Thursday, November 4, 2010

A hive of activity

We briefly checked on the progress or otherwise of the new bee hives in the hay loft today. It was a flying visit... heh... to make sure they had taken to their new boxes. We found one pile of them mourning for their old box and still lumped where it used to be. Or bee.

What this really meant was that the queen was probably somewhere in that lump. Her pheromones were anyway. Two of the three boxes seemed to contain working swarms, although one was slighly less abuzz than the other. The lump of bees were gently scooped into that one. Instantly they stampeded to get in where SO had flipped them over the edge. Eventually they might stop trying to take the lid off and find the actual door.

Clearly they liked the box now anyway. Not so the small nucleus box. Their interest in that went as far as robbing the last of the honey and possibly some wax out of it and then taking it back to one of the other two larger boxes. It was duly emptied of straggler bees and taken away, along with the original hive in the form of the whelping box (now completely cleared out of anything useful by the workers) and the car floor mat used as a temporary lid on one of the hives. This was replaced by an actual lid with ventilators which the bees will appreciate now that the weather is really warming up. Bees having no trade union and no industrial employment laws we do need to look after them a little bit, even if it's just assisting with the airconditioning. Although they even do that themselves. They are pretty self-sufficient really and with their brilliant teamwork they've achieved a lot in a very short time. In places this also includes sticking frames together, building comb up to the roof and very successfully hiding their queen completely so that we're not even really sure that they have one, but those problems will have to wait until after shearing, fire danger clearing and other pressing engagements.