Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dripping with Sweat - A Bee Day Adventure

I had to suit up to mow around the garden hives this morning which requires a few more clothes than my simple shorts and t-shirt I usually wear so I figured since I had to anyway might as well just get the entire run finished and be done with it for a week.

The two nucs were both out bearding this morning. Bearding is when the hive (or in this case the nuc or small hive) is too hot inside for all the bees so the queen puts out a pheromone that sends a large number of the bees inside to the outside. It looks really weird the first few times you see it and often resembles a large beard hanging down off the front of the hive, hence the name "bearding". When a hive starts bearding it usually means they have filled the space inside pretty good as well. Bearding by the nucs is a good sign they should be upgraded to full hives pretty soon.

St. Johns appeared to be getting along well so the transfer bees must have adapted. I saw some eggs and larva but didn't spot the queen but I also observed a couple of foragers bringing in pollen which is a good sign. Need to keep feeding this hive and hope they build up a bit faster they are still in only one medium super instead of a brood chamber. They need to get enough numbers up that I can add one of their old brood chambers back onto them.

New Haven which was the first swarm I caught this Spring has started building comb on the foundation in the second brood chamber. I stopped feeding this hive because they looked like they didn't need it so much but I was hoping for a bit more of a build up out of them before July. I may have to start feeding them once again to get them up to over Wintering size.

The other swarms also appear to be coming along nicely taking feed like no ones business. I have high hopes for much better survival this next Winter since I have adjusted a few things and switched from less heat reduction to more heat retention. The girls can always beard if they get too hot but if they get too cold all is lost. The screened bottom boards work well for dusting off mites with powdered sugar but they needed a little extra bits added to make them more viable for over Wintering.

After running around in a full bee suit all morning to say I was a bit damp is an understatement. It got into the mid 90's by 10am or so and the last batch of burr comb I had in the solar melter was already gone by the time I got back home. At one point I removed an old piece of burr comb from one of the new swarm hives and laid it down on the landing board to the hive. By the time I finished checking that hive the comb had already melted into a little puddle of wax.

I bet the girls hurt their little feet when they land.

So all in all the great bee build up seems to be coming along nicely. I still have a few traps out but I haven't been re-baiting them. Seven swarms is enough for this season.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!


  1. I have seen some bee hive box's while driving around here. I need to remember to bring the camera to take some photos, from a safe distance.LOL. I will post on my blog. I should be able to do it next week sometime when I get in that area again.

  2. The only thing I knew about bees is that they sting so I'm enjoying everything you say. I hope the girls didn't get their little selves stuck on the wax.:o)

  3. When you mentioned "solar melter" I thought you were referring to the suit's effect on you. :)

  4. i am honestly just thrilled that you pay so much attention to detail and then share it here with us. i promise you that when i start beekeeping - you will be super-proud of me. because i will have already learned so much before i start. and from you!

    your friend,


Leave a comment. We like comments. Sometimes we have even been known to feed Trolls.