Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Day in the Delta with Guy Ray

This is a happy man.

While safely ensconced in my air conditioned office at MSU, Mark and Robert drove to our Delta bee yard to inspect the bees and see if they could harvest honey.

To Mark's surprise, the bees in one hive had eaten an entire deep super of honey and the queen had filled it with eggs. Our guess is that after the tupelo trees are finished blooming and before the soybean and cotton blossoms begin, the bees don't have much to eat.

A solid brood pattern is welcome news! Well, except when you wanted to harvest the honey.
Also to Mark's surprise (but not to mine, in all honesty), he'd forgotten his boots.

He'd also forgotten the Delta bees are, well, mean.

Robert was amused I think, as evidenced from these photos.

Attempted fix #1: boot bands

Attempted fix #2: redneck boot bands (duct tape)
Mark's ankles were swollen from stings -- the bees were no more gentle than they had been the last time that I was there, and all but one of the hives had a successful queen. So Mark newspapered one of our recent swarms on top of it, since that queen had proven herself to be healthy.

When combining hives, spray sugar water on the newspaper to attract the bees and make it easier for them to chew through the paper.

 Guy got to wear one of the new ventilated jackets Mark bought recently, and I'm sure he was thankful he was better covered than the last visit!

Robert is a talented photographer, and got some awesome close shots of bees. It makes not being there easier on me. ;-)

Maybe he'll submit this to a magazine for publication -- I think it's fantastic!

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