I took some videos last weekend. The ladies were in full force of fighting off robbers. They are trying to get ready for the winter and have no space for thieves. If you are interested in seeing some serious security guard work, check the links to YouTube.
Video 1: a 5 second long video that shows the quickest way to get rid of a robber. https://youtu.be/5vdw3e3MrWs
Video 2: Watch them push away the wasp. https://youtu.be/D3YjSsCtr4U
Video 3: If the intruder tries to fight back, they will lose. https://youtu.be/1bfmOlEROt4
Interesting fact: Bees rob other hives because their source for nectar is scarce. They tend to attack other weak hives so that they have a better chance of surviving.
Part of the whole “Save the Bees” thing is making sure they have food and water. But it’s nature! They can feed themselves, right? Wrong. At least not all the time. If it’s a particularly nice day- temperature is above 50, there’s a calmness in the air, and no signs of an upcoming storm; then the bees are ready to work. They will fly out in search of pollen and nectar, and bring it back to feed the brood. Unfortunately, there is less pollen in early spring, and there isn’t enough food to go around for all of the ladies. This is where bee food comes in. At this time of year, we feed the bees sugar syrup- 1 part sugar, 1 part water. They can suck up a gallon of this stuff in a little over a week.
I don’t expect other people to be ready with sugar water for your local bees, but having accessible fresh water is a great thing. Bees become easily dehydrated and may seek out water in less than pleasant places- like your pool, if you have one.
Bird baths are great for both birds and the bees. Put a couple rocks in there for them to land on and watch them drink. Then, pat yourself on the back for helping save the bees.
We did the spring inspection before picking up our new girls today. I knew they were active, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well they were doing. Those are some worker cells in the top left of this first photo. Can you find the queen?
There she is! She is seriously beautiful. Look how all of her workers are doting on her.
We had to pick up our package bees this afternoon, which meant we needed to clean out one of our dead hives. I chose this one. This is what it looks like when a colony starves over the winter.
Starvation causes them to drop directly to the bottom board. What was extra gross about this one, is the hive was tipped back a little due to the ground settling, and water gathered in the back of the bottom board. The scent of dead, moldy bees was absolutely foul. They sure had enough honey- in fact we are extracting honey from a few of the full frames they left behind. This was a weak colony, and I was not expecting them to survive.
Interesting fact: I did not get stung today, but I should have with all the time I spent harassing them.