Today’s Bee View

I will admit that opening up a hive of bees is a bit nerve-wracking, even if it is a user-friendly Top Bar Hive that exposes you to fewer bees. Since I got my bees in May, I’ve been working on my amateur “technique”; with some practice, I’ve gotten better at moving slowly and calmly when I open up the hive, and as a result, there are hardly any bee fatalities. Squashing bees is a risk. And a squashed bee emits a pheromone that other bees smell and, appropriately, find alarming.And that just makes for a more escalated and less pleasant experience, for both bee and human.

Today when I looked at my bees I brought my camera. Last time I looked, 2 weeks ago, I found some greenish worm-looking things about 3/4 of an inch long, which I assumed were wax moth larvae: YUCK.  Most of them were in the unused portion of my hive. At that time, I noticed that I’d neglected to seal a few parts of the hive. Which would make it easy for a moth to get inside. So I sealed up those cracks, and today saw no evidence of anything that shouldn’t be there. Thankfully. I hope I’m not wrong and that my bees will be strong enough to put the kibosh on any wax moth intrusions.

Then, I didn’t bring my camera because I didn’t think I could feel comfortable taking photos as I worked; but, as it turns out, it’s not that hard.

This is the inside of the hive, as it looked this morning:

All the bars to the left of the opening are full of comb, except for a few empty bars I put in to help expand the hive further to the right. You can see on the very first bar to the left that the bees are starting to build a new row of comb; it’s the small white shape, and soon it will be built all the way down to the bottom of the hive.

But, to my dismay I noticed that this was new comb being built to….replace the honey-saturated comb that fell to the bottom of the hive!!

Looking more closely above, you can see the thin strip of beeswax along the bar, indicating the place from where comb once was suspended.

And, above, you can see all the comb on the bottom. Here’s a close-up of that fallen comb, with the properly suspended comb on the left:

I carefully removed the fallen comb and brushed the bees (with a soft paint brush) back into the hive. I think there are a few small bits of comb left in there, but this is most of it:

Maybe it fell because it’s so hot; supposedly new comb doesn’t have time to “mature” and is more likely to fall when full of the weight of honey and/or brood. I dunno. I’m going to look into it, though, and get some answers! Hopefully there’s something I can do to keep this from happening in the future.

7 thoughts on “Today’s Bee View

  1. How are you Clare ; What are you going to do with the Bees when you go to Newfoundland? How long can you leave them unattended or do you have someone to look after them while your away? Speaking about Newfoundland, the weather back there has been very cold this spring. They haven’t had many days when the temperature has been above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer officially starts next week so lets hope the temperature will warm up in the 70’s at least. One night last week the forecast was calling for frost in the centre of the Province. Any way that is enough about that subject. There is nothing we can do about it.. We can complain all we like but it will do no good. What ever will be will be.
    Good luck with your bees and be careful . We’ll see you in August on the Rock. Until then take care and God Bless you.

    • Denis,

      The bees are just fine unattended for prolonged periods of time, once they’re established. I just got these bees in May, so I’ve been checking on them every few weeks as they’ve gotten started to check that they aren’t building cross-comb and to add new bars to the hive to help them have room to expand. All they need while I’m away is for someone (my kind neighbor!) to make sure they have clean water nearby. I’m only going to be gone for 12 days; since it’ll take me 2 days to travel either direction, that gives me 10 days in NFLD!

      I’m really looking forward to my trip. Since I’m a light-weight from Arizona, I’ll be taking my winter coat; I’m not kidding! I’ll have 5 days in NFLD after the Come Home Year, maybe I’ll have time to visit with all the new friends I make. We’ll see!

      See you the Rock, as you say. I just hope I’ll have some tolerance for the screech…….

  2. Claire;
    You said that you hope that you can handle the Screech. Well I wouldn’t worry too much about that. You’ll be lucky if you even see Screech. I don’t think that many people drink it any more. It doesn’t taste as bad as everyone says it does. It is a dark Jamaican Rum, so if you don’t have a taste for dark rum then you will not like it. Personally I don’t like it but then I don’t like any kind of rum. I mostally have a light beer or a Vodka and Orange juice.
    You said that you are going to bring your winter coat. The winter coat that you wear down in Arizona will probably be a summer coat in Newfoundland. The temperature very seldom gets in the 80’s because there is always a breeze blowing.
    Is your Aunt from NL. If she is she can tell you what the summers are like . The weather may not be a warm as B.C. or Arizona but the warm and friendly peoples smiles and friendship will compensate for the cooler temperatures. I can guarantee you that you will have a great vacation and will not want to leave. Don’t forget to bring your musical instruments. There is sure to be a kitchen party were you will be asked to play along with the other people or play on your own. We’ll see you there in August. Until then take care and be careful when handling the bees

    Denis

    • Denis–

      Yes, my aunt Mary Stewart is from Newfoundland; and, I believe the house where she was born still stands. She has photos of it and she’s been up to Port Kirwan before. I was just really joking about the screech. Vodka does sound safer! I’m not joking about my winter coat though: I’m most definitely bringing it. I’m looking forward to some kitchen sessions and dances; the kitchen music is always the best, that is very traditional. I can get a few sad sounds out of the button box, which is good for a laugh, but I’m better at the fiddle and I’m sure many of the Irish fiddle tunes I know and love are played up there in NL. We’re going to have a great time!

      Clare

      • Hello Clare;
        You said that your Aunt Mary was born in Port Kirwan and that the old house is still standing today. What was her maiden name?
        The house that I grew up in was sold 2 years ago to a Dr. who is from St. John’s but now lives in the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S.A…She bought the house and then had it torn down. Why she even bought it I do not understand Your cousin Pat Aylward wanted to buy the house and turn it in to a rental for the summer months. In 1991 when my Mother (RIP) passed away ,I sold the house to my cousin. When he died in 2008, I think that the house went up on Auction with sealed bids. I don’t know how much it went for but Pat told my wife that he had put in a bid for over $30,000.00 . So it must have been over that amount. Why anyone would pay$ 30,000.00 for a piece of property in Port Kirwan is beyond my imagination. Plus she had to pay to have the old house demolished. For that kind of money you can buy enough property to build30 houses. Anyway it’s too bad that Pat didn’t get it because I was sorry to see it torn down. It still had sentimental memories for me.
        Don’t forget to bring the squeeze box(accordion) and your fiddle. and your winter coat sweaters. You will be coming from high 90’s to low 100 and down there we will be lucky to get it in the high 70’s There is always wind blowing of the cold Atlantic Ocean.But as I said before the warm hearts of the people will keep you warm. I am sure we will all have a great time and won’t want to leave. You are only going for 10 days.I am going for 5 weeks. We will see you in about 6 weeks . Until then take care and don’t get sun stroked with that Hot Tuscon Arizona Sun.

        Respectfully;
        Denis

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