Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bees. 19 days

Say hello to our new little friends.

The bee compound.  We have many bears in the area, so it is necessary to build enclosures that are surrounded by electric fencing.  We were actually visited by a bear last night, who climbed a small stand of birch trees to claim his prize of a small basket of suet.  We really wish we had seen the bear up in the birch trees...he broke many branches, and there are scratch marks all over the trees.  Luckily, our fencing has kept them at bay so far.

Preparing the smoker.

We have two hives.  This is the activity after nineteen days.  We "installed" the bees on April 7, and they are already filling up four or five of the frames in our ten frame supers.

Everything is looking good so far.  We did not spot the queen during this inspection, but she is obviously busy producing many eggs.  We could see the larva in some cells.  Most of the cells have been capped off already.  The newly "hatching" bees will chew their way out of each cell.  They take about three weeks to become adults.

Bees working on brood cells (above).  They seem so docile and calm.  We've learned that we must always use the smoker when we interact with the bees.  The first time there was an accidental stinging because everyone got so upset.  It's also important to wear the proper protection, especially over your face, so that you can remain calm and relaxed while working with the bees.  They are truly amazing and kind of scary too.

Above.  I'm watching you!

Bees in 2nd hive.  Scenting.

I was hoping that our bird bath, which is about 75 yards away from the hives, would become a watering station for the bees.  We have a brook which is close by, but I hoped they wouldn't have to work so hard to find water.  And sure  (see below)

Pretty soon....two

Frida became very interested.  Suddenly her whiskers appeared in the frame as I was watching the bees through the camera.


One bee flies away ........

and then.......