Sunday, April 3, 2011

Introducing a New Bee Yard and Hive: Barhams' Bees 1

We're blessed with fabulous friends who support our passion for bees.  Eldon and Frances Barham let us set up three "Back Saver 1000" stands on the opposite side of their lake in the middle of March (and I have an entire post of pictures to share about that process eventually). Remember that swarm call on March 22nd? Those bees ended up with lakeside accommodations, with both ag fields and one of the finest gardens I've ever seen near enough to supply their every need.

Waterfront Property for the Bees.

We paid the bees a visit this afternoon to check and see how they were doing.  Mark has fed them bee tea twice, and today the jar was empty.  He traded the jar for a round feeder he picked up last week at Rossman (that's another post too!).  But before we put it on, we decided to check and see if we could see wax, brood, etc.

So, here is BB1 as Frances and I decided to call it.  

Above the deep hive body there is a feeder board that has an entrance hole so bees can go in  at the top or bottom or the hive.  We noticed the yellow stain from pollen hitting the board as they fly in. The bee on the right is loaded up with pollen.

Eldon Barham, who really wants to get closer to see what is going on.

My dear friend Frances, who sat in Mark's truck to watch the proceedings. Eldon was stung once years ago and had a terrible reaction, so she's not thrilled with Eldon's fascination with the bees at this point, but thinks they're far away enough from the house to be permitted to stay.

Mark fired up the smoker, just in case. It was sunny but very windy, and the bees have stung him repeatedly both times he's come out to feed them.

A bonus bug sighting! This grasshopper was soaking up some sun on the metal cover.

This is the first frame we pulled out.  The bees are grouped around open, uncapped honey/nectar. Notice the yellow pollen stains on the tops of the frames closest to the entrance!

I backed up to get a shot of Mark working and was excited to see so many bees and some solid yellow, capped brood.

This is when we got really excited.  That appears to be solid capped brood, with uncapped brood just below it (the white mushy stuff is bee larvae!).  They're also storing pollen around the edges of the brood (the gold stuff on the bottom).  Mark said, "I bet this is one of our high dollar queens who swarmed off."  Often when a swarm leaves, the queen is older and needs to be replaced. But this one is doing a fantastic job.  I saw her before Mark did, which always tickles me. I love finding the queen! (If you click on any of the photos, you should be able to see larger versions of the pictures.)

It's no big surprise these bees are thriving, because everyone who comes to the Barhams' house is pampered and fed well.  Eldon wanted us to take home some frozen figs and corn, but we knew we weren't going home soon, so we had to turn him down. 

We spent the next several hours on bee-related tasks, but that's a story for another day, as we were putting up swarm traps and looking at a tear-out in someone's house.

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