So for the second year in a row, an Eastern bluebird has decided to build her nest on top of the bird house at my parent's residence. That's right, on top! The bird house is attached to a pole under the metal awning that covers their basement door, and evidently it is just too cramped inside. So what does she decide to do? The next best thing...just build it on the roof. Honestly she is too big to go inside anyway, but since it is 7-feet off the ground and inaccessible to cats, she's pretty safe there. The problem is she is easily frightened. If you get within 20-feet of the nest, she flies away. I tried to wait her out and get a picture of her sitting on the nest, but she didn't come back, so I put the camera over the nest and snapped a picture of three eggs in the nest. As you can see, she has three beautiful eggs that she's tending. My dad says that she always comes back when the coast is clear. I'm going to keep a check to see when the babies hatch and maybe get a picture of them too.
And now the bees. Today was a nice, sunny, balmy 90-degrees with the humidity at over 60%! Yeah, we've gone from a hard winter to early summer, back to spring, and now back to summer..and its just the beginning of May. When I got home from dinner, I noticed a dark blob on the front of my hive, and when I checked it out, I found the ladies were having a front porch social. They were fanning so much that I could hear them while standing away from the hive -- it sounded like a fan running on low speed. While some might think this sight is unusual, actually it is the bee's way of keeping the hive cool since some of the bees come outside and avoid the congestion inside. This hive has a screened bottom board to aid in air circulation and pest management, and the inner cover has an air notch too. I have a feeling that I'll see lots of this throughout the next few months since I have a feeling it will be a long, hot summer.
In other news, the Busy Bee Apiary told me that their new queens won't be ready for pick-up for another couple of weeks. Meanwhile, I plan to break this hive down and look for queen cells, and if I find some, I plan to go ahead and split it. If I don't find any queen cells, I plan to put a queen excluder between the boxes in about a week -- that way I can corral the reigning queen and not move her in the transfer of frames to the new hive. That tip was given to me by beekeeping guru, Richard Underhill of the Peace Bee Farm. Then all I'll have to do is transfer the frames, wait for 24 hours so the new hive will realize its queenless, then I'll introduce the new queen in her cage. That method should make it easier for the new packaged queen to be accepted. I just hope I don't goof it up and do something wrong. I've practiced it over and over again in my head. Now if all will go according to plan, everything will be fine!
I'll update everyone when I do my inspection to let you know what's shaking.
Until next time everyone, BEE happy!