Sunday, April 12, 2009

Gorgeous weather, perfect timing.

Until this weekend, the bees were causing some anxiety. Were we going to lose everything? Would they stay? How many more dead bees are we going to see here? They were put into the hive on Wednesday, and Thursday and Friday (besides me being at work during the day) were cool and overcast.

Friday after I got home from work we popped the hive cover off to check on their food & to remove the Queen cage. We didn't see the cage - it had been hooked on to one of the frames, but it was no where to be found. We moved the frames slowly to the side, and I was interested to see the bees making "bridges". One bee on one frame, the other bee on the other frame, and they seemed to have their legs locked together. It was odd, and something I hadn't seen in the books. I didn't get a photo, my digital camera is on its last legs.

The can of syrup was low, but not empty. We had already mixed up a mason jar full with holes punched into the top and we added that to the top of the cover. The can we set off to the side, tilted to allow the bees access. We're providing plenty of food for them to give an advantage to pulling out the comb until they start getting more interested in flying out for their sugar.

Saturday morning I went out to water the garden. The bees were up before me, and I watched them leave the hive, do lazy spirals in the air, and then head back in. A few flew off in an unhurried way. The hive seemed pleasantly active. The garden is doing great. Peppers were planted on Friday, they are taking well. No cucumbers sprouting yet, arugula is thriving, but the kale is still struggling. Spent some time untangling the peas from the beets and back onto the trellis. Silly peas!

Noticed the fountain keeps running low. Wondered if the local raccoons are splashing out the water, and refilled it. On Sunday morning it was bone dry. Raccoons were really ruled out when I looked around the fountain. The tiny lemon balms I'd transplanted a few weeks ago were undisturbed. The fountain must have a leak of some kind. :( Need to figure out if there's some way I can seal it. There's no obvious flaws in the base. It's a lovely fountain, so I'm not ready to just lose it.

Opened the cover of the hive on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, and the sugar syrup was still pretty full. We know we need to watch it for mold and fermentation. Both times the hive was buzzing away. It sounded like a smooth engine running, or a loud cat purr. Very impressive!

We're leaving the bees alone until Thursday at the earliest. Give them a week to get settled, hopefully draw some comb out and who knows, maybe we'll see some eggs next weekend!

Took about a five mile hike at Russian Ridge today. Lots of lupines and poppy's blooming. Saw a hawk lazily riding the thermals, heard a woodpecker tapping away, but didn't see them. Packed a couple of sandwiches, and we sat in a meadow at the end of one of the trails and just looked over the hills. Saw a lot of bees - large black ones, and smaller and thinner ones.

The beautiful weather, the busy bees, the breathtaking views... I'm feeling very content tonight.


  1. Wow, sounds like I need to get my own smoker. I haven't touched the hive since Thursday, only watched it. For some reason, I thought it was supposed to be left to 'just be' for a few days, but after reading what you've done, I'm getting anxious. Will be ordering another smoker so I can do my own inspections. Thanks for the update, glad they're doing okay.

  2. Oh, just so you know, when I checked the sugar syrup I didn't use the smoker. I was wearing my street clothes, and just lifted the telescoping cover by about an inch, peeked in, and quickly (but careful of the bees!) set it back down again.

    I haven't disturbed the brood super. That's being left alone for at least a week, maybe longer. Each time the hive is opened it will delay the bees from laying comb & raising brood.