Thursday, June 5, 2008

The photographer deserves hazard pay...

Sometimes I should be content to leave well enough alone, but that's just not part of my nature.
I got home from work this evening at about 5 and thought for some reason that it would be good to get into the hives and inspect them. Of course, beekeeping guidelines recommend you get into the hive in the middle of the day when most of the foragers are out of the hive, but I had to work today and figured 5 pm is still light enough for the majority of the bees to be out on their errands.
I also wanted a few pictures of the bees to examine them a little closer and make the blog a little more interesting, so I enlisted CJ's help. I was the lucky one because I got to wear the suit and veil.
After getting Machado open and finding Capitolina, CJ got closer to get video of new bees emerging from their cells when a bee got into her face/hair/personal space and...#!$*#&$! She got stung between the eyes.
Can you believe she actually stopped to photograph herself with the stinger still in her skin? She tweezed the stinger out (she swears she didn't hear me tell her to scrape it out) and then photographed the offending stinger.

I didn't immediately rush to her aid because I was still holding the frame with Capitolina on it and didn't particularly want to endanger her more than I did my dear wife, so I left CJ to fend for herself. (It's a good thing she loves me like she does.)
I did find some great things, though. Here's a closeup of worker brood. It looks pretty good, it's all brand new comb as you can tell by the white wax.
I am happy to see good brood pattern on this frame. They all look like this. At first I was intrigued by the lines of empty cells, but realized that those cells are where the wire runs down the middle of the foundation. The other side of the frames are identical. Not surprisingly, the wire is crimped and where it protrudes into the foundation, the queen has determined that it is unacceptable for her precious eggs. I don't suppose I'd leave my children in an unsuitable nursery, so she must be a good mother...
Capitolina is on this frame, can you find her? There are also brand new bees emerging from their cells on this frame. (This is what CJ was trying to video when she got stung.)
I was also into Shakespeare and the girls in that colony are quite a bit more aggressive. They have propolized all of the top bars together and have done a fine job drawing out several top bars of crooked comb and several bars of straight comb. Hmm. I am still not sure what I'll do about them. I still haven't seen Portia, but I can see larvae through the observation window, so I am assuming she's in there and laying. It is on old comb, though, so those eggs may have come with the colony from the cut out. Only time will tell.
Here are some pictures of the girls from the different hives.
These are the girls from Shakespeare.
These are Machado's girls.
Can you tell any difference? It's difficult to see them this way, especially because you can't compare size, but I swear I can see the difference when I am working with them. Maybe I am just crazy...


vfg said...

Gorgeous combs.

You keep talking about opening hives to get a little wax--is that related to your beekeeping or just for a little batik on the side?

I am, of course, already lusting after beeswax & will pay or trade in kind :)


Scott said...

Thanks for the compliment. I needed wax for the top bar hive, no batik... As it so happens, the Shakespeare colony is in a hive that allows the bees to draw out new comb each time I harvest the honey, thus giving me beeswax AND honey. I have a lot of wax comb from the colony removal that I will melt down and keep on hand for hive projects, but would be happy to barter beeswax with you.