Wow! This season has been a roller coaster of a ride for not only our bees but for us as well. It seems as if the weather changes from one day to the next, with temperatures ranging in the 70s for a few days to bone chilling wind and rain the next. It’s no wonder we are all a bit confused. Our observation hive that we have in our shop has the best of bee worlds. First of all, it is inside the building which means it’s nice and warm and since it is glass enclosed we are able to view the inner workings of hive activity. We had thought it would be a good idea to move the bees from the Observation Hive into a more traditional hive in our bee yard but our window of opportunity to move them never came about because of the fluctuation in weather. We felt it would be more stressful for them so it was decided that we would over winter them in the hive at the shop. In the winter months the hive actually slowed down but as soon as it became warmer outside we saw an increase of activity. The queen was not as lethargic and began to lay eggs and we saw more and more brood (baby bees waiting to be born).
With all of the brood, we then found we had an increase in the bee population and it became a bit crowded. It is a strong hive and decided we would move some of the frames into one of the hives that was showing signs of not being as strong in our bee yard. That in itself is a huge undertaking. If you see us late in the evening, in our bee suits, moving a massive glass enclosed wooden hive full of bees on Davis Street you’ll know that we are either taking the hive to clean off the wax that is on the glass or to move some of the bees. The next morning very early before anyone is about we then move the hive back into the shop, once again donning our bee suits and moving them back to their home. We often times have bees that are left inside the tunnel and have stayed there until our return, once the hive is back on its pedestal those bees can then return to the hive. We are very careful when we move them so that any openings can be closed thus allowing no bees to escape into the shop, even the ones in the tunnel!
The hive is doing well and a few days ago when it was warm we were able to view the workers bringing in pollen and doing their bee dance. The queen is truly regal and can be seen doing her queen thing. When she is on the move, they get out of her way. Watching her lay eggs is exciting and the activity of the hive itself is truly mesmerizing and I have had people spend up to an hour just watching the bees.
It is such a great education tool and when talking to large groups I find myself becoming somewhat passionate about the plight of these awesome little creatures. If you haven’t had a chance to see them stop by, say hello and be ready to be fascinated.