Friday, April 29, 2011

Hive check #2: Grody can be good news

Most people attribute Easter with white bunnies or fuzzy chicks or wayward roosters but around here, we look for larvae.

Why? Because my beehive is a strange and ever-changing beast and Easter this year meant that it was time to check on Boss Lady #2 to see if she was doing her job. Specifically - was she or was she not laying eggs.

Hooray! She was.

After we got home from Ass Sitting-a-thon 2011, I checked on the ladies to see how they were doing food-wise and found that they had been hogging out. That feeder, which had taken them well over a week to eat down to 1/3 full before, was nearly dry after 6 days.


Which, fine, because they just turn all that into honey to feed the babies.

The babies that were TAH DOW totally happening in one of the center frames of the hive.

And this is where I apologize for sucking on two separate counts:
  1. I haven't uploaded the video from the second hive check where I don't make any mistakes or release any swarms into the wild. So, you know, you haven't seen video evidence of a miracle. YET.
  2. I didn't even wear the GoPro for Baby Bee Check #1 because, er, I forgot? No, that's not true - I was lazy. I was outside and remembered I needed to check the hive, so just threw on the jacket and veil and went out there without going inside for the camera. I should just put the camera in the garage with my jacket. Maybe this weekend! Maybe not. We'll see.
    Also, I'm done with wearing proper shoes and tall socks with my jeans tucked into them because when I was being lazy checking the bees without my camera, I also didn't wear proper shoes. Specifically, I left on my flip flops and it was fine. A few bees crawled around on my feet, but no one cared and I didn't have to wear EW SOCKS when it was warm out. Yay.
So, that's my roundabout way of saying, no pictures or video of the miracle of a fully functioning beehive in my yard. Which seems retarded since I have tons of footage of my non-functioning and frankly terrifyingly ill-behaved beehive from just a few weeks ago and you'd think it'd be in my best interest to show you some evidence that I've improved as a beekeeper since I released the rapture on my backyard, but no. My laziness abounds and so all you get are words.

My words saying Hey friends! All is well! Babies are happening! and me expecting you to believe me.

You believe me right?

Say you do. I'd be crushed otherwise.

Meanwhile, keep in mind that bee larvae are grody looking (thanks for the photo reference, friends at Curbstone Valley Farm). I mean, they look just like any other larvae. So, you know - whitish, squigglyish, wormish - GRODY. You don't need to see that.

But, when you know they're going to be fuzzy productive bees soon, you sort of get over the EW LOOK HOW GROSS factor when looking through the hive.

Though you'll just have to take my word for it that I didn't go, "EW! Bubba! Look how gross these bee larvae are! They look like wormy white boogers!" because I did not.

Really. Bubba wasn't even near the hive and should not be coming close to the hive because - HELLO he swells.

Though I was thinking it for sure. I was also thinking that I needed to keep a supply of sugar the size and dimensions of Mt Hamilton in the house so that I could refill this feeder pretty regularly given that I have a hive full of fuzzy yellow Hogathas.

So - in sum - the status of the hive is:
Set-up: 1 deep 10 frame brood box, 1 deep empty box with hive top feeder 
Bees: Calm. Eating sugar syrup and collecting pollen. Filing single file in and out of the hive like normal bees. Listening to their Boss Lady.
Boss Lady: Present and accounted for. Laying eggs. Keeping these bitches in line.
Comb: Built out on 3 - 4 of 10 frames. Capped honey. Uncapped brood (means the babies are less than 9 days old and sitting as naked larvae in the cells before being covered with a lid to pupate and grow into normal bees). Stored nectar and pollen.
Feeder: Empty. Refill, please!

And, now that I've gotten a bit more comfortable with the hive and its inner workings, I may bring in a friend or two to help out so that I can take some proper photos during these checks. Although who knows what kind of hell I'll unleash with that behavior.

Bubba - dial 9-1 and wait for the screaming.


  1. I would be that friend! The one to play with stinging insects so you can take pictures, I mean. Much like you live vicariously through our chicks, I will live vicariously through your bees. They fascinate me, but frankly, I have enough shit to do without worrying about insects that seem to do just fine in the wild around here. Sure would like the honey, though.

    Too bad we can't trade chicken for honey. That'd be cool.

  2. Thanks so much for linking to our post with grody...I mean bee-eautiful bee larvae ;) It is funny, as a former hater of all things maggoty, how seeing bee larva now makes me smile!

    I went back through some of our previous bee chasing, I mean bee keeping posts, and I loved them. Hilarious, and keeping it real! Our last bee guild meeting, the more seasoned beekeepers there told us newbees to be sure we don't accidentally let the queen out of the queen cage too soon when our packages arrive. (We still haven't hived a package, even though we did catch 2 swarms this spring). The trouble is there are a variety of queen cages, some with candy corks, some without, and we don't know what we'll be getting. Marshmallows are at the ready though...just in case! ;) Now I just have to hope I'm dexterous enough! It was amusing to read how the whole hiving a package thingy can go awry. Sorry to have a giggle at your expense, but honestly, I love how real and raw your posts are. It'll be fun to compare notes as our hives thrive and grow! Congrats on beeing a beeKEEPER!

  3. So basically... it's like you are running a bee whore house.

    You know I would totally approve of such a thing.

  4. I'm a really lazy lurker, but I love your writing. So happy to see you keeping bees! We generally have 3 hives (we live in a much more relaxed town than you, just a $2 fee to the state), but this is the first time that all 3 made it through the (New England)winter really strongly. That's after 12 years of this nonsense. I'm pretty sure that the longer I do it, the less I know. Still, if you ever want to talk bees with a yankee, feel free to email me. You make the whole business a lot more entertaining than I ever could!

  5. Kris - I need a hardy friend like you to help with this. Anyone who can live through a Donny the Ram attack can certainly handle a few bees.

    And then I wouldn't feel tempted to get chickens.

    Curbstone - Let's definitely compare notes! I mean, given you already know how retarded I am, your expectations are at least set appropriately. Careful with that marshmallow! Sneaky bitches.

    Mom Taxi - Ew, right? I mean. Cute later, but now? Ew.

    TRB Holt - Wow. You just went for it. Too funny, Ms. Babees...

    Sara - Well, more like a giant nursery school, which, now that I think about it, is my worst nightmare. Thankfully these nursery schoolers make honey rather know.

    edh - First, send me your email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom so we can compare notes. Second - $2? WTF, California? That's ridiculous. Awesome, but ridiculous. Let's chat.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.