A Job Well Done

This Honeybee, Apis mellifera, is on her way to work.

The honeybee is headed straight into a Wild red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

She has an important job, one requiring experience and a certain level of maturity.  She knows where to go, what to do when she arrives at her destination, and how to meet her responsibilities.

She is determined.

She works for the goals of her community over her own personal interests.  Her Apis compatriots benefit from her expertise in the field and various other sacrifices.  Most of the time she works alone and unsupervised.

She makes a garden grow.

I’m delighted to join today with Anna’s Wednesday Vignette.  Pop on over and check out other garden and nature musings.

Bee Mama Missive, May 2014

It’s been about seven weeks since we hived our honeybees and I’ve received requests for another update with their progress.  You can read about the hiving of our honeybees here and our first hive check here.   I’m glad to report that our honeybees are great!

Eating!

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Drinking!

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Eating more!

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Hanging out!

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Bearding!

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Visiting one bloom,

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flying to another.

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and sipping from that bloom!

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Gossiping with the neighbors!

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About three weeks ago, we added a second box to both hives because our industrious bees completely filled the bottom box with drawn comb.

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In that comb we spotted capped brood, recently hatched brood (next generation!), drone cells and capped and uncapped honey.  We also saw eggs and larva.  All looked healthy and prosperous (from a bee prospective), so we decided it was time to give the girls a bit more space. We haven’t opened the hive since, but all appears well.  I stopped feeding the bees sugar-water as there is plenty blooming for them, plus they’re good commuters.  (They don’t have to deal with Austin’s traffic.)  I placed wood at the entrance for the first week or so after I removed the Boardman feeders, so that the ladies wouldn’t need to suddenly defend a significantly larger entry space.

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You can spot the foragers bringing in pollen.  The pollen sacks on the hind legs are called pollen baskets or corbiculas.  I prefer to call them pollen pantaloons; I think that name has a certain charm.

I eased the wood away over the next ten days, so now they can defend with impunity.  I hope that’s happening.  All seems well and the hive is active and flourishing.

Now,  what to do with the extra sugar-water????

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Anyone?

Thanks to Deb at austin agrodolce for the Bee Mama moniker.

Busy Bees

Posted on May 30, 2014

We hived our honeybees  just over two weeks ago and other than checking to assure that the queens left their cages, we haven’t opened our hives.  We’ve fed the bees sugar-water, watched them cruise in and out of the hives and observed them at blooms and bird baths.  Neighbors inform us that they’ve seen a definite increase in honeybees in their gardens, so we knew something was happening in our hives. Last Sunday, with excitement and trepidation, we opened our hives to check on our honeybees. We took the top off,

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and heard the incessant bzzzzzz of activity.  I pulled up the back frame of hive #1 and was stunned!

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There was fully formed comb in that bar and the next 4 bars!

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In the first combs there is capped honey (the lighter yellow, toward the top left) and capped brood–larva (the darker yellow in the middle of the frames).  We also observed uncapped larva, eggs and pollen stores (the dark amber on the upper right side).  After only two weeks!!!  We were absolutely giddy!  We couldn’t believe  the bees had accomplished so much in such a short time.

Busy, busy bees!

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We closed the first hive,

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and added some more syrup for their dining pleasure.

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Look at these little girls and their pantaloons.

Pollen pantaloons: that’s what I call them.  That’s not the technical term, but I like it.

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We opened hive #2,

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and observed the same conditions as  in hive #1: larva, eggs, capped brood, capped honey, pollen stores and happy, productive bees. In both hives, not all the bars have fully drawn comb, but all the bars have some comb.

Beautiful.

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Perfect comb.

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We were gobsmacked at what the bees accomplished in two weeks, that we forgot the look for the queens.  Considering the built comb and amount of brood, honey and activity,  we assume the queens are ruling their roosts and doing their queen things. So amazing are these bees.

The Oxford Dictionary defines the word awesome as: Extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.

Except for the “fear” aspect, I think honeybees qualify as awesome.

The bees in hive #2 became a little annoyed at our amateur antics, so we closed the hive,

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and logged our observations like good little beekeepers.

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Meanwhile back at the bar,

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…the honeybees regularly visit my bird baths, especially my blue bird bath.  No matter what time of the day, there are always some gals having a drink and socializing.  Sometimes, they’re drowning or drowned.  I rescue those I can, but there’s not much I can do about the others. Sniff.

They wiggle their butts when they drink.

We’re thrilled that our hives appear healthy and progressing normally.

Awesome is such an overused word,

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but I think our honeybees are AWESOME!!!