Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Beekeepers Delight

Went out to the apiary this afternoon and did a quick check of the entrances of the two warre hives I have transfer boards on with Layens hives sat upside down upon. They are using both entrances, the bottom warre entrance and the top Layens entrance. I am monitoring them to see if the dynamics change from top to bottom as the brood nest migrates down. One of the hives is predominantly using the top entrance with just a few bees using the bottom. The other warre is about half and half. I shall close the top entrance when both hives are mainly using the bottom entrance.
I have noticed within the last two days all hives performing undertaker duties. Seems strange that they are all doing the same at the same time! Makes me wonder if some bees from each hive have been on something toxic!
I saw the first flying drone today so I think mid February through into April is pretty much my swarming season here. I visit the apiary several times a day so I shall be keeping a close eye out for swarms from now on.
I witnessed a couple of evenings ago a strange sight I had never seen before. It was dusk and the sun was just setting, I was looking at one of the warre's with the layens hives on when I noticed from the top entrance a bee come out seemingly carrying a drop of water. The sunlight was right behind it and it glistened brightly. I wasn't sure what I was seeing at first as the flap closure was partly covering the entrance. I suppose the bee could have been regurgitating the water but it didn't appear so. It did seem to be carrying it. The bee came out about a couple of centimetres then just shed the water onto the flap lid of the layens. I saw the water mark on the flap lid and touched it with my finger and smelled it. It was just water. So what was I seeing! I put it down to the fact that the sun was just going down and the temperatures dropping. The bees had been out all day collecting nectar from the almonds and spring flowers. The water was condensation from within the hive which the bees were getting rid of, either by regurgitation or by carrying. I am still learning new stuff about these amazing creatures even after all these years.
The almonds are still in blossom but are starting to tail of now, the first of the field poppies are out and the wild potentilla is full of white blossom. Warm days and cool nights............. a beekeepers delight!

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