Sunday, April 20, 2014

We Couldn't Beelieve it!

Day 15. Time to check our little buddies, and they did not disappoint.

We did Team Tangerine first. The hive has 8 frames in it currently, and a frame feeder -- a box that holds syrup for the bees to eat when the plants aren't blooming yet. It was wonderful to see that they had comb built in the first four frames. There were cells of pollen, cells that were capped for syrup, cells that had eggs, some with larvae and some that were capped with the larvae inside so they could finish growing. It takes 21 days from the time the egg is laid until a noo-bee comes out of the cell. We will be having a LOT of noobs soon.

The Mellow Yellows have always been the more precocious of the hives. They were livelier and hungrier, and they are still a bit ahead of the Tangerines. They are up to five frames of comb now, and they had created a burr comb at the top. That was our fault -- we had put the inside cover on upside down last time, so we created a space. Bees in a hive believe, apparently, that space is not to be wasted. They had gone through most of their syrup and their protein pad.

We wanted to take pictures of the bees, but some of us are still not brave enough to work right there with the bees without suiting up (yes, that would be me) but with the marvel of new age photography (not really, it's been around for a while but to my parents it would have been new age) we were able to get some pretty incredible pictures of the bees. Considering that they were all taken from at least 10 feet away, we are not going to complain about the quality. This frame on the left is from the second hive (Mellow Yellows) and was the third frame in from the feeder, so this one was pretty much smack in the middle of the box. It has a bit of everything going on.

 This is a close-up of it. You can see the larvae at different sizes, the bees tending them, some capping the cells, some adding food for the babies to grow. There are some here you can see with eggs in them as well. We had one frame where there were dozens of new eggs.

To explain a little, the bees create the wax comb. Other bees bring in pollen from the plants and it is stored around the area where the eggs will be laid. This is so that the food is handy for the bees tending the babies. There are some cells that are capped white. Those are full of syrup that is being stored. We're hoping they are doing that because of the cooler weather we've had. The queen will lay an egg in a cell that has some royal jelly in it. They other bees will tend the egg until the larvae stage, then cap the larvae. When it becomes a bee, it will emerge from the comb and start work.

We'll leave them to work for another week. They are surrounded by plum and apricot trees that are coming into bloom. The magnolias and forsythias are blooming as well, and we have daffodils, hyacinth, and tulips everywhere, so they should be happy bees for a while. We'll know better next week, when we see if the larvae have grown into real bees.

No comments:

Post a Comment