I went outside this morning to enjoy the weather and noticed a strange buzzing coming from the leaves on either side of the yard. I went to investigate to find that there were honey bees flying in and out of the leaves all over the place! It turns out that they were diving in to the leaves in search of clean water, as the water out by the hives had dried up. I’m not sure how, as it rained very heavy just a few days ago, but I guess these gals are thirsty!
This is honestly the first time I’ve heard of this, but it sorta makes a bit of sense I guess considering that some beekeepers spend lots of money to have queens that are bred with certain traits.
Though your typical usual run-of-the-mill swarm off a tree doesnt have a great probability of having one of that particular beekeeper’s queens in it. I guess if he can confirm that it’s his queen (many beekeepers mark their queens with a dot of nontoxic permanent paint to find them easier and remember how old they are) then I’d understand him wanting it back. Otherwise I say he’s just being mean and taking an obviously strong queen from another keeper of the bees.
If someone comes up to a swarm you’re picking up and says that those are their bees, you can rest assured that they are prooooobably just trying to get some easy bees off of you. (Unless you live very close to a large-scale apiary. They send to have massive swarming seasons when they aren’t properly managed, even otherwise they send out maaaaany swarms that they will often want to round up and bring back home asap.)
It was a wonderful warm sunny day today so I decided to un-wrap the hives on the stand. Apparently the recent rains forced some new ant colonies from the ground and they, too, thought that the nice dry warm hives were a great place to set up camp. They seem to be isolated to the lids of the hives, in the gap between the metal and the wood, or inside the cracks in the wood as seen on that green nuc. I still don’t trust it though. Ants are pesky things for bees, because they’re too small for them to manage effectively.
Another interesting thing that I noticed was that at some point, the bees from the middle (largest) hive decided that the space between hives was nice and comfy to stay in and started to place down some spare wax! It would be very interesting to unwrap them for good come spring to find an extension on the hive growing on the OUTSIDE!
The long hive is PACKED to the brim with bees and babies and nectar! They even started building a little comb again but I sadly had to pull it down because it was across combs. I flipped around the frame it was on to discourage re-building there.
The other hives are full to bursting with bees and babies, but don’t seem to have a ton of honey/nectar inside. I really hope there’s a big nectar flow before it gets cold again.
Don’t forget to water your bees this hot and dry season!
While bees do need nectar and pollen to survive and grow, many people don’t seem to realize that they also need a source of clean water! Bees get very hot in the summer time and get thirsty just like us. They also use the water to cool down the hive by fanning at the entrance and inside it evaporating water. They use this to regulate internal humidity in the hive as well.
A cheap and effective method of supplying water to your local babees is to take one of those large plastic to-go containers and punch holes around the brim just on the edge where the lid overlaps. If you put the holes too low, the water will go everywhere. If you put them too close to the edge, not enough water will come out. Just fill it almost completely with water, cap it up, and turn it over outside and the little rim will fill with water. This design will also self-replinish as the bees drink the water, and will prevent larger animals from getting in to it. It also has the added bonus of preventing mosquitoes from breeding in it which is a super nice bonus to me.