comb across the frame. I didn't want to kill any more brood than I needed to, so left this odd construction. I'm sure this is going to bite me on the butt later this summer, but the girls are working on hatching the first brood and I think that's more important to let the odd comb go as opposed to killing off brood. Besides, this is a learning summer for me.

We found Queen Olga with very little effort this time. She was on one of the outer frames with fresh honey in it, looking for cells to lay her eggs.

Kitty has gone from being a textbook hive, to making some funky comb like Olga. As soon as we opened the top, we could see the workers placing comb on the tops of the frames. I hate to discourage creativity, but we scarped it off since there weren't any eggs or larvae inside it.

The Kitty bees weren't doing the waves of comb like Olga, but have made their comb in layers. Instead of drawing up the comb from the frame's wax base, they appear to have made a layer on top of the frame and are tunneling between the frame and newly made comb. We weren't able to find the queen, but I'm sure she was running around between the layers and we couldn't see her. We did see several eggs which implied that she was alive and healthy. Even though Olga has filled out more frames, I wonder if Kitty is actually ahead, since she appears to be doubling up each frame?

If anyone has experience with this or advice, I sure would love to hear it.

As we were checking the Kitty hive, the oddest thing happened--a plane crashed. Seriously! We heard a crashing in the trees right overhead, we all looked up and saw what at first looked like a large branch falling to the ground.

It turned out to be a radio controlled plane falling to the ground. We didn't hear it fly overhead, but heard it landing in the trees. At first we weren't sure if it had been in the tree for a few days and finally fell or if it flew over and crashed in the tops of the trees while we were working. After about 10 minutes, the plane's owners arrived. I chuckled at the idea of them coming to look for the plane if we had not been there, only to find it behind two beehives.

As if the plane crash weren't weird enough, check out the name on the plane: Yellow Bee. Ooooooo. We're getting an exorcist and this time I mean it (NBB at least will get that reference).

As we were adding another brood box to Kitty, we couldn't help but notice all the foragers coming back loaded up with pollen. It's interesting to see the distinct colors based on the type of flower they were gathering from. Some have orange colored pollen baskets, some bright yellow.

Here is a worker that I affectionately refer to as thunder thighs--she's an over achiever when it comes to gathering pollen. How did she fly back with that much weight? I don't know, but I sure am proud of this little Kitty bee.

So, now we leave our bees alone to create more worker bees, fill in the frames of the second brood box and to gather nectar and pollen. It will be at least another week until I check on them again. I hope they do well.