Monday, May 11, 2015

HAPPY BEES HAPPY BEEKEEPER


So this weekend was bee checking time.  I always love walking up to the beehives, because I come at them from the back (their openings face SE per most beekeeping advice) and I always like how pretty and peaceful they look sitting there in the sunlight.

English garden hives
So a good sign of a healthy hive, or at least one that is producing "brood" (larvae/babies), is when the returned forager bees are loaded up with pollen on their pollen sacs or pollen baskets as they are called.  They mix this with nectar and/or honey to create 'bee bread' which then becomes the primary source of protein for the hive.  

Pollen sacs on bees
They were all coming in one after another full of pollen!  YAY!  Both hives too.  So there is good stuff going on inside.  Last week I was worried when I saw a few ants trying to get into Ariadne hive.  I had read that most times, if it's not a large infestation, the bees will take care of it themselves...  


...sure enough, they did.  Not an ant in sight.  Here they are just going in and out on a flight path, they almost needed an air traffic controller to manage it.

Honeybee with pollen sacs in flight
And finally, I just had to share a picture of this lady returning to Persephone hive, all loaded up with pollen, and her little shadow below.  Pretty cool!

So the bees are happy and that means we're happy.  So far, our beekeeping adventure is progressing as it should.  Next weekend, weather permitting, I will open it to check on the overall health of each hive.  Hope to see lots of comb being built and babies in various stages of development and maybe even some honey being capped off.  

27 comments:

Daphne Gould said...

My husband and I were watching Elementary the other day. It has bees in the show. My husband turned to me and said "No Bees!". He knew I was thinking it.

rheather said...

I've been thinking about getting started in beekeeping, so I like hearing about your bee adventures. So today I read this http://www.naturalbeekeepingtrust.org/Bee-centred-vs-conventional-beekeeping and headed over here to show you. And there's another bee post! How cool!
(And I'm not suggesting that the article is 'the only way'. Just that there are so many varients-probably why I haven't gotten started yet!)

Texas Rose said...

I’m so glad that everything is buzzing along as it should in your bee realm! Great job, Beekeeper!
That’s a lovely picture of your hives among the mesquite trees. I can almost hear their peaceful hum. And a beautiful picture of the bee with pollen and her shadow - awesome shot!

DFW said...

So glad things are going well in the bee department. That last picture is really neat!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

what amazing creatures!

Colleen said...

I enjoy seeing your updates on your bees. Looks like everything is going well with them

Gail said...

Because of the great loss of bees from pesticides, natural enemies and disease we all need to keep bees for the continued pollination of plants.

Thank you for doing this.

Rose ~ from Oz said...

I've been wondering how the beekeeping is going! Love the title of the post because from experience it is soooo true! My bees became so used to me and my ahem (smell) I never once got stung. :) Can't wait for your first honey-harvest!

Elephant's Child said...

Wonderful. And I love the shots of those laden baskets.

Tonya @ My Cozy Little Farmhouse said...

Great photos! What is the mason jar used for on the hive? I tried to go through the older posts but I must have missed something. Not to be (haha bee) a pain in the rear, but (haha, butt) ...I apparently have a 12 yr old boy's sense of humor...could you include links to some of the older, related posts when you write the the checking of the hive this coming weekend, which explains some of the parts/ stuff?

1st Man said...

LOL, I saw the commercial for that and was going to watch it but totally forgot. I'll have to watch for it on demand. Too funny!! I hope it doesn't scare me off, ha.

1st Man said...

I can honestly say I'm a total newbie (new-bee?) and so I'm learning as I go along. Thank you for sharing the link, some great info there. I will do some studying of that. Thanks!! And I hope you'll try sometime!

1st Man said...

I like that, things are 'buzzing along'. So true!! There IS a hum. It's so cool. Yep, they are situated between two mesquites, now i just need some flowers around. Isn't the shadow cool? I thought it was neat you can see her antennae in the shadow too. ;-)

1st Man said...

Thanks, yep, going well and I do love the shadow picture too. Thanks for stopping by!!!

1st Man said...

They truly are amazing and the more we observe and watch and learn, the more amazing they become. Thanks!!

1st Man said...

Thanks, yep they are going well, so far so good!!

1st Man said...

Aw, thanks for that. Yes, the loss of bees is such a major problem. It's kind of scary that they are dying in such large numbers. All that we can bring back into the world is a good thing. Thanks!!

1st Man said...

Thank you...hey, I understand about the 'ahem, smell' thing, have read that in a few books too. I hope I get there someday. Honey harvest! I can't wait either. I should probably start learning about that soon, so I'm ready when the time comes!

1st Man said...

Thank you of that. I love the name baskets instead of sacs, don't you? :-)

Thanks again!!!

1st Man said...

Hey there! I will do that, thanks, I tried to do it a few times and forgot. I will make sure I include links. The mason jar is part of what is called a "boardman feeder". You supply your own jar and they make the lid (perforated with tiny holes) and the bottom part of the feeder...the bees can fly under (on the inside) and get the sugar water as it drips out. It's a way to keep the bees "in" while they are adapting to their new environment. I've stopped feeding them though and this weekend will remove the feeder and see how they do.

Thanks!!

Midnite Baker said...

Love the last picture of the bee and its shadow loaded with pollen for the colony. Have a great week. M

Sandy said...

1st Man,

It's very apparent your bee's are working and returning with pollen. Here's to a very large 1st time honey harvest!!!

Bonnie said...

I can stand for hours and hours watching my hives. The pollen baskets range from bright red to pale yellow this week. We have capped honey already. It's such a fun hobby.

1st Man said...

I thought that was too neat not to share. Thanks!!! Good week to you too!!

1st Man said...

From your lips to the 'queens' ears, LOL. Thanks!! And stay safe!!! (she's in Oklahoma, where some crazy weather has been happening)

1st Man said...

I think I could have done that too (and probably should, take time to stop and watch the bees). I didn't know that about the pollen baskets, that's cool. I will watch for other colors. Capped honey? Yay for you! I will do some detailed checking this weekend (weather permitting).

Leigh said...

Fantastic photos. Looks like you have lots of lovely pollen to be collected. And beautiful bees! They are Buckfast? Every detail about bees is fascinating.