Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hive Entry

The front door of one of our new hives is a busy place. There are bees fanning, guarding, entering, giving directions, exiting, and just cooling themselves. Sometimes you even catch them house cleaning -- removing dead bees, brood that didn't make it, or other debris.

Today is pretty warm so there are many bees fanning. They do this to keep the hive the proper temperature for brood rearing and to take some of the humidity from the air for honey production. When it gets really hot, they fan to prevent the wax from melting.

We added an onboard waterer to each hive today because the temperatures are predicted to be close to ninety and there is no rain in the forecast for at least ten days. Bees, like all animals, need water. We make it easy to get water because the hive is less stressed that way. Less stress creates healthy colonies that can ward off mites and disease and produce more bees and honey.


Hornblower said...

way cool that you have bees!
There is a resurgence in interest in bees around here. We recently went to a local honey farm where they rent out their bees to farmers in the summer. There's also a scientist who is trying to re-introduce mason bees to Vancouver. We plan to get some in our yard - they are great pollinators & very friendly so you can set up a nest very close & observe them. But, they don't make honey :-( Ah well, for that I drive out to the farm & get a choice of blackberry, clover, apple etc etc etc. What do your bees mostly feed on?

wisteria said...

This hive is in our peach and plum orchard, but bees travel as far as two miles from their hive to forage. You cannot guarantee what pollen they are harvesting, only that blackberries, clover, peaches, etc is blooming when you harvest the honey. We do have a lot of clover on the property so spring and summer honey is usually clover, but the bees really work the privet, mimosa, and my garden. In the fall, honey is darker and stronger flavored and usually comes from mimosa and goldenrod or other fall flowers.

They make wonderful observation hives for honey bees and if you get the right bees they are calm enough to work without smoke. I stood right in front of the hive to take the blog picture without the aid of a telephoto lens. A few bees flew at me, but I didn't disturb the hive so they left me alone.