The Olga Plan

Well, after all the heartbreak of the failed requeening of Olga, we decided to give her some eggs and see if she will queen herself. We checked her on Sunday and found 2 queen cells--those are the two yellow things pointing down on the comb. When workers sense the need for a queen, they will pick a fertilized egg and feed it nothing but royal jelly, place it in a larger cell to grow (workers only get royal jelly for three days, then switch to regular food). One of these queens should hatch sometime next week, kill off the other queen cell, go on a mating flight and hopefully will find a drone congregation area consisting of drones from the MimiKo and Bickman hives, mate and kill about 12 - 15 of them, come back and commence to layin' some eggs for this troubled colony...hopefully the queen will do this without being eaten by a great-crested flycatcher or swallow. I have no idea if this will work, but if there's one thing that beekeeping is teaching me, it's that the more I mess with the hives, the more likely they are to fail, so I'm gonna let the bees do their thing. If she's too weak going into the winter, we may combine her with Kitty.

Sunday night, a friend named Sabrina stopped by for an oh so tasty lamb dinner prepared by Mr. Neil. Afterwards she asked if I would mind showing her the hives. Would I mind? I love showing off the girls! I didn't really want to start up the smoker again because it takes so long to get going and asked Sabrina, "How much do you want to see, do you want to just walk by them or do you want to see the inside?"

"You mean I could actually look inside the hive?!?" Sabrina asked excitedly.

Non Birding Bill and I decided to take her to the more docile MimiKo and Bickman hives. They are still so new, so young, so friendly. Sabrina has an allergy to bee stings, so we made sure that her bee suit was fully secure and took her out. Both hives were INCREDIBLY docile, considering we were out there in the evening when all the foragers are back and we had no smoker. Some of the bees were even lapping up spilled honey off of our gloves. Their buzzing was so soft, so content. I really, really love beekeeping. I love birding, but I never really knew how much bees were going to take over my life and how much I would just fall in love with our fuzzy little stinging insects.

The best part of the day, was that both MimiKo and Bickman are in overdrive producing honey and comb. There's a bit of feral building going on that we need to scrape it away to make inspections easier. We all got to have our first bite of honey comb straight from the hive to your tongue. Honestly, there is nothing quite like soft, chewy comb, warmed from the summer sun in the hive. You bite into it and get these little bursts of sweetness of all the flowers within two miles having a party in your mouth. The wax is soft, similar to a taffy consistency. It's just the best. The honey tastes a bit different from Bickman and MimiKo which kind of makes sense, they are in a different area than Olga and Kitty--those have a more clover, fruit blossom flavor. MimiKo and Bickman still have a wild sweetness, but not the same delicacy. It's a bit more woodsy, perhaps because there's so much giant hemlock nearby?

Anyway, it was on this evening inspection that we found that weird jumping spider. It really did look like some strange demon man. See:

spider face

Can't you just see him shaking his tiny little fist in anger? I'm not too worried about a spider on the hive. Should it be foolish enough to try and go inside, the bees will ball it in short order.