May 11 – Smith Educational Bee Apiary Update
I am happy to report that the swarm we captured has taken thus far in our new Apiary Top Bar Hive. By next week I will allow you to remove the observation window and view the spectacular natural cone building by our wonderful bees. I believe this swarm may have come from one of our hives at the apiary…either Sean or Andy’s hive. Both appeared strong enough to sustain such an event. My observations today could not determine which hive may have swarmed as both are still plenty strong. If your hive swarmed, the bad news is you lost 50% of your bees. The good news is you have a brand new young queen. I suggest you both do a hive inspection and perhaps you can determine if this event was in fact one that affected your hive.
Sandy spotted unusual behavior in Keli’s hive. I immediately dropped what I was doing and rushed over. Sure enough, as I suspected, the screen on top of the feeder was not in the proper position and we had about 300+ drowned bees. We were quickly able to correct the situation, cleaning her feeder, refilling with fresh sugar water, and installing the screen properly. The drowned bees were not just hers, but were other bees robbing from the feeder as well. We must all be careful that when we are feeding bees that we install the top screen is placed in such away that there is no entry available to them. I am so proud that this year’s students are so enthusiastic about their learning. Spotting this situation by a newbie shows just how serious you are taking the art of becoming a bee sustainers.
At the Apiary, everyone is responsible for their hive and should not work or assist other hives without permission from the owner and/or me. There will be times you are away and will need assistance and this is fine. Now obviously there are emergency situations, like you find a hive pushed over, that requires immediate response. In order to save the hive it must be put back together immediately. The bottom line is we need to communicate with each other. For those of you who are keeping your hives at your home, the expectation is that you will visit and observe the hives at the Apiary from time to time.
Also, The idea has been brought forward that we have some evenings from time to time where we gather aa a group and share what we are learning as well as a chance to ask questions, etc. I think this is an excellent idea and plan to perhaps have some of these at my home or perhaps ask Irene if we can have the coffee shop on an evening from time to time. What are your thoughts on this matter.
Today I also met with Bobby and Melanie to do a complete hive inspection of their hive. While we never spotted Queen Estella, we KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt she is hard at work. With the exception of the two end frames, she has complete filled the deep box slap full of brood! The girls have also filled the top medium 40% full of nectar (soon to become capped honey). With this in mind we have taken the top feeder off their hive and also removed the hive entrance restrictor. We have also done this for Sandy’s hive as well for the same reasons.