Friday, May 21, 2010

In the Bees!

I got into the bees this afternoon primarily to see if some nucs I had intended to raise for this year's beekeeping students were making progress. Sadly they are not. I haven't gotten a single nuc (out of the 10 or so I started) that's made sufficient progress that I'd be comfortable selling it to someone. Not to worry though. There are other club members who can likely supply bees to the students.

The first photo show me dusting the bees with powdered sugar. You dust the tops of the frames and then brush it gently down between them so as to get onto as many bees as possible. The bees don't like the sugar and begin grooming themselves furiously which knocks loose a lot of varroa mites. They eat the sugar and all is well.

The second photo shows a frame of ripened honey that the bees have begun to cap over. The snow white capping wax you see here is the newest and finest beeswax there is. Just a beautiful sight. The frame full of honey weighs about 4 lbs. When the box is full it'll weigh nearly 45 lbs. A lot of weight and most of it's honey.

Photo number three shows a frame taken from the brood nest where the queen lays eggs and young worker bees are raised by the thousands. Note the ring of uncapped honey around the outer edge. Next closest to the center are cells of pollen. Pollen is the bees source of protein and mixed with honey makes a type of 'bee bread' that's fed to the developing larvae. If you look closely into the individual cells you can see the young worker larva laying in the bottom of the cells in a 'C' shape.

This last photo I included because it just looks cool. Quite often when you pry up the inner cover you find that they bees have built comb between the cover and the tops of the frames below. This wax is usually just scraped off and melted down later for candles, etc. I always take a second to just appreciate the work that the bees have done.

Enjoy the photos.

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