Tuesday, June 14, 2011

We Saw the Queen!

During one of our recent hive inspections, we saw the queen! I was determined to find her this time around, and it turns out we didn't even have to try, as I pulled out the third frame, and there she was . . .

Can you see her?

She has been doing her job well, and the bee population is increasing greatly. The worker bees have been busy, too, and a few weeks ago, the second hive body went on to give them more room to expand.

During our hive inspection last week, Leah photographed each side of each frame for me so I could go back and study them which was very helpful. Here's one of the frames . . .

The dark center portion are the cells that new bees recently hatched out of. Around that (and especially on the sides and below) is capped brood which will be hatching soon. The two top corners have capped honey, and you can tell it is capped honey instead of brood as the cappings are white instead of light brown.

It has been a lot of fun to sit outside the hive and watch the activity there, and lately I have seen a 'foreign' bee try to enter the hive, and it was quickly mobbed by the other bees and removed . . . several drones were seen leaving and entering (which was a first time for me to see that) . . . a different color of pollen that is bright orange just recently began being brought in on the pollen baskets on the bees' back legs.

Another thing that is neat to watch is the bees leaving the hive and then following them through the air (not literally :) and seeing which direction they head. A lot of our bees head straight out into the the pasture, a few fly across our yard, and some go almost straight up in the air after leaving the hive and then disappear over the treetops. It sure makes me curious where they all are going!


A few busy bees entering and leaving early in the morning . . . while a dragonfly rests on the landing board in the warm sunshine.

Beekeeping has been a very enjoy
able venture so far, and it has been a learning process as well. One new thing learned recently is to not leave the feeder on too long . . . I did that and the bees filled up the brood chambers' empty cells with nectar (called backfilling) which cuts down on the room that the queen needs to lay. I pulled the feeder off and manipulated some frames so that empty ones were put down near the broodnest area. The bees will use the nectar that they had backfilled with to draw out comb on these two new frames, which will give the queen back the room she needs to lay. At least, that is what they are supposed to be doing . . . we shall see when we open up the hive again in a few days!

A honeybee busy working our flowers and gathering nectar and pollen to bring back to the hive



*A number of people have told me that they have been having trouble leaving comments as blogger wouldn't let them, so I changed the commenting method so hopefully that will fix the problem!

14 comments:

  1. That is so exciting, Sarah!! I truly enjoyed viewing the pictures of the beehive and reading all about the hive activities. It is also exciting that the bees have been so prolific and you are able to now add another hive body. I know you have wanted to have your own hives for some time now, and I am so excited for you to see this dream come to fruition!

    How are the little kits doing, and how is your garden?

    Have a blessed week!

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  2. I am so glad that you have been able to take joy in this new venture! Watching and caring for bees is truly a wonderful experience, and anything involved with God's creation is always enjoyable. Thank you for sharing!

    In Christ,
    ~Shannon~

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  3. That is fascinating Sarah. I wonder if you have seen the bees doing the dance? Apparently the male bees dance to show where the source of honey is.
    If you find it difficult seeing the Queen, maybe you could make her a tiny tiara?

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  4. Sarah,
    What an adventure... keeping honey bees! It must be wonderful to get so up close and personal with God's marvelous creation. Thank you so much for your encouraging comment on my blog. It warmed my heart.
    God bless you!
    Rachel Grace

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  5. Fascinating post, Sarah! I wish I understood more of the bee terminology--like "capped brood" versus "capped honey." I'm sure it has been an excellent learning experience for you. Just curious...have you been stung at all?

    ~ Betsy

    P.S. Still can't load your blog on our main computer...we're baffled as to why. At least I can get it on our laptop.

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  6. It is, Miss Linda! I am so glad that you enjoyed the photos . . . too bad you don’t live closer and then you could stop by and watch one of the inspections in-person. :) Yes, the bees have been prolific! This past Tuesday, I did another inspection, and it looks like we might be able to add the honey super on next week. Once that goes on, the bees start storing honey for us! (So far, they are building up honey in the two boxes that are their ‘home’.) Thank you for your sweet comment and for sharing in my excitement about the bees!

    The kits are doing wonderfully! They are growing so fast, and are developing quite the little personalities. The garden is doing well for the most part as well. It would be doing really well if it weren’t for the moles that are going through the rows and uprooting plants. We’ve gotten one so far, but it looks like there are still a bunch more in there. So we’ve been doing ‘mole hunting.’ :)

    I hope that you have a blessed week as well!

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  7. Thank you for your kind comment, Shannon! Yes, watching and caring for the bees is amazing . . . as you shared, anything involved with God’s creation is enjoyable, and with the honeybees, it is especially so. They are fascinating little creatures and are so complex in their design and colony structure. They truly do reflect the wisdom of their Creator!

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  8. Yes, Elizabeth! We just saw for the first time the worker bees doing their ‘waggle dance’ this past Tuesday. It was really neat to see! It just amazes me that through that dance the bees communicate things such as what direction the nectar source is in, and the distance that it is at. Pretty amazing!

    I had to laugh about the tiny tiara. Wouldn’t that be a sight to see? When we inspected the hive the last time, we saw her again. It’s always exciting to catch a glimpse of her!

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  9. Thank you for your sweet comment here, Rachel Grace! And you’re welcome in regards to the one left on your blog. :)

    Yes, it is an adventure keeping honey bees, and we are loving it so far! They are fascinating little creatures and the more I learn about them and work with them, the more I am in awe of their, and our, Creator.

    Thank you again, Rachel Grace, and blessings to you as well!

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  10. I am glad that you enjoyed it, Betsy! I probably should explain more of the bee terminology when I post. :) I’ll try to shed a bit of light here on the two things that you mentioned! When an egg is laid in one of the cells, it hatches after three days into a larvae. It remains a larvae for 8 days and the cell remains uncovered during this time as the nurse bees are feeding the larvae. After 8 days the cell is ‘capped’ with a wax capping and the larvae pupates. This is called 'capped brood.' At the end of 21 days, the new honeybee hatches and begins its work in the hive.

    Capped honey is simply nectar that has been turned into honey and once that process is complete, the bees cover it with a white wax capping. Then it is all ready and waiting for when the bees would need it for food. Or, if it is capped up in the honey super, for when we are ready to extract the honey for ourselves.

    I hope that explains things a little bit better for you!

    As of yet, I still haven’t been stung . . . it’s bound to happen sometime, however!

    That’s really strange why my blog isn’t loading on your laptop. I have no idea why that would be so, but at least you can see it on your other computer!

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  11. How exciting! Is the queen the large one roughly in the centre of the first photo? I am glad that your beekeeping is going well for you so far!

    Blessings,
    Anna

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  12. It is, Anna! And you’re right on which one is the queen. :) Great guess. And thank you for your kind comment!

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  13. Oh I just love it! :o) I really think that I need to be a bee-keeper! :o) I love watching bees. My lavender plant was so full with blooms the other week and my favorite place to be was just sitting quietly watching the bees buzzing around and bouncing from flowers to flowers. :o)

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  14. If you love bees and are fascinated by them, Nabila, you’d probably make a wonderful beekeeper! :) How fun to be able to watch the bees on your lavender . . . like you, I love watching them!

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)