Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Day in the Delta

On Friday, April 6th, we drove to the Delta to work the bee yard there.

Mark had been over on 3/27, cleaned out the oil traps and split the very full hives. While there, he called to say he'd watched a swarm flying out of one of the colonies. Enterprising beekeeper that he is, he followed it (high in a tree), found a local farmer (who brought his tractor and a cardboard box), and retrieved the hive. I'd read recently that swarms don't like screened bottom boards, so he covered it with cardboard.

His first task on Friday was to check and see if the swarm had stayed . . . and it had. Hurray!

The good news is that we were able to add Harbo queens as needed where there wasn't evidence of a queen. The bad news is that time-wise, we were there at a terrible stage in the establishment of queens the hives created for themselves..

Whether it was because of this precarious state (agitation from a new queen who hasn't established her hold on the colony in terms of pheromones, she's out on mating flights, they're truly queenless etc), or genetics (Russian bees tend to be a feisty breed), the Delta bees were ferocious.

I mean, pelt-your-helmet-til-it-sounds-like-popcorn-popping ferocious.

The humorous part (from Mark's perspective) is after I went to get a drink of water, I forgot to zip up my veil. And a bee got in. And I proceeded to run from the bee yard, ripping off my gloves to try to unzip my jacket and get OUT of the thing so I wouldn't look like this:

I managed to avoid getting stung. Yay.

Photo highlights:

Bee Birth -- freshly emerging from its cell.

Delta Honey

Eggs on dark foundation.

General Beauregard, famous canine.

Guy Ray, with his Ducks Unlimited Box. He's delighted!

Angry Bees.

Pleasant Lake

Sharing a snack.

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