Back in Beesness
The package which replaced the first one has fared MUCH better. On instruction from Laura (my bee dealer) I confined them in the hive for two days, and then gave them a tiny entrance starting the third day. They have been eating their syrup like good little bees, and carrying in pollen of many colors.
I opened the top of the hive, and things look pretty good. There were a decent number of bees on top of the frames, but they ducked inside when I smoked them. The space where the queen cage was hanging made a little wider gap between frames, and the bees decided that it needed another row.
I looked through the frames one by one. I removed the queen’s empty cage, and checked on the bees’ work.
The bees have been hard at work drawing comb, gathering pollen and nectar.
“Noooo… you can’t take the honey! Noooo!!”
Unfortunately, the piece of freestanding comb was joined to two separate frames, so it came apart when I lifted them out. I’m not sure if I should take it out, or leave it in.
All the different shades of pollen show up really nicely against the fresh new wax.
And I’m not sure if I’m seeing little eggs here, or if this is just reflections. It’s pretty close to the right look for eggs, but I couldn’t get the camera to focus in deep enough. For reference, what I’m looking for is like this.
This package had a bunch of these pale, golden-blond bees. I think they may just be very young. You can see that they’ve put up a huge amount of “honey” – I think it may be the sugar syrup that I’ve been feeding them, as it’s completely clear.
Those look like eggs to me. It is kind of hard to tell because of the focus and light, but they’re about where you would expect to see them, and are a bit too egglike for reflections.
Also, you do want to break off that burr comb; it’ll be a mess when they fill it with honey if you don’t. At this time of year, there’s enough nectar flowing that they can fix it quickly and easily. (You can put the comb outside the entrance or somewhere inside the hive where it won’t get reattached, and they will reuse it.)
My you have been busy. So many new things to read about, the garden and chicks and bees are looking great. Looking forward to seeing everything grow.
Have you started talking to the bees yet? There is an old English folk tradition that says bee keepers have to talk to their bees giving them all the news from the village and the family.