Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Even More Bee Issues

Dave and I are competing with the Wongs to see who can rearrange things in their yard the most. The Wongs do it with their plants, we do it with our bee hives.

The morning after we moved the dark green bee hive to the top of the hill, Dave suggested that I paint the hive a lighter color. The bees in the light green hive seemed to be dealing with the heat better probably because the lighter color did a better job of reflecting the sun's rays. I agreed to paint the dark green hive to match the color of the other hive on the condition that we move it back to where we originally had it.

The next morning I toted the paint can and brush up the hill and I painted as much of the hive as I could with bees buzzing around me. It was so warm that the paint was dry within minutes.
I was tempted to bring the hive down the hill by myself, but I knew that this would be foolish as the foraging bees would not know where their home was. This job would have to wait until evening when the bees retire for the night.

After lunch Dave called to tell me that his friend went to release his queen and found that she was dead. We had planned to release our queens on Wednesday, but started to wonder if they too might be dead. We figured the sooner we knew the sooner we could order a replacement. The bees were already stressed. Why not stress them some more by ripping open their hive! Dave was out of town so I did the honors. The queen in the first hive was alive and active with worker bees attending to her through the screen in the tiny cage. I removed the cork and dropped Her Majesty among the 8,000 worker bees. Each hive started out with 12,000 bees, but by now we had almost certainly managed to kill off a third of them with our antics. I released the queen in the second hive too and she appeared ready to go to work laying eggs.

As soon as the bees had returned to the hive for the night, Dave and I carried the newly painted bee hive down the hill and back to its original spot. This time each of us got stung twice. I am getting used to it, but Dave is ready to set the hives on fire.

Below is a photo Dave took of our bees at work this morning. His comments to his dad are below.

I snapped a few pictures this morning to validate Shirley's statement that at least some of the bees seem to be earning their keep. If they behave I will put my plan for a huge pyre on hold...for now.

The yellow specks you see on the bee's legs are buckets of pollen!

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