Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm A Baby Murderer

Today, after work, Kristine and I went back into the hive to see what was going on. We were specifically looking for brood, which would mean the queen is doing her job. Once we opened the top box we saw that the bees were building some crazy comb structures. They had a comb ladder built to easily access the sugar syrup that I have placed over the hole in the inner cover. I decided not to use the front feeder as I already have enough problems with sugar ants in the backyard. Don't want to be advertising free meals. Kristine said we might as well leave the ladder because if we removed it, the bees would just build another. This top box was filled with bees and comb and lots of pollen. The bee girls are doing a bang up job of storing food. When I glanced through the top box, to where it met the second box, there was a big wad of comb with something glistening on it. It looked to me like they were making macaroni (they ARE Italians, after all). Kristine informed me those were the larva. Man, those are some fat, ugly babies. Unfortunately the queen had chosen a very bad spot to lay those eggs. We needed to pry off the top box, to look into that center box, and in doing so we sealed those poor babies' fates. Sorry babies. With the top box off we could look into the center box and see that the bees were choosing to use this as their brood chamber. When we moved this top box from the bottom box, we were puzzled to see that box was not really being used, except as a ladder. Kristine decided we should move that box into the middle, and put the brood box on the bottom. We moved a couple of the brood filled frames into that nearly empty box, so the bees would get the idea to fill it up. Then we put the top box back in place.

Oh, I almost forgot. I had my husband build some dummy frames, to fill the odd gaps in my boxes. They are supposed to be 8 frame boxes but there is almost enough room for a 9th frame. This left an awkward gap on one side. Now there are nice dummy frames filling those gaps. Thanks, husbeast!

Once we got the hive reassembled we went over to look at the chickens. When I glanced back at the hive entrance I noticed the bees were already chucking the dead bee baby carcasses out the front door.

So sorry, bees, but you shouldn't have had them in that spot. After I took this photo I scooped the baby bodies into a container and gave them to the chickens. I didn't want to leave them on the front porch to attract ants. And the poor bees were having a tough time grabbing their chubby bodies and trying to toss them off the bottom board and onto the dirt. There really isn't a good place to grab onto the larva to lift them.

A huge thanks to my mentor, Kristine. She makes it all look so easy and I couldn't do it without her help.


LindaM said...

Very cool! We had a problem this last week as well. Bees were drowning in the bird bath! We worried about not having water for them while we were away but we didn't think about too much water! We added corks to our baths and all is well now.
I can't wait to go and meet my hives!
This is tribal btw the way:)

luvewe said...

Hi Linda! Thanks for coming to partake a bit in my bee adventures. They are so much fun. I have a bird bath right next to the hive but mine has nicely sloping sides and a bit of a landing area that sticks out into the center. I may just add some corks, too. Thanks for the tip