Hive Check #2Posted: May 7, 2012
All day Sunday I knew that I’d be needing to get into the hives. Part of me was feeling rather nervous about the prospect, but I made my mental list of what needed to be done and I prepared myself mentally for the task. Just as soon as Bodhi was taking her afternoon nap, I grabbed my bee basket and headed to the hives.
As usually, Ruby was calm and quiet when we took the lid off. I have continued to notice that the activity around this hive is low and I was wondering what I would find when I got inside. I was not expecting what I saw.
It’s as if nothing had changed from last week. They haven’t made any new comb to speak of. It’s still a tiny clump of bees. I’m very worried about this hive. I want to do something to help them along, but at this point I’m not sure what to do. They didn’t eat from their sugar can at all, they didn’t take much food from the dish of moist sugar I gave them. I’m considering going to the local apiary and purchasing a pollen patty for them and see what kind of feeders they have in stock. Perhaps the beekeepers there will have some ideas and maybe a feeder that I could purchase that would work in a TBH. I don’t want this hive to die, but I also don’t want to help a sick or weak hive limp along and start breeding less than fabulous bees. Sigh. This feels like having a sick kid and not knowing how to help them.
I was very disappointed when Frank and I put Ruby’s roof back on. I had hoped that they were recovering and making progress, but this is just not the case. I’ll be doing some research, and polling of other beeks to see if I can come up with an answer to why they aren’t eating or growing.
Bonanza Jellybean is growing like gangbusters. Frank captured the above picture right after I opened the hive. They are making a lot of comb and seem to be eating a ton. I wish they would share their skills with their neighbors.
The comb that Bonanza Jellybean is making is gorgeous. They have nearly filled five bars with comb. I didn’t look around for the queen and for some reason I didn’t look for eggs. I think I was distracted by my worry for Ruby and I just couldn’t focus on Jellybean like I should have.
One of the bars had an extra bump of comb on it. I’m not quite sure why the girls did this, but I used my long knife and sliced it off. I was pleasantly surprised that it was easy to remove and the bees didn’t seem to mind too much that I had taken part of their comb from them.
The bees weren’t interested in leaving the piece of comb that I cut off, so I gently placed it on the ground under the hive. Then I panicked. What if the queen was on there? I didn’t even think to look for her there. So I picked up the comb and looked for the queen. I didn’t find her and was relieved. I tried brushing the bees off of the comb, but they didn’t want to move so I put it in grass farther from the hive. Eventually, they would leave it I assumed.
They did end up leaving it and now I have a lovely small bit of soft comb in the house. I don’t know what to do with it exactly. Frank wants to eat it. I think for now I just want to have it. It’s given me a lot to think about and learn. The bees are amazing builders and I’m so very proud of what they are accomplishing.
What I learned from this hive check.
- It’s better to walk away when you get stressed than do something stupid because you are stressed.
- Things don’t always go they way you think they will even if you are doing everything you should be doing.
That’s about all I gleaned from this trip into the hives. I’m feeling a bit glum for Ruby and hope to find some ways to bolster that hive up and grow it into a bustling robust hive.