Sunday, May 20, 2012

Right or Wrong

There are times in your life when right or wrong are as clear as night and day.  No question or hesitations, you just know the difference.  Then there are those other times when the shades of gray are endless. 

I am trying so hard to get a clear understanding of bee keeping, but it is hard.  There are so many variables.  There is so much that I do not know.  This will be an endless learning experience in my life.  Up until last year I didn't even know I could be this interested in this subject.  I am watching and inspecting my hives, trying to take it all in.  Reading books and asking questions of those that know so much.  I can't help but feel like I know so little.  With all the questions that I still have, I do know this is right.

For some of you, this is going to seem totally crazy.  I would have been in agreement with you a short time ago.  I can't stress enough how different it is to work with bees than I ever would have expected.  I think we all have these preconceived notions of bees swarming and attacking people.  It just is not the case.  Maybe I am lucky, but these girls are very docile.  They have only been agitated with me once, and even then it was much milder than I ever imagined.

The shot above is a frame from one of my brood boxes.  Brood boxes are the deep bottom boxes of a bee hive where the queen bee is laying her eggs and the worker bees are busy raising their new siblings.  This is a perfect example of what it should look like.  It all starts with the queen laying an egg.  The egg stage lasts for three days.  Then it moves on to the larvae stage for 5 1/2 days.  During these 5 1/2 days, the worker bees feed the larvae 8000 to 10,000 times.  It is the only stage in which it consumes food before it hatches, and it will increase its weight by 1500 times.  Once this stage is complete, the cell is capped and they move to the pupae stage for 12 1/2 days. 

I think we can all see where the phrase, "Busy as a Bee" comes from.

The darker colored cells are all capped brood.  The lighter color cells around the edge are capped honey.  Once the bees emerge from the cells, they consume the honey on the outside of the frame.  Their first job as a worker bee in the colony is to clean up the cell they emerged from.  The queen starts laying in the center and then moves outward.  As the center cells hatch, and are then cleaned, she will move back to the middle and start laying in those cells again.  This is happening on multiple frames in the brood box.  We have seen a definite population explosion in these boxes. 

The only time my bees have been agitated with me thus far, was when I was trying to pick up one of these frames out of the brood box, and it slipped out of my fingers.  They are a little heavy, and picking them up can be tricky.  I had the frame about halfway out of the box when I lost my grip and it dropped by in.  The noise level picked up dramatically.  I quickly grabbed my smoker and gave them a couple of puffs of smoke, then immediately started trying to talk them down.  There were moments of my heart pounding out of my chest, but we all finally started to settle back down. 

I have one other photo to show you. 

You decide if it is right or wrong.

I will be in a lot of trouble for sharing this, but I can't help myself.  It is just funny.

I had some frames to assemble for my supers, and I had enlisted my usual help.  We were working right along, and I looked over and found this nail.

I don't even know how she did this.

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