With the long wet spring, I’ve been really chomping at the bit to check on my bees. It’s been months since I’ve been able to open up my hives to have a peek. Last week we had a few dry sunny days, which allowed me to lean on the fence a foot or so away from the entrance and watch the girls come and go. I saw enough activity to allay my fears regarding their survival. But with the truly sudden onset of summer, I knew I’d be in trouble if I didn’t get the hives opened and made sure they had enough room to expand.
Yesterday I went out at dusk, with the idea that they’d be calm and I could remove the empty feeders, replace the space with a 1x2 cut to fit, and move the queen includer up a super or two to allow for expansion. One of the great things I learned in my research this spring was to use a much smaller entrance located higher than most of the hive, much like those in wild hives, allowing the hive to easily defend itself from robber bees. Imitating Mother Nature as much as I can is my goal as a farmer; it makes for less work and more efficiency.
The Persephone hive has been the weaker hive from the beginning, but they are hanging in there and I gave the queen an additional super for laying eggs and closed the hive back up.
The Aphrodite hive (aptly named) has always been the stronger hive, and after seeing what this queen had been up to, I gave her LOTS more room for laying eggs, and now that I know how well they are doing, I need to go back again to give them another super or two. You can see in these photos taken today that many of the girls are looking for their former entrance which used to be between super #2 and super #3, just like the Persephone hive. It’s now above #3, which isn’t visible to you and me, but it’s there and you can see in this photo that many have found it.
I’ll put another super on top of #3, so the entrance will be visible again, but not today. Last night I found that neither hive was aggressive, but my veil must have touched my face at one point when I was finishing up the Aphrodite hive, and one lone bee stung me on my face. They weren't swarming around me at all; I chose dusk so they'd be calm, so it really was a fluke. It hurt only briefly, and I'm glad to see that these are strong, self-reliant bees that are doing well without assistance, chemicals or any other non-organic practices. YAY! This has been my goal for years! My husband pulled the stinger out of my face, and I slapped some Sting Stop on it, but really, it didn't and doesn't hurt.
Oh yeah, I wanted to show the hog panels used to protect my hives from sheep grazing the orchard. You can see that the pasture has been grazed up to the panels, and the hives are safe from being knocked over. I should get in there and tidy up a bit, but it's a small price to pay for utilizing every bit of grass that we can for our livestock.
Radish First - *Radish First*
3 years ago