Thursday, May 29, 2008

Busy Bees

Well, I didn't get to checking the bees right at a week, as were busy and then a couple of rainy days, so I did get them checked at about day 12 or 13. The Italian bees seem to be living up to their reputation. They are known for being good comb producers and quick colony growers. When you first hive the bees, you leave one of the ten frames out of the hive to have a space for the queen cage to hang. When you check them that first time you take the cage out and replace that space with the tenth frame. This can be tricky, because bees make comb where ever there is space. Our bees, since we had given them a few extra days, had built a lot of what is called burr, natural, wild or brace comb--comb they made in the space. I got this all off of the frames and we all got to sample the sweet nectar and the pollen that was on some of it, delicious! It is true for us for some reason, the hardest part of bee keeping this far has been lighting the use the smoker to calm the bees as you approach and open the hive. They either gorge on honey and don't mind you because the smoke makes them think a forest fire is near and they might have to move, or the smoke masks the pheremones they send to communicate danger.....either way it works, once you get it working! Here is Alex blowing smoke rings:).
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