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Bzzzz. Bzzzz.

You may remember that in my last blog I reported the imminent arrival of our honeybees. They are here – the drones, the workers, and of course, Her Royal Majesty, the Queen. They are quite active already. I can see them flying in and out of the hive from my office window. Chad chose a spot along the old Interurban railroad line that is nice and sunny.

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It’s also generally out of view to some degree and less likely to be disturbed by staff and visitors. The bees are not aggressive but if you mess with them they are defenders of their territory. The honey is so sweet but the stinger is so sharp.

Tuesday Chad did the first inspection of the hive. This requires a wee bit of prep. You don’t go in with street clothes, at least not the first time. Here’s Chad all suited up for the inspection. Notice the smoker at his feet. The smoke calms the bees somehow. Maybe that explains why so many humans are addicted to cigarettes.

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First Chad removed the sugar water that has been a supplemental food source to the bees as they get established.

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Smoking the hive.

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Removing the outer cover.

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Removing the inner cover. Without the inner cover the bees would try to fill all the space between the box and the outer cover with honeycomb. It also provides some ventilation for the hive.

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Chad gingerly removing a frame filled with honey comb, bee larvae, honey, and BEES.

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I can almost taste the honey. Ooooo, a taste of honey!

Here Chad is carefully inspecting a frame. He’s looking to see if the Queen is laying eggs (YES), checking for any signs of disease, and in general making sure all is well in the hive.

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Still looking it over closely here.

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Where’s the honey? I want the honey! Honey. Honey.

Just as Chad needs to be careful removing the frames, he must be just as careful returning them. It’s easy to crush a bee if you rush and that goes against the idea of building the colony.

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Here’s a shot of a frame filled with hard working bees. Can you spot the Queen? Be nice.

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I still want a taste of honey. (video 3)

As he ended the inspection Chad got a little suspicious of some activity in his pant’s leg. It was a false alarm fortunately. 12

Now I know some of you might think all this dance music is strictly for my enjoyment. Oh but you are so wrong. Bees dance as well. It is essential for their very survival in fact. They do ”the waggle dance”. Don’t believe me?

Honey bees have been suffering from several problems in recent years. Colonies can up and disappear almost overnight. Sometimes an entire hive dies. It’s called Colony Collapse Disorder. I won’t go into detail but you can find info at many sites including Purdue University’s The Bee Hive and the USDA. Being one that always tries to find some humor or happy in any situation I was glad to find Help the Honeybees, a website created by Haagen-Dazs (ice cream!). I love their videos of “bees” dancing. It’s a fun way of sending a serious message.

If you are interested in going to Bee School like Chad did checkout the Indiana State Beekeepers Association. Lastly, let me dedicate this song to all the bees in our hive and all the worker bees in our division dedicated to making a good home for our colony.

Filed under: Horticulture

4 Responses to “Bzzzz. Bzzzz.”

  • avatar
    Ed Says:

    Great post, Irvin! Trying to spot the queen reminds me of Where’s Waldo? Would the queen really be out there where the others are building the honeycomb, or would she be deeper inside the hive?

  • avatar
    Rebecca U. Says:

    Wow, this is so cool! GO IMA Horticulture! Please do post updates about this project.

  • avatar
    Jeff Says:

    Very interesting Irvin. Who took the photos (and from how far away?)

  • avatar
    irvin Says:

    Ed, thanks so much. She could be there.

    Rebecca, I agree, GO IMA HORTICULTURE! Will update.

    Jeff, I took the photos. At first farther away and then as I watched I got closer. Stood right next to Chad at 2nd inspection yesterday (17th). They really pretty much go about their business if you don’t move herky-jerky.

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