Thursday, May 8, 2014

At the Beehives

We got an opportunity to visit a beekeepers apiary. They have 200+ hives. It was very educational for us as we learned so much more with the hands on application.

We got to do some splits and manipulations on a dozen hives. Some of the hives were extremely healthy and getting close to swarming. This is what I really wanted to see as it's my biggest fear at this point in beekeeping. I don't want to freak the neighbors out. I know you can't stop them from swarming sometimes but for the most part you can head it off. Some hives are just going to swarm no mater what you do. Or at least that's what I'm told.

One hive was barely hanging on. We suspected that she was queen-less and had a laying worker. I would of never noticed the difference if I didn't see it for myself.

I have to say being in a bee suit for several hours is very hot and uncomfortable. Fortunately we had a cool breeze which is a rare thing in Kansas.
 It was quite interesting seeing how the girls went up with their cells.
         This is a different hive from the one above. Most of the girls are still inside the hive.
It sure didn't take them long to know that someone came knocking at their door. This was a gentle hive and they didn't dive bomb us in the face like one did.
Checking to see how much brood, nectar, and pollen each frame have to determine what to make into another hive.
 Pretty healthy hive with all that brood capped.
 All that wax on the top had to come off.
 Long live the queen! I actually found this one on my own. Wasn't sure if I could locate the queen on my own. It took a lot of searching the frames but once I found her I knew it was the queen. All Bug and I have seen on the frames before is the workers. So much better looking at her in person rather than a book or video.
Another queen. Long live the queen! I like the way that sounds when it comes to a healthy hive. We are almost official beekeepers! We just need our packaged bees with the queen.
Wow! Those deeps and supers are heavy. It's only the spring build up. I can imagine what they will weigh in July now.
Bee feast going on getting all that stored honey and pollen out of all the wax that was getting removed from the top of the frames. Bug was fascinated with all the bee commotion going on. She found a front row seat and all the beekeeping work went out the door for her. She was glued to watching the frenzy of the girls.
I was a little disappointed that I couldn't get a good picture of the front of the hives. It's hard taking pictures with a net over your face. My photographer ran away after the girls started buzzing around. He didn't want anything to do with the beehives. He found the safety of the van. Little Man is avoiding all things with bees at this time. He not going to have much choice soon in our backyard. Unless he wants to play inside all summer.
My fearless beekeeper. She couldn't handle the bee suit anymore. Off with the top part of the suit, off with the gloves. She just kept her bottom of her suit on. She lasted for a good hour and half. That was a big amount of time with her sensory issues that she has. I can't imagine at home she would be suited up this long with just a few hives.
Not very smart. Yep, it stung her in the finger. She thought it was worth the pain. (It was an injured bee) We stepped away for a moment and removed the stinger and she returned to her front row seat and continued on. She found that the drones where more pleasant to handle. Except they flew away.
She decided it was a great joy to seat herself in front of the hives and enjoy the endless activities. I think she sat in the same place for almost and hour. She treasured every moment of watching the bees. So much activity going on in all the hives. For some reason this one was her favorite. Good thing as it was the gentle hive I talked about earlier. If you look at the other picture of her seating you will see that she is off to the side in front of a stack of blocks. She knows not to be directly in front of their front door. On the way home she talked about, "how amazing God is when you just observe His creation and that bees are a perfect statement of God's glory and life." Wow, pretty amazing how she sees our Creator in the smallest of things.
I think Bug took this picture while observing the hives.
Another healthy hive.
After awhile both kids went bug hunting and found some insects that Bug doesn't have in her 4-H entomology box. Yikes county fair is right around the corner!
This is all drone cells. You can even see the larva outside the cells. Interesting.
Another healthy thriving hive that is overflowing with bees, nectar, and pollen. Except this hive wasn't gentle. One got me in the leg. Ouch! Then they wouldn't leave me alone so I had to step away for a minute until the pheromones calmed down. I remained calm and didn't start swatting at them. I passed the test and remained calm with the sting! I can do this for my Bug!
I have no idea why I took this picture but, enjoy anyways.
I was pretty disappointed with these pictures also. I was wanting a clear picture of the entrance. Sweat, nets, and gloves are kind of difficult to take one or four times.

I may just have to wait until we get our hives to work on a better entrance picture.

It was a full day and I was exhausted. My legs feel like jello, my sting hurts, and I am tired. It was so hands on and informative. We learned more than any other time we have went out to someone's hives. Much better than a book to get out and work the hives. Bug was a happy girl. Little Man thought it was the worst day ever. 

One the way home we had a major blow out on my tire. The whole thing was shredded and we only had an hour plus drive back to Wichita. I had two Samaritans stop and help me put on my spare tire. Thank you Lord as I didn't have the strength or energy to change it and I found out the strange places that they have spare tires on vans. I managed all that before my two Samaritans stopped to help.

Let's say it one more time-Long live the queen or maybe I should rephrase it to long live the queens!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful wonderful wonderful!! Thank you for sharing. And I agree bug..."How amazing God is when you just observe His creation and that bees ARE a perfect statement of God's glory and life."


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