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Me And My Honey

Category: Bees | Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:00 am

I had a pretty exciting day at the bee hives on Sunday. My wife has always been on board with the bees, but this time she wanted to dive in with me and learn more about the inner workings of the hive. I am not an expert by any means, but I was anxious to show her what I knew.

I have two bee suits so we both got dressed. I hate wearing that thing, but after the allergic reaction a few weeks back I have come to accept the fact that I need to wear it. We have no idea if my wife is allergic, but she has no desire to find out. In fact, she went so far as to wear rubber boots with her suit so that there was no chance of one getting her on the ankle. With the suits on and the smoker in hand we headed out to the hive. Both of my parents tagged along to watch as well. I have extra veils so they both put one on.

The first hive that we went into was the one that I was working in when I got stung and had the allergic reaction. I thought maybe I had done something wrong that day to rile them up, but after pulling the top off it was pretty apparent that this hive is a little on the "hot" side. They were dive bombing us from the get go. In fact, even though my mom and dad were standing back both of them ended up getting stung on the hand. Thankfully the suits did their job because neither Donna or I felt the wrath of the angry ladies.

Despite the flurry of activity around us we inspected the hive and took it all the way to the bottom brood box. There was a lot of brood (both capped and uncapped) plenty of pollen stores and some honey. I wanted so desperately to show her the queen, but I just wasn't able to locate her. I was on the lookout for hive beetles, but didn't see any. I also did my best to look for the dreaded varroa mite, but didn't see any of those either. The bee club recommends that we dust the bees with powdered sugar this time of year to help with varroa mites, so we did that. We also placed some Better Beetle Blaster hive beetle traps in the hive. As I was placing the frames back in my wife was brushing away the bees so that I wouldn't smash any. Her concern over their welfare was touching.

The second hive is at my brother's house so we drove over there. It is amazing how different the temperament is between the two hives. I honestly believe that I could have gone in without using the smoker. These girls were docile and didn't seem to mind that we were there at all. When I pulled out one of the frames something caught my wife's attention. Upon closer inspection we realized it was a bee that was just hatching. I held the frame in my hand and we watched with delight as she worked her way out of the cell. It took about ten minutes, but she finally pulled free. She was just a little bit lighter in color and she took a few minutes to catch her bearing, but it didn't take long for her to fit in. In fact, there was another bee that kept impatiently walking back and forth as the hatching was taking place. I jokingly told my wife that was the head worker bee telling her to hurry up because there was plenty of work to do. I was joking, but I can't help but wonder if there is a grain of truth there.

Like the other hive this one seemed very healthy. I did see one hive beetle, but smashed it with the hive tool. I know if there is one there are probably more, but I didn't want to set up the Better Beetle Blaster in this hive because I'm planning to move it back to my house this week. The traps are filled with vegetable oil and I don't want to spill any when I move the hive and inadvertently kill some of the bees. Once I have them home I'll take care of putting the traps into this hive.

All in all it was a successful afternoon working in the bee hives. The best thing about it is that I got to share it with my lovely bride. It can't get much better than that.

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Sjoerd wrote on Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:16 pm:

That was a great day in the bees. My bride helps me with my bees most of the time as well. It makes the disturbance to the bees much shorter.

Over here the months of july and august are infamous for being a period where the bees are a prickly in their behaviour. I keep my inspections to an absolute minimum during this time.

It was enjoyable reading about your experiences.

Over here this is the time when there is quite a lot to do, in spite of the bees' irritability. It is the time where I begin the in-wintering process.

Cayuga Morning wrote on Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:08 pm:

Great blog EG. I felt like I was there with you all, investigating the hives!

carolyn wrote on Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:49 pm:

Just a thought... I have bees and I know how touchy a queenless hive is. Even though there is capped brood was it worker brood or drone, did you see any uncapped larvae? Did your bees stick together like velcro when you pulled a frame? Not seeing a queen doesn't mean it was queenless, but you may have a worker laying drone eggs.

Or if you can find the queen replace her with a new one. The new one will change the temperament of your hive.


eclecticgarden wrote on Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:21 am:


Thanks for your input. I did see uncapped larvae and the capped brood weren't drones. Also, there was no velcro action going on. I'm going to keep an eye on this hive. It may be that I end up replacing the queen.

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