don’t tell the other animals this… but keeping bees might be the most fascinating thing we have going/growing on the farm. you guys they are absolutely insane creatures. the more i learn about them the more obsessed with them i am. the other day while working out in my garden i noticed that a bunch of them where sticking to the outside of the hive. instantly my mind went = swarm. when the bees feel overcrowded they will prep the frames for a new hive by building queen caves that look like peanuts and split themselves in half. leaving half the colony behind for when the new queens hatch and duke it out and half leaving with current queen to start new colony. this isn’t the end of the world except 1.) you don’t know where said swarm is going to go and 2.) you might have your honey production affected 3.) cross your fingers one of the queens make it because if she doesn’t the colony that stayed behind has about a week before they go bye bye.
noticing this type of behavior i got a little anxious and went and threw on my bee suit and popped the hive open. THEY WERE PISSED. it was WAY to hot to be bugging them and i didn’t bring a smoker (haven’t had to yet). i was wearing my bathing suit under my bee suit and i literally got stung right through the suit (I guess i need that extra layer). they were just too pissed off to do anything so i shut the hive and waited until the next morning.
i headed out there this time fully dressed and with smoker in hand and got an opportunity to do a hive check. it was crazy to see how many bees there were buzzing around and HONEY! i couldn’t believe the comb they had built up since my last brief check a few weeks ago. if i don’t get more frames in there soon they will get too closed in and split. i couldn’t do it last night because you can’t do a check when it’s just rained or about to rain or if it’s dark. bees are very temperamental.
i’m hoping if it’s clear tonight i can insert the new frames and then sprinkle them with powdered sugar to protect against mites. thats right.. a simple dusting of powder sugar protects them from invaders like mites while not affecting their ability to fly at all or interrupt their production. if i’m lucky enough i might even get the chance to clean off some of the excess comb from the frames. the little buggers are not supposed to be building over the frames.
the other fun thing is you can feed them just like regular pets when the pollen is low. since it’s been so dry i’ve been making little pools of water in the garden for them to come and drink off of because they take that water back into the hive to cool it down. seriously the more you know about them the more you love them. i have a trough of apple mint growing right in the middle of the garden and at any given time during the day it is just FULL of bees. they must really like what it’s giving off. that and i flooded it so they could sit on the mint leaves and drink.
i hope to get more pictures soon after the sugar treatment and new frames are inserted.