Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bikes and Bees

also known as - still here!

Last weekend (June 6 & 7) we were going to open up the hive, check on the new honey supers, and see if we had a Queen that wasn't interested in laying in them (thus requiring no excluder) or if we did have eggs / larvae in the honey supers, thus requiring the addition of the excluder. It was a great plan, but unfortunately my accident prone self had other plans.

I recently acquired clip in shoes and pedals for my bike. The pedals were put on Tuesday afternoon, and I had been doing well getting used to them. My bravado got the better part of me, and Friday morning after I exited the train and rode up the ramp to the other side, gravity beat out my abilities and down I went. I wasn't badly hurt - lightly skinned right knee, sore right arm and shoulders from landing, and bruised the inside of my left knee in the perfect shape of my water bottle cage. I was impressed by the concern of the other cyclists, especially the woman that walked with me up the rest of the ramp, offering kindness. As I told her, my pride was hurt far more than anything else. ;) All the same - I was feeling a bit battered on Saturday. Which brings us back to the bees!

What I have learned is that a brood box is heavy. The airport would slap bright orange "heavy" stickers to them and charge you extra if given the chance. Take a solid eighty pounds and add a family of protective bees and it takes some solid strength to work with the bees. My general soreness had me a bit hesitant to plunge into the hives. M has also been nursing a sore elbow for months now, so between the two of us - we opted to wait for recovery.

The bees are doing great from what we can tell. A few of the bees that we've seen lately are HUGE, making me wonder if these are the drones, or if we're growing a healthy stock of big strong girls. I adore the smell of the hive - it's a mix of hot honey and sawdust.

I do appreciate that they are so close to the house in that I see the hive several times a day. I know it's not the same as checking on the hive by opening it up, but I do feel like I'm getting a sense of the daily activity of the hive. There is definitely something interesting to the hive southwest of here. It's like a freeway of bees invisible to the rest of us. I stood outside for a bit yesterday and looked off into the distance, wondering where it is they go and what they find there.

The good news is they are peaceful enough. They don't seem disturbed by the rest of us coming and going through our day. Watching the bees from the living room today I noticed a Scrub Jay sitting on the fence. It was in the flight path, and it kept moving as bees flew past. I had no idea getting bees would discourage scrub jays - bonus!

A couple of weeks ago M and I were watching a video. "A woodpecker!" he said. I was puzzled. He pointed out the window. Just visible over the top of the fence was a Nuttall's Woodpecker. It stayed for about five minutes, but the bees flying by seemed to bother it as well. What the woodpecker was doing here, I do not know! I've never seen or heard one in this neighborhood. But it was interesting to watch this little redhead.

The current bee plan is to check out the hive next weekend instead, so long as everyone is feeling spry and healthy!

Next: garden update!

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