Although most children are afraid of bees, I was that little girl chasing them with my camera, from flower to flower. My passion for bees started at a very young age. To this day, I find myself following large bumbles, throughout the gardens.
I feel bless to have a carpenter bee (xylocopa virginica) nest in one of our retaining wall. Although most would panic, I am filled with joy! These huge bumbles are just fabulous! They feed on pollen and nectar, while nesting in tunnels and in dead wood.
There are no queens in the colony. The dominant females are responsible for reproduction, foraging and nest construction.
It looks like the Miss Kim Lilacs are a hit with these fuzzy friends!
I have to admit, I am like a kid in a candy store waiting each week to open the hives for inspection. This week, I was feeling a bit nervous, after not locating Queen Thelma during last week’s inspection. I only take so much time looking for her, for my goal is to have the hives open for less than 15 minutes each. 15 minutes is such a short amount of time, especially when I just want to sit and observe these amazing creatures for hours!
After smoking the hive (to calm the bees), the frames are removed one by one for inspection. I am always on the lookout for eggs. If there are eggs present, the queen is not only alive, but doing her job successfully! This makes me feel more relaxed, if the Queen decides to not make her presence known. By this week, I was hoping to find more honey, capped honey and pollen towards the top 1/3 of the center frames. Eggs, larvae and capped brood should be found on the remaining sections, of the center frames
As you can see in the photo, the white area, at the top of the frame is the capped honey. The open areas toward the top are filled with honey. The deep yellow filled cells are pollen.
What to Expect When Inspecting
The bottom 2/3 of each frame is where the eggs, larvae and capped brood (pupa) can be located. By the 5th week, it will be time for new bees to emerge from the capped cells. They will chew their way through the cells and crawl out. I can hardly wait to witness this miracle!
I was so excited to observe Queen Thelma! That woman is non-stop action! If you Follow “Growing Self” on Instagram, feel free to check out a video of Thelma from yesterday! I was not only excited to see the Queens, but see that the inner 5 frames were filled, in both hives! The worker bees have started to draw out more of the foundation, in the remaining 5 frames. Both hives are thriving!
By next week, if 7 of the 10 frames are filled, it will be time to add a second deep hive body, holding another 10 frames. I can hardly wait!
“The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others.”
Each Wednesday, I open our two new hives for inspection. `I have been so excited for this day to come, knowing that week 2 would bring lots of fabulous changes, in the hives!
Here are some of the questions I have been pondering:
-Would I spot the queen, in each hive?
-Would there be larvae?
-Would there be capped brood? (the final stage of the bees’ metamorphosis)
-Would there be a crescent of pollen, with nectar or capped honey above that?
So many things to look for! Take a look at what I discovered…
Although I did not see Thelma, our queen bee, from our 1st hive, I am not worried at this point. There were eggs present in her hive, so I know she is around somewhere. Both hives were flourishing! Honey bees sure have one amazing work ethic. Within the next few weeks, all 9 frames will be filled and a new deep hive body will be added.
Until next week, remember…Just Bee-u-tiful! Check back next week, for another hive update!