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Monday, May 25, 2015

Garden Architecture And A Split

Garden Architecture 

Garden Architecture

Mr. Man did a wonderful job welding up an arbor for us to enter and exit the soon to be dog run.  We painted it with self etching primer and really like the color.  Not only that, but the fully steel structure is maybe air temperature, but certainly doesn't get the heat like natural unprotected metal does.

This is the beginning of the separate dog area that will allow us to reclaim our garden area, replant grass and create an aesthetically pleasing environment.

We May Get A Split

As usual, something odd that I see from a distance is something
Bearding Bees
that should be taken note of.  The weather has been great this week.  We were working in the backyard and Mr. Man noticed two bees flying in the air, seemingly attached on May 23, 2015.  This news follows our hive becoming more relaxed about us being in the back yard and now it looks like we have some bearding.

There is no fanning action going on here.  No washboarding.  They're all just kind of hanging out, only two days after sighting the two bees in flight.  I was kind of waiting for this.  I can't make out one boy bee in this bunch.

Since the hive looks like it's bursting at the seams, I wanted to do a quick check, and sure
Old Hive, Stuffed With Comb And Bees
enough, the hive is stuffed with combs.

Mr. Man thought he saw some bees investigating the new hive, but I didn't see any bees around the new hive when I was snapping these photos.  Hopefully we'll be on to hive number two pretty soon.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Buzz About The Boys

New Hive Bees With Boys At Entrance

Boy Bees Make An Appearance

Sadly, the move of the slump block bees to the new hive was a complete disaster.  All slump block bees absconded or died following robbery from the new hive colony.  There were many angry unsettled bees until the slump block bees completely disappeared and the new colony settled back into and resumed their bee business.  During that time, we left the bees to themselves and checked general entrance activity from a distance.

Last Sunday, the activity looked odd.  The little specks of movement hovering around the front of the hive entrance seemed to have a new texture - a difference in the sizes of the buzzing bees.  I broke out the camera to record what was going on.

No Questions Left

As a new beekeeper, there is always some uncertainty until you actually see what is going on for yourself.  For some reason, we never saw any drones (a.k.a male bees) around the slump block hive.  This could be that the queen didn't want drones in the old hive because it was so small.

Many times I thought surely I was missing something because it was so hard to identify the drones, but now its clear they just weren't there.  In these photos, it is very easy to see the fly-like eyes and the almost double body size of the drones compared to the workers (females) of the colony.

Differences In Honeybee Worker, Queen And Drone

...One More Question

So, we finally see how obvious the difference is between the worker bee and the drone bee in our colony.  Yet we have not yet identified the queen bee.  I am stumped on how we could have missed seeing the queen bee when looking at left image detailing the size perspective and understanding the visual differences witnessed in real life.

We will not be satisfied until we spy a queen.  We'll keep looking, ever ready with the camera.

Drone And Worker Comparisons

Drone Bee Color Comps
Drone Bee Size Comps
Drone photo on the left showing coloring in comparison to the worker bees.  Dones are darker in color with more of a squat body shape.

Drone photo on right showing a great shot of a couple of drones eyes and highlighting the significant size difference between the drones and the workers.

Drone And Worker Bee Comps

Drone photo on left with excellent details highlighting difference between drone and worker bees.

Drone eyes are much like fly eyes.  Drones are just about twice as big as the worker bees.