Did you know that...

  • ...about 90 U.S. crops depend on bees for pollination?
  • ...many hives are trucked from region to region for pollination purposes?
  • ...honeybee health is threatened by, among other things, mites?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Bees Herded Here!

So anyway, the next step was to let the little buzzers settle down a bit and trickle down into the hive box. This box, by the way, is what will soon become the "Brood Box" or "Brood Chamber" and is where the queen will very shortly start laying eggs to begin the rearing of many new bees.

Once the cloud of bees began to simmer down, I carefully placed the "Inner Cover" on the top of the hive so as not to crush the new arrivals. The inner cover, for me, is simply a board with a hole in the center that allows the bees another entrance and exit from the hive. The inner covers that are purchased commercially are simply "glorified" boards with holes in them.

Now, thanks to Global Warming, our outdoor daytime high temperatures this year have been consistently running only about five to ten degrees below normal for this time of year.

Without going into all the particulars on that, it simply means that the fact that it's April 18th and it's snowing outside as we speak will probably keep the girls inside the hives until who knows when.

Therefore, it was important that I made sure to install a feeder with some syrup on all three hives the other day. Actually, this is something I always do anyway to be sure that the startup of a new hive is successful. Give 'em some carbs to keep their energy levels up while they're in the process of hauling in their first batch of groceries.

Once the inner cover and the feeder are on the hive I put an empty deep hive box on top in order to "house" the feeder. This also keeps out the weather so that the bees can come up out of the hive into a sheltered space to draw syrup.

Now, just before I put the "Outer Cover" on the top of it all, I took care of one other detail. It's very important that the hive has an upper entrance and exit.

With what I've described thus far, you can see that the bees get up through the inner cover into the feeder space. But if I had simply slapped the outer cover on top, there would be no opening to the outside.

So what I did was place a "bee space" block on the top edge of the feeder house to hold up the outer cover just enough to allow bees passage in and out. This also allows for a measure of hive ventilation which is also extremely important.

One thing I probably should have mentioned long ago is that whereas most beekeepers use what's known as "10-frame" equipment (meaning 10 frames, or "combs," per hive box), I primarily use "8-frame" equipment. All that to say that my hives are a little narrower than what folks usually see out there. This allows for the effective use of the "bee space block" that I've just described. I'm able to do it this way because with the narrower hive bodies, there is more clearance between the box and the telescoping lip of the outer cover.

So, this is what herding bees looks like. If you should have any questions I'd be more than happy to try addressing them for you. I hope to have the capability for you to contact me on the site here before too long.

But for now, I'm going to watch it snow. Thanks for visiting!

Signing off,

Bees Keeper

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