I have started giving extra food to the Kitty hive to help her build up her winter stores. She's just not drawing out comb very quickly and by putting a feeder right in the hive, maybe that will give them more time to work instead of flying away. I will say, they are doing one heck of a job of bringing back pollen. Dozens and dozens were flying in with loaded pollen baskets on their back legs--and in several different colors: red, orange, yellow, even white!
What was really cool for me was watching some of the other workers removing the pollen baskets. Here we have a bee with orange pollen. Behind her is a worker removing the pollen. Note the blurry bee in the front of the photo with the yellow baskets?
I just couldn't believe how mellow the Kitty bees were behaving. I was watching everybody getting there baskets removed. I like this because you can see the bee with the baskets raising her wing while the other bee works on her load of pollen. It was at this point I noticed something very interesting. I had set my camera on the inner roof and as I was getting the macro shots, my fingers were splayed out for leverage. That's when I looked over to my pinkie finger and saw this:
More bees came over and started crawling up. So, apparently not only will smoking your bees make them mellow, but so will hand feeding them. I was so excited, I threw caution to the wind and removed a glove and dipped my pinkie finger in the nectar solution:
Contact! Alas, the actual photo of the bee licking the bare finger turned out blurry, but you get the idea. Hands down, I think this is my favorite moment of beekeeping this summer. Having a bee lick homemade nectar from my bare finger. That is something I never thought would ever happen. Ever. And no, I did not get stung.