Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hot weather and touchy bees

I have decided to give some honey back to the bees. I haven't taken any from them, but had a couple of quarts from the cut out back in June and finally decided that it is better to give to the bees than let sit around in my kitchen. I want to encourage the girls in Machado to draw out all the comb in the upper hive body and get strong enough to survive the winter. I haven't been real involved in their feeding and storing, preferring to leave them to their own devices rather than give them syrup and pollen to stimulate them into action. They won't take pollen at this point, and there is plenty around in the garden, so I will leave them to that, but I thought I might give them a few pounds of honey to keep them from repurposing the wax foundation on the outer frames. They take it eagerly, so I'll keep giving it until it has run out. Now I feel bad for having thrown away as much of it as I did (upwards of 10-15 pounds.)
A couple of days ago CJ was in the garden and got a bee in her bonnet. She called me as I was on my way to work to inform me that she was stung on the top of the head. I had to go home and remove the stinger because EJ was too scared and CJ couldn't see it. It was right on the crown of her head. I got the stinger out and applied some Denver's Sting Stop that a friend gave me after the last sting. For the record, I didn't have it until 36 hours after I was stung, so it was useless for me, but I applied it to CJ's head. Her reaction wasn't as great as mine, but neither was her reaction when she got stung between the eyes. She still felt the pain from the sting for several hours, so I don't know if the stuff works. I'd rather not coax a bee into stinging me just to find out, but we have it on hand now just in case.
It's hot these days, with temperatures in the mid 90s and humidity is higher as well. The girls in both colonies are working hard on their own AC and the higher temps and humidity make them a little more touchy. I was able to open the top cover of Machado yesterday afternoon and pour some honey on the inner cover without feeling threatened at all, but the flurry of activity right in and around the garden combined with the recent sting on CJ's head has chased her and the kids all into the house. I may be forced to relocate the bees if they continue to monopolize the yard.

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