Wednesday, March 16, 2011


  I am in love with bees!   Today I went to a local beekeepers house to watch him and help open up a few of his hives to check the state of things after the winter.  It was warm in the 60's and bees were flying.  Pollen is already being collected and you can see the Corbicula or pollen baskets on their hind legs full of yellow pollen.

  Jaymon had suggested that I try and find someone to apprentice with this year since I am not sure how busy I will be with running and nuun.  It turns out that a local retired gent could use the help with his nine hives and he lives just up the road from us.   This is a perfect situation for both of us.   We agree that the best way to learn is hands on.  I hope that I can work hard enough to even out what he is giving me in knowledge and information.   I already know that we mesh well.  He reminds me in many ways of my husband and how he does things so it was a comfortable afternoon.

  One of the above hives was not doing as well as Jerry had hoped.  This happens in beekeeping and is just something you accept and try to figure out and ultimately move on with.    We opened up the first hive and looked for brood or baby bees and the queen.  There was very little brood but we did find the queen so there is still hope for this hive.

the second hive with loads of bees!
 The second hive we opened up was absolutely full of bees.  Plenty enough to take some frames from this hive to boost up the hive that was low in numbers.

  Typically it is rather early in the year to be doing a split like this however if left too much longer the tiny hive was likely to  die out and the large hive would swarm and split in half and it would be a large loss overall.

  The ladies are so pretty with their fuzzy little heads!  All of the bees are girls unless they are drones which are all males whose purpose is to fertilize the queen.  There are not many of them comparatively.
 When the girls first come out of their cell they're first job is to be nurse bees and they take care of other eggs and pupa.   The little ladies then graduate to house cleaning duty and general tidying.   After hatching they have 21 days of being in the hive and then they move on to century duty guarding the entrance to the hive.  After that they are taught to forage and spend the rest of their lives collecting nectar and pollen.

  So much of what I have read sunk in today while watching.  I look forward to when I am doing more and being useful.  I may go back tomorrow to help as he opens up three more of his hives to check to see what is going on after the winter.

  The time flew by and I realized that I had spent over three hours there and it felt like maybe one.  It was fun to come home and tell Jaymon all about it and then go run five barefoot miles in the Fair grounds.  It has been a wonderful day!
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