Wednesday, February 08, 2012

First (and second) beehive check of Spring.

Firstly, yes, I know it's early for a spring hive check. But, I'll have you know that winter is still hanging out elsewhere waiting to pounce on us and ruin my too early planted spring crops. Which I haven't planted yet because let's not be crazy.

But, it's been so effing warm (seriously, 70 degrees? Is it May already? No? Sad.) that the bees have been out and about doing spring stuff even though it's still technically, per the calendar, winter.

I thought it wise to do a spring check of the hive before things got serious though. Serious like the bees get too crowdy in there and decide to swarm.

I don't need that in my life again, people. Because you know that this time I won't be so lucky as to have them swarm on my side of the fence again.

Oh no.

They'll go over the wall and swarm around my neighbor's face. The shitty neighbor who hates me. And then - disaster. OR I'll get to broom bees off of her swollen face which would be fun for a minute, you know until she calls the cops or hits me with her tiny car.

Though I am legally allowed to have the bees...anyway, let's not go down that particular road. It's really more trouble than it's worth.

BUT - I will tell you that the first hive check of spring was successful.

In the sense that the hive is doing what it's supposed to be doing (cluster of bees has moved to the top of the brood chambers, there are babies in there, there are still some honey stores, there aren't any ants or beetles, it's not a fucking mess in there) and I managed to do all my bee chores including reversing the hive bodies because WOO I actually sat down and read my beekeeping books over the winter so I knew what I was supposed to be doing when I started sticking my fool head in the hive this spring.

Except it took me two tries to get it right.

Because I'm retarded and apparently have a hard time remembering more than two things when I have the din of thousands of bees drowning out my mental mind list.

As it turned out, on Try #1 I forgot to reverse the hive bodies, reinstall the Beetle Jail and I fucked up the GoPro so all I got was a couple thousand still frames of the hives getting worked on and no video. Which I am trying hard to do for you voyeurs.

Thankfully, on Try #2, I prefaced the whole ordeal with a trip to GoPro's online instruction guide (So THAT's what that button does. Oh.) and managed to get it sorted out. It's really not that complicated, I'm just that stupid.

Less thankfully, I was someone else when I did my second hive check and actually didn't mutter a single word (who AM I?) so the soundtrack is useless and I had to add a lot of annotations so that you know what the eff I'm doing out there.

At least Try #2's video covered the reversing hive bodies bit, which I found the most interesting out of the whole thing, though I imagine it would have been nice to show you the full frames of honey still lingering in the top brood box and all the babies emerging.

Aw, cute - little bug faces. Aw, pretty - shiny golden honeycomb. Oh well. There's always next time.

Meanwhile, there was one fucked up bee that I saw with mangled wings. Usually that's a sign of mites, but I dusted 3 times for mites in the fall and haven't seen any other bees with fuckered up wings, so I'm hoping that it was either a new bee (it was rather downy and small) whose wings weren't fully fluffed out yet or an anomaly that won't happen again.

I realize that last one is just false hope, so I'll be keeping an eye on the health over all so that I remedy the mite sitch sooner rather than later.

Imagine mites like fleas for bees. Not good. Also, ew.

Anyway, if you feel like watching a silent movie of me reversing the hive bodies, go right ahead.

And if you want to know WHY you'd do something as seemingly foolhardy as wrestling full boxes of bees around, I will tell you that it's because bees move up through the hive in the winter following the queen and eating the honey stores so that by spring they're all up in the top box and very little is going on in the bottom box.

Since bees work upward, reversing the boxes so that the top busy box is on the bottom and the bottom loser box is on the top, means that they'll start over on the bottom box and work upward through the boxes in a more efficient manner.

And when you reverse the hive boxes (bodies) and put a hive top feeder on top (which I did - see the video), you motivate them to go up and see what the hell is going on up there because they are hungry piglets in spring.

Just watch the video, then you'll see what I'm talking about.

1 comment:

  1. who'd have known bees get mites? So glad your little buggers are all healthy and doing their hibernating thang.


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