Hey everyone, bee-keeping really is the most rewarding thing EVER, aside from gardening and growing your own food of course. Not only are you playing an integral part to saving and assisting the environment, you are helping it's most important creatures, bees have recently literally been classified as the MOST IMPORTANT Beings on Earth (BEE-INGS ;))
As per www.sciencetimes.com : The bees have been declared the most important living beings on this planet, the Earthwatch Institute concluded in the last meeting of the Royal Geographical Society of London. However, according to wildlife experts and scientists, the bees have joined the endangered species long list.
The recent studies show a dramatic decline of the bees' number as almost 90 percent of the bee population has disappeared in the last few years. The uncontrolled use of pesticides, deforestation or lack of flowers are the main reasons for their extinction.
Do read more on that fascinating article here: https://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/23245/20190709/bees-are-the-most-important-living-being-on-earth.htm
This was a quick yet epic little operation I had to perform last night.
These lovely ladies moved in on their own about two weeks ago, so blessed we were to have received another gift from Nature, our first Swarm of the season, but there was a problem and it was my fault...
I normally save the best pics for last this time around I just had to put the best pics first.
This year the honey flow has been exceptionally slow as a result of a very dry Winter and a very late start to the Summer rainy season. Last year we did our first honey harvest around September this year we only did our first harvest early November, saying that this is an extremely good sign. Given that this swarm has only been in this hive for two weeks odd, this progress is exceptional. They have already in that time built some of their brood frame, laid eggs capped the brood combs as well as already filled the very top of all their recently built brood combs with nectar. Remarkable in such a short time.
This is a very good sign of a few factors, a very strong organized Queen, a less experienced Queen will lay eggs all over the place, the fact these are laid together neatly as they are is an experienced Queen. They can live up to five years old so she can be anything from that or less, I am guessing over a year or two at least based on this evidence. This is also a good sign of a very strong swarm based on the speed in which they made this all as well as excellent honey flow.
Bees do not swarm in a low honey flow season the fact they moved in built this all and have progressed so well is a very all round positive indeed!
As I gently removed this brooder frame to take some pictures I inspected the combs inside, bees normally build from inside out and from the bottom up. The fact the middle frames are this well developed already is a good sign they will build the outer frames with the same speed and finesse. This comb is about 60% built in the next 2 weeks odd the whole frame will be fully built and more than likely filled with brood and nectar!
The 'before pic' the old lid just about to be replaced, with my ever present, enthusiastic GORGEOUS loyal 'German Lizard Slayer' Dachund, Tinkie!
As you can see this hive is at the garage door, not a very good spot for a bee hive at ALL. I have been 'Zapped' a few times already trying to get into the garage. There is a simple rule when moving bees, 3 Foot or 3 Mile Rule. Do not move a bee swarm more than 3 foot a day as they will simply return to their original spot and gather there, if you plan to move bees more than 3 foot a day make sure it is further than 3 miles as the same rules apply.
We are going to keep these bees on this premisis so move it around 2 foot a day until eventually it is where we want it to be!
Here I placed the lid with attached bees on the underside at the entrance to the hive so that they could make their way back inside at their leisure. The alternative would be to smoke them or brush them back into the hive which is a more aggressive disruptive approach, there was no hurry or need for that at this point.
Here we have a pic of the lid from inside, the bees have already started migrating back to the entrance of their hive, I took this just after I replaced the new lid, bees certainly do not understand the word 'procrastinate' I just love their 'work ethic'!
The previous night (we only work bees at night) I gently peered inside this hive, back to my original point (my error) should not have put an old lid on a new hive originally. I knew the lid was old and needed replacing as the bees were accessing the entrance from the gap in the roof between the lid and the brooder box. I lifted this old roof and thousands of bees were clustered there, it was not as simple as just switching out lids which is why I had to do this operation with stealth and the smoker as well as our other tools of the trade below.
The Smoker, hive tool used for removing lids as well as propolis fastened brood and super frames, pine needles for smoking (to pacify the bees), a lighter to ignite the pine needles in the smoker and bee brush, not to be mistaken for a toothbrush :) Naturally I wear a bee suit and leather gloves for personal body protection too!
I don't take selfies often but when I do it's with a bee suit ;) Trust you enjoyed this as much as I did creating it.
I made a short video of the action with the lid off and looking in, which I will be posting in the coming days, that promises to be interesting and exciting too!
My hope and dream with my Bee Blog's are to spread awareness with the ultimate goal of educating folks of the CRITICAL IMPORTANCE of bees and the preservation thereof, each of us have a role to play and I believe in whatever small way we can need to contribute to preserving these precious creatures!
Nature the incredible, have a super cool week.