Bee Progress

Man, all week I have had great intentions but lingering jet lag and life has gotten in the way.  Tuesday night, I thought I would do a quick bike ride, maybe bike to a restaurant with Non Birding Bill, have some quality spouse time, come home, do a wee bit of blogging, and watch a movie. Just as our bikes reached the restaurant...a screw found it's way into my tire and we had to walk home.  A big thank you to the random hippie who slowed down and tossed a temporary patch and said, "Heeeeere, maaaaan, find somebody with a pump!" The thought was appreciated.  We ended up over at my favorite bike shop--Sunrise Cyclery who quickly helped me out with a patch.  But we came home late and exhausted.

Then yesterday, I was supposed to go out to some bald eagle banding and I thought I would come home in the afternoon, catch up on some blogging (do a bee update and then a little Kaz update), have a nice walleye dinner, watch Fight Club with NBB (a favorite date movie) and just relax. Due to high winds and uncertain nest locations we were out all day, dealing with high winds on the river, hot sun, climbing one really high hill, wading through stinging nettle. I came home to find the servers down or the site so no blogging which was fine, Sleep descended on me like a shark from the sky.  I could not keep my eyes open, despite NBB, Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.

And now I have an enormous backlog (or should I say blackblog)...and in a couple of hours I'm going to be on a river boat teaching kids the wonders of the Mississippi River.

So, lets do a quick bee update.


For the most part, the four new hives are doing swimmingly!  They are still so young and so new, they are quite friendly.  Lorraine, further conquering her bee fear demons even went without gloves for this hive inspection.  I was holding a frame looking at our hives' egg  situation when Lorraine offered to hold for me.  I said, "Dude, you forgot your gloves."

"No I didn't," she said.  At first I admit I was skeptical, but she handled them well.


The bees themselves were more focused on eating and building up their hives.  Above is a worker chowing down on some pollen patty crumb.


The bees eat a tiny bit of the pollen patty we make for them, but every year, new hives appear well capable of gathering their own. Check out this girl with fat baskets attached to her back legs.  Dandelions are in heavy bloom, that could very well be the pollen in her baskets.


But the workers are finding other sources of pollen.  Check out the colors of the stored pollen. There's bright yellow, but also dark orange.  Where could that be from?  Bees store pollen (their protein source) in the bottom of a food cell and then store honey on top of that.


All four of our hives had brood and eggs.  You can see the eggs freshly laid by a queen in the above photo.  Both the green Wendy hive and the red Juliet hive were built up quite a bit in their boxes--seven full frames.  According to the way I was taught, when the bottom box has 8 of the ten frames built out, it's time to add a new box full of empty frames for building on top.  But our first summer, we saw a hive at seven frames and decided to wait until she added one more...but she ended up swarming, so if they had seven frames drawn, we added another box to give them room to grow.


The purple Yvaine hive and the yellow Hannah hive were both a little behind in production.  They had eggs, so the queens are present in both hives, but they are not working as fast as the other two.  Check out the shot above of all the girls coming back with pollen.  I love watching bees coming and going at an entrance.  I took several photos.


When I was going through all my entrance shots, I noticed this one.  I was going for the worker in the middle above the entrance reducer, she is very yellow (I suspect from pollen).  But then, I noticed the poor bee on the bottom who appears to be falling ass over tea kettle.  I had just adjusted the entrance reducer, so I think she wasn't ready for the change in position, flew into it, and got knocked on her back.  Bees, so organized, yet sometimes not very graceful.


We had a friend out with us to the hives.  Above, Mr. Neil is showing her how much bees enjoy the gag, "Pull my finger."

They love it.