Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer House Cleaning

Last week I opened the hive to add the fifth box and switch the first to the third. The bees seemed very angry and kept slamming into my veil. From what I could see there were eggs in the second box, but I could not see any in the first box. I also did not see the Queen. I decided to switch the first box to box number three. That means the second box would become the first. But, when I tried to lift the first box, the box would not move. Both mom and I tried, but all we managed to do was pick it up with the bottom board connected to it. While we were trying to lift up the bottom box, we ended up shaking the hive/box, which created bee chaos. Finally, we just did not move the first box. I did add a fifth box, and pulled up three frames from the fourth box. By the end our smoker had expired and the bees were furious. One bee even followed us for about five minutes and into the front yard! My mom is still recovering from the experience!

Luckily, today the bees were calm. Corky came and we went through all the boxes. The fifth and fourth boxes looked good, but there were some queen cells (these are bad as they are a sign the hive might swarm) in the third and second boxes! We sliced them off fast. When we got to the first box Corky was able to lift it off of the bottom board, so we switched it to the third box. In the first box the bees seemed confused, and they would pour over the edge of the box. On the side I was standing they would march in a single file line back to the entrance! It was very odd. Two weeks ago I added two drone frames (drones are boy bees) in box four and three. The fourth box drone frame seemed full enough, so I took the frame out to freeze it, hopefully killing mites. The third box drone frame was not full, so I decide to keep it in there for another week. I also added a sixth box today. How tall is this hive going to get?

Yesterday mom was driving me to Seattle Pacific University (SPU) to go running. While standing outside I looked at my mom and sitting on her shoulder grooming itself was a honey bee! I am not sure if one of my bees had hopped on her shoulder and was there the entire time in the car, or if it was on a flower at SPU and just jumped on her. After a little bit the bee finally got off.

For Fourth of July weekend I am going up to Canada. I wish I could bring the bees, for they would love the mountain wild flowers, but I am not going to attempt to move them. Hope everyone has a nice weekend.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ghost Bees

My necklace

I am powdering the bees

I have decided to combine this week and last weeks hive update into one post. Last week I looked down into the second box. Everything looked o.k., but I had to cut some excess honeycomb off. Sometime that week, since I was still in school, my mom went up to Beez Neez to buy drone frames for me to put in to get rid of mites. I have not seen any mites yet, but I am sure they are in there. I put a drone frame in the third and second box. In a few weeks I will take the frames and freeze them, hopefully also freezing mites. Another way to get rid of mites is to powder sugar them. I first watched Corky, then I did it. It is very simple, you sprinkle powder sugar over the top of a box. The powder sugar will fall down, covering the bees in it, making them look like ghosts! I did this to the third and second boxes. THE BEES HATED IT! Thousands of them poured out of the entrance all white. It almost looked like a swarm, but luckily was not. After awhile the bees cleaned themselves, rubbing off the mites. I decided last week to stop feeding the bees too, so my hive shrunk by two boxes. This week though, since it has been so cold and rainy, I decide to feed them again. We need sun! So, because it was drizzling all day today and was cold I only put the feeder back on. The bees seemed different. I am still not sure how, maybe a little bigger or crabbier.

Last week on the 15th I had my Middle School graduation. For a graduation gift my parents gave me a bee necklace from Nordstrom. I love it. I also got a Polaroid camera, so I have been snapping lots of photos of the hive! Well, hope it starts to act like summer soon!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Hive is Getting Taller

Last week I checked only the third and second boxes. I didn't dare look in the first box. The third box was about halfway full, so I decided next time, today, I would add a fourth box. An exciting thing that happened when I was checking the hive last week was that a bee somehow snuck into my veil. I was staring at a frame and just thought the bee was on the outside of it, but soon I noticed I was wrong. I quickly, but quietly, flung the hood of my bee outfit off and my mom tried to shoo the bee away. After a while it buzzed out without stinging me.
Today I added the fourth box, so the hive is taller than me! This is because it is sitting on a ledge about a 1/1.5 feet tall, then there are four boxes, and then two more boxes covering the feeders, and lastly the roof. Today I looked all the way to the first box. The hive is thriving. The queen is laying eggs very well, and I saw her today in the first box. I marked her on the day she arrived, but that green dot is starting to wear off. I am only to feed the bees one of two more weeks, then I am done feeding till the fall. The bees should fill this fourth box fast, so I may be adding a fifth soon.
Corky, my Bee Consultant, has appeared in several magazines about his bees and honey brand Bh. One magazine that he is in is the Seattle Magazine, and his honey is featured in Seattle Child. He is also going to appear in a PBS national show and has been on the radio. Congrats Corky!