Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Long live the Queen

After giving the bees time to unpack and settle into their new abode, it was time for a roll call and inspection of their quarters. And for the record, I did not make them stand at attention but I did try to bounce a quarter off a few of their beds, 'cause I've always wanted to do that.
After days and days of this view, my trepidation of actually snooping around inside grew just as much as I hoped the colony was growing. They've been drinking, on average, a mason jar full of sugar water each day while still bringing in pollen. 

There is always a flurry of activity at the hive entrance. I still have an entrance reducer in place, reducing the size of the entrance which in turn lends a helping hand to the bees by providing a smaller area to protect from robber bees. Because they are a small colony, often referred to as a 'nuc', of approximately 10,000 bees, they are considered weak which makes it more difficult to protect their hive. 
There was some burr comb built up inside the top of the inner cover which I've read can be scraped off and saved for future use in candles or cosmetics. 
Inside the hive, there was a flurry of activity. No kidding. Perhaps the smoker did the trick, but the bees were not aggressive; most of them continued working while simply ignoring my presence. Many of the workers were cleaning cells, their heads stuck in a cell. It gave new meaning to the saying 'she's got her head stuck in the sand'. I might just start saying 'she's got her head stuck in the comb'. Remember...you heard it here first.

Speaking of comb, the next two outer frames from the original four were full of new comb and the next outer frame was a sight for sore eyes.
Honey! 
Uncapped honey was dripping out of the cells as I inspected the frame.

Of course, the most important reason for my inspection was to ensure there was a queen still in residence and that she was laying eggs. I had some difficulty finding new eggs but there was plenty of larvae which I considered a good sign. I searched one frame after another, and one of the first things I learned was that a frame covered in bees is heavy! I looked and looked, consulted my bee guide, rested my arms and went back and looked some more. I really had my doubts about finding her when finally, the last place I looked I found her. Funny how that happened, wouldn't you say? 

She was beautiful. Long, slender, short wings and almost completely brown from head to toe. I watched her as she walked across the frame, sang God Save the Queen and gently put the frame back so I could get my camera. I went back to the same frame so I could take her photo....no, no need to scroll down....there is no photo. She is apparently camera shy or my arms are weak. I'll leave it up to you to decide.


I'm joining:


~Bee well friends!~




21 comments:

The Fairy's Apprentice said...

You are really incredible! Long live to the queen! And congratulations for your accomplishments!
Camelia

{ T G L } said...

That's really cool! :) I know *nothing* about bee-keeping so forgive my ignorance but how do you identify the queen from the worker bees?

Good luck with your new hive!

Blessings,
This Good Life

Karen said...

I love your photos!...

Jocelyn said...

I couldn't find our queen for the first three weeks. I had to take it on faith that she was there by the number of larvae in the cells. I still don't see her most of the time, but I know she's doing her job.

Good luck with your hive!

Buttons said...

Very cool phots. I like this I have never seen the workings inside the hive like this before. To bad you could not get a photo of the queen in her gown. B

misha said...

I wouldn't want the Paperazzi shooting pics of moi either. For goodness sake, she is A Queen!

I am learning so much from you, thank you! That way I will be able to help when I visit someday...or at least stand back and applaud!
LYLASS!
xo, misha

texwisgirl said...

hurray! success! :)

Deb said...

This is so interesting! Tell me, did the quarter bounce?

Dandy said...

10,000 bees is small? I love learning about all of this!

alicia said...

So fascinating and yet a little scary. Great pics!

MJ said...

Oooo this is so exciting!! You are officially now a beekeeper!! Another thing to love about you!!! I love the photos and I love their busy-ness. They truly are lovely little soldiers aren't they?
cheers to honey!!

Vintage Country Girl said...

You are awfully brave around all those bees. Really, 10,000 is a small hive. Brother!

MarieElizabeth said...

Great photos and processing, thanks for the progress update. Maybe a photo of the queen next time.

ain't for city gals said...

I have to be honest and say when I read this post I'm thinking better her than me...I just don't think I could get into this....looks like tons of work!

Flat Creek Farm said...

Hooray! It's a lovely sight to see, huh? That beautiful golden honey. You know what? hubs and I discussed the fact tonight that for the first time in y-e-a-r-s... neither one of us suffered from a cold or bad allergies last winter. Wanna know why? Honey! Or at least that's what we think. Or.. we could be stricken with the worst colds ever, like tomorrow. Hope not! But still, I think it's the honey that saved us (honey from Bee Boss, not ours.. yet)! Anyway, Fellow Bee Girl.. way to go. I am so proud of you, of us, of this whole bee/honey endeavor. It is truly a miracle!! :) -Tammy

Maura @ Lilac Lane Cottage said...

Andrea you've bee-come quite the bee-keeper! Good for you. What a wonderful thing to find healthy bees at work and most especially HONEY. You took some wonderful photo's ....as usual. Hubby and I need to read up on bee keeping...he did by the 'Dumbies Guide To Bee Keeping' though but neither of us have gotten around to reading it! Our wild colony seems to be doing well... you can see the 'wet' around the top of the corn crib door so I'm wondering if that's honey. I'm afraid I'm not going to find out though! Thanks for the wonderful information and pictures...great job! Have a great day... Maura :)

Teresa said...

How wonderful! I'm so fascinated by beekeeping, but I know nothing about it. I really enjoy learning from your posts. The pictures are amazing!

Candy C. said...

Long live the Queen! Huzzah!

Sarah Rachele said...

I love this! And I love your blog too. I am your newest follower, I hope you can swing by mine sometime. :)

Deborah Jean at Dandelion House said...

Beautifully done! You make keeping bees look so elegant! Maybe you'll catch the queen next time...
thanks for your entry to farmgirl Friday! Enjoyed it!
Deb

RC Reese said...

Very cool! This is something that I hope to get a chance to do one day. My grandfather used to raise bees, before I was born. I hope to continue the tradition too. I admit however, seems a lil scary to me as well. Do you get stung often?