Monday, April 26, 2010

we got to see the bees!

It's been three weeks since the bees were hived, and we were advised to just leave them alone completely for two to three weeks. My husband had gone and put tar paper on the hives to insulate them during an unseasonably cold snap we had. It was difficult, but I put them out of my mind as much as possible, and we left them alone to see if they'd survive.

Yesterday we finally got to go out and pay them a visit. My intention was to take off the feeders and feeder boxes and tar paper, and just let them go on their own. The blueberry bushes have been in bloom, so there is plenty of nectar flow and pollen available to them right now.

As I went up to the hives, this is what I saw:

Plenty of bees flying in and out of the hives, with their legs just FULL of pollen. The healthy hive (Butterfly Zen) AND the one that we thought might be dead (Bee Zen). Just see all the activity there was? Bees were coming and going like crazy - it was a thing of beauty.

I decided to take the feeder - which was completely drained - and the feeder box off of the healthiest hive - and it was quite easy. The tar paper was stapled to it, so it slid off with the feeder box, and I was done. I ushered the bees back inside so I wouldn't crush any - I sprayed them down with my mix of honey, water, and Honey B Healthy, and they got busy cleaning themselves off and ran down into the hive. And I was able to see comb - lots of good comb on several of the top bars in their hive. Yes!

Next I went over to the lesser hive to see what was there. The feeder bag was still almost full, and when I peeked in, I didn't see any comb on any of the top bars. Yet when I looked outside the hive, I could see bees going in and out like crazy. Hm. So I stuck my face all the way down into the hive - as much as I could, in order to see the bottom box. And there, on the bottom box, was comb! The bees in that hive had begun building their comb in the bottom box rather than in the top box! Imagine my surprise - I hadn't considered that possibility. But there they were, comb all built in the bottom box, carrying in and out pollen like mad.

I decided to leave the feeder box and the tar paper on that one - I figure they need all the help they can get, because it does still get cold at night, and I want to give them as much of a chance to build themselves up as possible.

I was taking photos and of course my camera battery died and I'd forgotten for the first time in ever to bring the extras along. Sigh. But I did get some great shots of the hive entrance. My beautiful girls - all flying in, legs fat with pollen from the blueberry bushes. Happiness. My bees are alive!!!

I suppose if I was going to have a half-dead hive, the blueberry farm was a good choice to put them in - nectar flow came just a few days after we'd hived them there. And PLENTY of it!

If you want to see all of the photos I managed to take, they're here:

Blueberry Bees 25-04-2010

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