Bees Need Water Too

You may not realize it, but bees need water too.  They will seek out water sources close to their hive. They use water to cool the hive on hot days, to dilute honey and to help with digestion and metabolizing their food. Luckily, I have a pond with a waterfall in my front yard that the bees congregate to during the day.

Bees drinking water along the edge of my pond.

Bees-Drinking-Water-2Bees drinking water along the edge of my pond.

Bees-Drinking-Water-3

Here they are at the top of the waterfall. When the pump is off, water gathers at the top making it easy for the bees to drink.

Here is a video of them flying all around the pond while the waterfall is turned off.

Comb with Young Larvae

This is a good example to see what young bee larvae looks like in the comb.  You see some eggs and the larvae which are probably 2-3 days old.  You will notice a white liquid inside the cells, that is royal jelly. Worker bee larvae are fed royal jelly for the first 3 days, after that they are fed nectar, honey and pollen.  Only larvae that have been selected to become queens will be fed royal jelly the entire time of their development.

Young larvae

Young larvae feeding on royal jelly. A few eggs can also be seen. 

Comb-with-young-larvae-2

More young larvae feeding on royal jelly. Here you can see some that are smaller than others, just different age larvae. 

Burr Comb with Eggs

We opened up one of our hives and found some small pieces of burr comb attached to the hive lid.  When we find the bees building burr comb we tend to remove it just so they don’t start building all over the place and make a mess inside the hive.  After removing this piece I noticed it was full of eggs.  For those of you who have never seen bee eggs they look like tiny grains of rice.

Burr comb full of eggs

Burr comb full of eggs.

Close up of eggs.

Close up of eggs.

Releasing a Queen From a Queen Cage

Sometimes when you install a new queen in a nuc they don’t always release the queen on their own.  There is a layer of candy (similar to fondant) that keeps the queen trapped in her cage and the bees eat through that to release her. Strong hives can accomplish this in a day or less. For young, small nucs this can take more time and sometimes we step in to help them out.  Here is how we released a queen from her cage into the hive.

You can see her come out of the cage at 0:49.

Spring Splits

We have been busy with life and our bees the past few weeks and I realized I haven’t posted on my blog in a while (shame on me).  We had been preparing and building up our hives for splits and swarm prevention and everything went well. All the splits are doing great and we prevented swarming.

Getting our equipment ready.

Getting some of our equipment ready.

Grabbing a frame with plenty of brood.

Grabbing a frame with plenty of brood.

Grabbing a frame full of pollen, which serves as food for the brood.

Grabbing a frame full of pollen, which serves as food for the brood.

Splitting-hives

Going through the hives looking for good frames to use in the splits.

More hives, more frames.

More hives, more frames.

Providing additional nutrition with bee patties.

Providing additional nutrition with bee patties.

Finally, new nucs ready to go.

Finally, new nucs ready to go.