Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hello, Queenie Waheenie, Queen of the Moody Blues

We needed to give the hives some time to sort out and settle down after the splits, the moves and everything else in the last few weeks. The weather hasn't helped matters, with strong winds, unheard of hot temperatures and unbelievably dry conditions. There is not much in bloom, although some surrounding alfalfa fields are about to be ready again, so that should give our babees a bit of a boost.

The Gang Greens -- they have kept us on our toes. The fact that bees from the other hives were going to the Gang Green three to steal easy food was probably what caused the problems, to a large degree. It has been almost like a shell game with them, but finally we think they are sorted out. We knew two weeks ago that the red racer was not going to do well. It had no queen, it had a small population... so last week, we broke it down and the bees found a home in the neighboring Gang Green hive. The red racer was in the middle. Today, we broke down the blue racer as well, for the same reason. That leaves us with a Gang of one Green... but that one is doing pretty well, all things considered. They are filling out frames, creating pollen and creating a queen.

Pistachio is rocking! They are two high now, and are packing the top frame with honey. There were 7 frames already started. They have a good, healthy, large, active population, and new larvae. If we have any concerns about it, that concern would be about the noise -- it was much louder than normal which can mean they aren't happy. We're hoping that's just because of the heat and the smoke in the area.

The Dregs is also doing well, and we'll put a second box on it so they can move up. They are really full. Considering how that hive started, we couldn't be happier with the results so far. Moody Blues is also doing well. It is also in need of a second box, but we need to get more frames before we can do that. We'll be getting them this week. We also had the treat of seeing the queen in that hive... a first for us. The White Outs have been wonderfully busy, so we gave them their first honey super. Their frames are totally full and they are laying a lot of brood. Mellow Yellow got a second honey super, and looks good. We left them to do their thing undisturbed today, other than to add the new box.

Queenie Waheenie -- Ruler of the Moody Blues
Team Tangerine is still a concern. The honey super is untouched. Two of the frames in the second box do have brood though, so that was a very good sign. It's still hanging in, slowly building back up. We'll give it time, and hope for the best on it, but it should be fine once that new brood starts to hatch.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Introducing... The Gang Greens!

We're late, I know... and have a lot of ground to cover to catch up. Yes, some days we wish we had the same stamina and dedication that our little honeys have. This is to catch up from last week (you'll understand why before you get to the end of this log). We will have more tomorrow on Monday, for this week's romp through the hives.

We made the decision about The Dregs. We made three new hives, and took three of the four frames with Queen cells from The Dregs, and created new hives. Considering that we planned on having only 3 hives for the year, we are now a long ways ahead of where we had planned. The Dregs and Pistachio were humming! In The Dregs, they had been capping lots of honey while they waited for one of their 27 Queens to emerge from her cell. Pistachio had been making a massive amount of comb, and was ready for a second box. That said, the bees were a bit.... grumpy (a new epi-pen, a trip to the emergency, and several days in a Benedryl haze attests to their grumpiness... at least where one of us was concerned.)

The three new hives were set out. They were cobbed together pretty quickly, and all painted the same color -- so we give you... The Gang Greens. We will be able to tell them apart though, because each one has a racing stripe that is a different color. Lucky for us, the bees will also be able to tell them apart as well because of the different colored doors.

The White Outs seem to be loving their new home. They were busy, but had only started filling in their new frames. The Mellow Yellows had three frames of honey for us! Team Tangerine was very quiet, their new Queen being a bit slow on the uptake, plus it would seem the majority of the bees who made up The Dregs came from TT. The Moody Blues got a second box as well, so they were all pretty happy overall.

We did discover a mistake we had made, but it was an interesting one, to say the least. We had left out one frame from the Pistachio hive when we took out the feeder. They create honeycomb sculptures to fill in the empty space. Apparently bees, like hoarders, cannot stand empty space.

The Gang Greens are the only ones left in the yard (and they will be moving out soon too). They haven been much calmer, although the bees wanted water and decided the swimming pool would be a great place to get it. After rescuing MANY from the pool, we set up a container of water in the apiary for them, but there was one stubborn bee who wanted pool water instead... and resulted in our second sting of the weekend when, while checking the thermometer in the pool, the bee hitched a ride unbeknownst to us, and decided he didn't like hands on his floaty seat.

(Yes, the first sting was to yours truly... the only one without a suit because you can't write and take pictures with the whites, gloves and veil on. He got me in the face.)

HELPFUL HINT -- if you get stung by a bee, remove the stinger right away, then soak the bite in white vinegar. Seriously, it really works. We're learning! (albeit the hard way)