It has been a while since these photos were taken, but I still wanted to share them. This was the day I took my Grandfather-in-law, Gramps, to visit my hive. This was the same day I noticed a piping noise and began to wonder what my Queen was up to. Virgin queens make a special noise called piping when they are trying to fight off another queen. Check out the video to learn more and hear what piping sounds like.
"This morning in Chattanooga, our granddaughter-in-law, Amanda, took us along to tend to her bees." - Gramps
I "Never did this before!" The "first thing to learn is to be a little gentle" I had "good results—no stings!"
Today I met with Cathy, another new beekeeper, to help remove a colony of bees from a house. Our mentor Sonny taught us what to do when moving bees from a naturally built hive to your own hive. Cathy had heard about these bees from a friend and offered to remove them for free. She got to keep the bees, and the owner paid for any repairs needed to the home when we were finished. Click on any of the photos to make them larger.
The first step is to find the bees. They were coming out of the door frame with lots of pollen. The more pollen bees bring in the more babies there are. We went down to the basement to see if we could find them there. Cathy and Sonny decided to cut through the ceiling to find them.
The next step is getting them out. We cut out the comb with a small knife and sucked up some bees with a special vacuum. In the photo below, Cathy and Sonny are setting up the vacuum. The hose is attached to a box for the bees. There is a smaller screened box inside the one with the three small holes. To get the right amount of suction we can cover one of the holes up to change the pressure. This is important so we don't harm the bees.
When we have cut off a portion of the comb we must tie it to a frame. Beekeepers use frames to hold honeycomb so it is easier to check, maintain, and extract the honey. After the comb is tied in we put it in the first box of our Langstroth hive. Sonny and Cathy decided to split the hive so Cathy took the comb and frames and Sonny took the bees that were vacuumed up. Cathy left the Langstroth hive, with the frames of comb, near the entrance of the old hive spot so that the worker bees would find their new home when they came back from foraging. A day or so later Cathy came back to take her hive home. Sonny was able to take his bees home the same day in the special screened vacuum box.
The queen bee likes the darkness of the hive, so sometimes it is hard to find her. I have looked every time that I checked on my bees and hadn't seen her yet. Today was my lucky day. I pulled out frame after frame searching for pollen, nectar, brood, and of course, Miss Royalty. I knew she would be deep in the hive. She was probably laying eggs. I found a few frames full of brood (baby bees). I knew I was getting closer. Then I spotted her. I yelled for T.J. to come and look and a few other beekeepers came to see her too. T.J. snapped a photo and her she is. Can you find which one is the Queen? She has a long abdomen.
It only takes a week to start seeing that the queen is doing her job. Here is a photo of larva and other worker bees taking good care of them. Young bees that take care of larva are called nurse bees. You may have to look closely to see the larva in the comb. Can you find them?
Today my package of bees arrived and it was time to put them in the hive. The queen bee arrived in a small box. A few attendants took care of her while she traveled to the hive location. Talk about high maintenance, wherever she goes her attendants follow. They help take care of her and they even feed her. The queen is the largest bee in the box.
The Worker Bees and Drones will go wherever their queen leads them. So when you want your bees to make a hive a home you need the queen to stay put. See the small box it has some white candy inside. The candy blocks the Queen and her attendants from flying out of the box until they eat their way out. This gives the Queen time to get used to her new home and the other bees will start preparing the combs.
Staring at the dancing bees in an observation hive, it hits me. I love how these tiny creatures communicate. It looks like they're having fun dancing around while telling their sisters where to find some nectar.
Amanda's Sting Count
2013- 6 stings