Saturday, January 16, 2010

A peek under the cover on a warm winter's day!

We've finally gotten a break from the frigid weather, thank goodness! The temperatures for the last couple of days have been more like spring than winter. On Friday, the temperature actually made it up to an almost balmy 61-degrees here. And while I'm loving it, I know that I shouldn't get too comfortable with it since it will turn cold again within the next few days. My wish is that we can ride out the rest of this winter with moderate weather and get out of this pattern that seems to be more suited for northern climates.

I took a peek outside just after lunch and found my girls flying all around the yard. While they would cover the entrance in spells it seemed, for the most part, they were flying everywhere. I noticed them flying by my kitchen window, through the mid-part of my yard, and all around the hive. Some would come out and spiral round and round and then take off in all different directions. So I figured this would be a great time to take a short peek inside the hive.

Without smoke, just my veil, I took the top off the hive and looked at the inner cover. Check out who was looking back. The top deep had girls all on the tops of the frames walking around and being busy. I figured that the intrusion would illicit a response, maybe flying out at me from the hole in the inner cover. But nary a bee seemed to be concerned with me at all. I was in a slight hurry and didn't take the inner cover off the chamber. Since everything looked fine, at least from this angle, I decided to leave them alone. The next warm day I'll go out and check a few of the frames to see how their honey is holding out and if I see any hive beetles lurking around. But for a quick peek, they looked fine. I closed up shop and put the bricks back on top of the hive so the wind won't blow the cover off.

If you click the first picture, you can see the bee at the top with her legs covered with pollen. Well here's another. Check her out as she landed on the hive stand. I have no clue where they found this pollen. I read on the Town Bees blog in Raleigh, North Carolina, that the dandelions were blooming there. So maybe my girls hit dandelion gold somewhere. I've checked my yard and haven't seen the first one yet, but maybe my neighbors have some.

Here you see a larger version of the same picture. She was just one of several that had pollen in her sacs as she made it back home. While they're a heck-of-a-lot smarter than me and know where their essentials can be found, I still think I'm going to scatter some powdered Mega Bee across their frames when I check the hive in a few days. And I'm toying with the idea of buying some Honey-B-Healthy for when I split this hive in a few months. While I have mixed emotions about the true usefulness of Honey-B-Healthy, it may not hurt since it has essential oils that helps the bees. We'll see.

So as you can see, all looks pretty good with my colony as of now. They seem to have fared well in this blast of wintry weather, and I think they're probably like me -- ready to get this blasted winter over with.

In other news; a co-worker asked if I would be interested in some bees in the chimney of a house that's 10-miles away in the city of Eden. The house belongs to a friend of his and he said that in the last few weeks, the bees will fly out of the entrance hole on warmer days. I told him I was ill-prepared to take a honey bee colony out of walls or masonary, but I would love to see them anyway. And get this, a man that runs a health food business in the same area told me that he has a colony living in the wall of his store..and I am welcome to take them if I can get to them. Unfortunately they're in a brick wall, down in a fire wall, between neighboring downtown businesses. 

Isn't it amazing that when people find out you're a beekeeper, they really want to give you the business? Maybe my very first swarm catch will be a little easier, maybe a low tree or some lawn furniture.


  1. Hi Mark. Another great post. Your bees are going to be going like gangbusters by March. That's going to be one productive hive!

    I'm with you on the Honey-B-Healthy. I don't know anyone who uses it, but it's highly touted in some of the books I've read. I know it's expensive but I may look into it, also.

    Thank goodness our weather has also moderated a bit. My bees have been flying like mad for the past 2 days. If I remember correctly the bees in Walter started bringing in pollen last year in February. Amazing little insects aren't they!

  2. You have pollen! What perfect timing for egg laying. Now if only it would stay warm.

  3. If you ever want someone to help tear down someones wall or chimney, I could lend a hand! It would be a good excuse for me to finish my beevac.

  4. Lynn: Yes, amazing they are! I was a little surprised about the pollen. I was out today again and they were bringing it in like crazy, some with small amounts, some like the one in the picture. I'm so glad the temps settled down some. I'm a little apprehensive that it might turn off really cold again. Maybe the worst of the worst is over. Fingers crossed!

    Polar: Yessir, I wondered if this will perk up the queen and get her laying. I hope that she will keep this colony going through the next mont or so. The numbers seem good now, hope they stay there.

    Jared: I don't know if the guy I work with really knows what he's talking about, but if he's right, they must be honey bees. I may have to ride over there one day and take a look and see if I can spy them. Of course the ones in the firewall would be a lost cause because of the sturdiness of the masonary. The other one that my co-worker told me about could possibly be a candidate for a trap out though. I could have had a bee tree in Danville back in September. A storm pushed the tree over on a house and it was full of honey bees and honeycomb. Unfortunately the utility had to kill the bees to clear the mess out of the yard. Sad.



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