Monday, 12 June 2017

Hives Update

Here's a nice pic of the Apiary terrace where we keep the bees.

I had a look inside all four of the hives, not so much a hive inspection as a hive observation.  I just look at the activity outside the hive for a couple of minutes and then take a peak through the observation windows.  I'm starting with the pollenbee hive at the far end which is PB2, then backwards to HB2, HB1 and finally PB1. and working my way along.

Pollenbee Hive No2 (PB2)

The bees in this first pollenbee hive are a new colony that moved in this Spring 2017.  However the comb had been built by the previous colony to occupy the hive.  A positive observation, a sign of colony growth, would be the development of new comb.  If this hasn't begun, it may be because there is simply no need for new comb just yet, or perhaps there are no bees in the colony of the right age to be producing wax from their wax glands.

In the photograph above the ridge of comb looks roughened up and discoloured.

You can see the same thing on the edges of a lot of the comb,

The photo graph below shows a wide frame shot of the East window.  You can just about make out the wet looking cells of honey that run diagonally down, right to left, the central section of the photo.

A close up of the comb shows some beautiful patchwork colours.  These hexagons of orange and yellow and green and blue are cells on the other side of the comb filled with different coloured pollen.

Some of the cells, the darker coloured ones perhaps, could even contain honey, but it's hard to say for sure.  It's a positive sign that the bees are filling up there cells.

I'm always encouraged to see pollen coming in to the hive.  It's one of the most obvious things to observe, it's rate of arrival, the colour of the bees pollen sacs and the amount on them.

I have observed that the pollen bearers always head for this section of the hive, and start walking up the column when they get to the corner.  Orange coloured pollen, big sacks.

The bee below has a very pale greyish pollen, and not such a large quantity.

Honeybee Hive No2 (HB02)

There's not alot going on in the No2 honeybee hive, the queen was not reproducing and so she has been removed to make way for a new one.

Honeybee Hive No1 (HB01)

Honeybee hive 1 is a really active hive, and appears to be flourishing.  Compare the flight activity of the two honeybee hives in the rather poor video.

In the below photograph you can see a honey super with six honey frames.  You can see the queen excluder, the piece of wire mesh on the right hand side.  This prevents the queen laying brood in the comb above.

In all of these photos you can see small bits of wild comb the bees have made.  These used to line up with the frames, but the frames got moved about a bit in a recent inspection.

In the following two photos I was trying to get a shot of the comb.  It's clear when you see inside that the starter comb has been developed by the bees and the cells are filling with honey.

Pollenbee Hive No1 (PB01)

Oh it's so embarrassing being on video... but it's a good little vid to show you how the pollenbee hives work.

While Pollenbee hive 2 shows a colony in early stages of development, Pollenbee hive 1 is fully mature.  You can see how packed it is.

East View:

South view - you can compare this with the photos from previous posts.  The bees have now capped nearly half of this comb.  It's interesting that they have been working from the top down.  Does this always happen with bees?

At the top of the comb, where the honey is capped, you only find female workers.

At the bottom of the comb you find a mixture of female workers and male drones.

The West view has been massively reinforced since the last post.  It is interesting that the bees leave very few passageways between the combs.  In the space at the bottom right hand corner of the window the coverage of comb is at it's least.  I've been trying to get some photos of this region because I'm sure there are queen cells being built here.

The bees don't seem to want to get out of the way to let me get a picture of them.

I can't say I blame them.

Oh, hello, here's a pretty close up of the face of a drone.

I think they're slightly easier to make out in this video.  It would be nice to know what you think?  If they are queen cells does this mean we can expect the colony to swarm?

That's all folks!

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