Springtime Bees

Springtime means lots of activity at the hive, or some I’m told.

As this is our First spring time with our bees, I’m still quite eager to watch what happens with the colony, how things change, and what I might do to make the bees, well, happier. I often consider the answer to the last question is to leave them alone, not mess with their hive or take their honey, but that’s not good enough for me.. I want to Engineer them.. in that wholesome organic natural happy way.. HA!

Today’s hive evaluation was two weeks and two days since I last opened the hive and I expected much to have changed. I had added a second deep two weeks ago and had fiddled with the frames a bit, moving one brood frame up and replacing it with an empty, undrawn frame (all plastic). Today, I found what I imagine ALL beekeepers find when sorting through the boxes. Manic Depression. :)

The Manic:

  1. The hive is growING! The size of the hive has increased significantly and according to the amount of brood on the frames will continue to do so.
  2. I’ve got a great number of drones walking around and activity within the hive is high, with bees on every frame.
  3. They’re making honey, lots of it, even after all those rainy cold days. They’re going to survive!

The Depressive:

  1. They’re building comb perpendicular to the foundation. Pulling out a few frames, I’m finding they’re not building comb along the foundation, like they have in the past, but out, off the foundation. Perpendicular to the rest of the hive orientation. As the comb grows in size it covers more of the foundation, but I did not get the impression they wanted it to. with nooks and crannies all over the bulging comb, it’s become quite the maze for the colony and a significant change from the ordered one, two, ten of the parallel frames. But, it seems there is not much I can do aside from buying wax foundation, which I’m reluctant to do. Though I’m considering empty frames – no foundation… hmmm
  2. They’re building brood between upper and lower deep. Golf ball sized collections of brood have cropped up along the bottom of the upper deep and, obviously, the top of the lower deep. Each group has four to twelve cells in it and after pulling frames out today, I found that any activity in the hive decimates these cells and their contents, very little of which was honey or pollen. Sadly.
  3. They’ve got mites. I’ve seen a couple of mites in the past. One here on the ground, another at the entrance, and once on a bee that I couldn’t track down fast enough to confirm. However, yesterday I snagged one bee with it’s red-headed guest, got a photo of it and confirmed my fears. Now to treat or to leave be?

While these things are a bit daunting, I’m still excited to see how the colony changes throughout the year as I become more aware of the activities of bees.. a strange and fascinating little insect.

3 responses to “Springtime Bees”

  1. I get the brood between boxes too and I just hate pulling it apart and killing the brood.

    For the mites, you should try dusting with powdered sugar. Supposedly it makes the bees groom each other and the mites fall off. Put something underneath the bottom to catch the mites and the sugar.