Sunday, May 19, 2013

Checking Out the Bees and Naming Our Queens

Last Friday was our first real examination of the colonies since they arrived and it was thrilling!

When we opened the first hive which is made up of two medium boxes (supers) there were bees all over the top box so they've begun building comb in the upper box. In the bottom the queen had laid plenty of brood and some was capped and some was uncapped but filled with little curled up larva. Go, queen! We saw her walking around with her court.

We've decided to name our two queens after Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton since she was a mom of four and a spiritual mom of hundreds of girls over the years. Seems appropriate since the bees are mostly girls. She also opened the first Catholic orphanage in the United States. So our two queens are Elizabeth and Ann.

The second box, Queen Ann's domain, saw little activity in the upper super because the bottom is a deep. So they still have plenty of room for everything they're doing. We'll be checking up again within the next few days accompanied by our mentor, Gordon, who is the bee expert!

And I'm happy to say that I was all wet about seeing mites. I was looking at the circular markings on the bees and once I got a closer look, I could see that's all they were. So the bees are busy, collecting nectar (It's locust tree time and they love it!), and pollen (I could see the pollen sacks very clearly on one of the bees.), cleaning out the cells where brood has hatched, feeding the baby bees, etc. It's pretty clear where the saying "busy as bees" comes from!

examining a frame with brood and lots of bees

Notice the little girl in the lower right center with the white pollen.
She has two full pockets. Good work, girl!

Larry with one of our tools, a smoker, used to calm the bees.

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