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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Mr. Eggman Has Arrived!

With the advent of summer vacation, a lot of friends want to visit the bees, so I've had to split my inspections over multiple days. Although I'd rather get them all done at once, most little kids don't have the ability to look through more than a couple nucs without overheating.

Lots of helpers last week
More new beeks this week -- they should've switched suits, but they liked wearing them like this. Kids.

For my last inspection, I put together a table regarding queen status. Here is an update.
HTML Tables
Date ColonySpotted Queen? Eggs? Other
6/26 PersephoneYesYes Full of honey, but a lot of it has crystallized. Commercial beeks in my state are saying that they're seeing the same thing. The working hypothesis is that we had a late freeze that killed off a lot of flower buds & whatever it is that usually keeps our spring honey liquid didn't bloom this year.
6/26 Elsa Yes Yes Completely full, but still refuses to swarm.

Donated 2 bars of brood to Celestia.

Removed another 2 bars of nectar and gave them to another colony to ripen
6/26 Austeja Yes. The bees were far less agitated and runny than last week. However, I don't think they used the swarm cells I gave them since those cells had been torn down. Yes Gave them lots of space. Will probably not inspect these for another couple of weeks.
6/26 Hippolyte No, but at least one swarm cells I gave them had been pierced through the side, so I suspect they have a queen. Couldn't
tell. Didn't notice any young larvae either
If they let one of those swarm cells emerge, I could've expected a queen to emerge June 27 and be laying by July 7 (+/- 5 days).

However, it looks like they already had a queen, so if I don't see eggs by next week, I'll come up with a plan, then.

Took a bar of honey to make some room.
6/25 Buttercup Yes Yes
6/25 Peach Yes Yes
6/25 Celestia No No She should have begun laying by June 22 (+/- 5 days -- bringing that to 6/27).

As a precautionary measure, I gave her 2 bars of eggs/young larvae from Elsa. Monday or Tuesday, I'll go in and check for queen cells. If I see them, I'll remove the oldest ones in order to select for a better queen.

Crystallized honey from Persephone

Some crossed comb in Persephone. This is why I like wedged bars better.
Flat bars don't always encourage them to build straight -- even when placed between 2 straight, full bars of comb.

A big beautiful blonde

Another beautiful blonde
My daughter's favorite job -- crushing honey

Now that my bout of egg paranoia is over (Thanks to Don of Buddha & the Bees for that psychiatric diagnosis ;-)), my biggest annoyance now is that all my hives are full of comb, but none of the honey has been ripened. Since they're all full, I can't move comb from one hive to another to finish off. At this point, I have to either 1) make more splits or 2) hope they ripen some honey soon for harvest before they getting swarmy again. (#FirstWorldBeekeepingProblems) My fingers are crossed for option 2.
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7 comments:

  1. Yay for the Eggman! "So many little eggies!" I'm hoping that option 2 happens and you'll need a wheelbarrow to cart off all that honey!

    Those are some cute little helpers you've got there! So fun that you can introduce them to your bees and that they are into it. Those suits do get hot - I'm trying to figure out an alternative for my little helper.

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    1. A wheelbarrow for honey! Wheeee! Now there's an idea!

      Yeah, I've been looking for a cooler/more lightweight options for kids, too. While thick fabric helps prevent stingers penetrating flesh, it's hot. The main thing just seems to be having space between the fabric & skin. I wonder if it's possible to get a tyvek paintsuit (or if that's even breathable) in pint sizes.

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    2. I wear nylon hiking pants and a breathable long sleeved hiking shirt with a veil. I'm thinking that maybe that would work for the kids also - really the veil is the most important point. I haven't had them sting through these clothes (yet) although I've been stung through my heavy cotton suit in the past. And, I don't have the beasts in my yard! I think you are right - if they are baggy enough, that's also a defense against the stings - no metro or yoga pants! ;-)

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  2. Julie, have you looked at bugbaffler.com? They've got some kid-sized clothing.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that site!!! Those cover-ups are brilliant! I might even want them for me -- they look way more comfortable than a jacket. Have you tried them yourself? Do you know if they work against bee stings?

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    2. I spent a small fortune on an UltraBreeze so, no, I have not tried a bug baffler myself. A trusted source, Rusty over at HoneyBeeSuite, included them on one of her gift guides for beekeepers. Scroll down to #7 where she writes, "…the Bug Baffler is made of fine, durable netting and is extremely honey bee-resistant." http://honeybeesuite.com/holiday-gifts-for-beekeepers/

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    3. Awesome, thanks again. Although I have several bee jackets lying around, I like the idea of the BugBaffler. It's pretty affordable, and it would be good for my husband to wear when he's just out and about in the garden & the bees are testy. He's allergic to bee stings (though he's not as allergic as you & does not require an epipen), and the girls hate him. Sad to say, he's a sting magnet. The BugBaffler looks perfect for him.

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Thank you for your comment! I can't wait to hear what you think!