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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Smokin' the Bees

I reek. From smoke. But, I did find out the hive is doing okay.

After dinner, I ventured outside to do some gardening. I looked over at the hive and noticed lots of bees outside the hive like I'd seen the other day. Many were coming and going, too, and across the street, I could see quite a few (at least I think they were some of my bees) sort of in a swirling flying pattern. Thankfully, they were maybe 25 or 30 feet in the air, so they weren't going to harm anyone walking by. I decided to go ahead and check the hive to see if anything was amiss inside, like hive beetles. I've been reading up on what could be making the bees act like petulant children, and hive beetles is one of them. I really didn't want to see beetles.

So I donned my awesome astronaut bee suit, stoked the smoker until I had a good stream of smoke floating in the air (actually, I think I went overkill on the smoke--but it did what it's supposed to do), and went to work. Removing the super was easy, and right away, I could tell there wasn't much happening there. That's the part of the hive where the honey I'll take will be created. As of right now, there isn't any. I was a little bummed in seeing this, but I figured from the get-go that this summer I may not get any honey for us. Looks like I was right.

When I went into the box under the super, I could see lots of action happening there. I pulled out a frame from the middle of the box, a frame covered in comb. I checked a couple of the other frames and saw the same thing. What I should have done but didn't was switch the covered frames for those with no comb on them that are on each end of the box. I definitely am going to go back in and do this soon. The good news is I saw no beetles. Just busy, busy bees doing what they're supposed to be doing.

After inspecting that box, I wanted to get at the bottom box. I used my pry tool to loosen the edges of the box, but when I tried to pick it up, I couldn't. It's just too heavy with the comb covering the frames. I now am in a pickle. How am I going to get that box off the one under it? I think I'm going to have to call someone who is much more experienced with beekeeping than I am to come help me.

Seeing that everything seems to be going the way it should be in the hive makes me feel a lot better. I did some more reading after checking the hive, and one article said rainy weather accompanied by heat and high humidity will agitate bees. I'm thinking this might be the reason my bees have seemed so active. We certainly have had rainy, hot, humid weather. Hopefully, the weather will calm down and in response, so will the bees.

The next time I go into the hive, I'll try to get some pictures. The honeycomb is so cool to see, and the fact that the bees have created as much as they have in just 7 weeks is truly something.

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