Summer Time Bees

The cool weather is past so I took off their small winter storm door – just in time as it was getting very crowded (I think the 25 day hatching period is now bearing fruit)

They like to hang out at their new wide door.

This is the early morning scene with the full width door, and they slowly start to stir when the temperature gets above 50 F.

Fritz from Ohio Dept of Agriculture came to inspect:

Note the bare hands. Fritz says “here, hold this” and I do.

He scrapes off some larger drone cells with their white pupae and dumps them.  We only want female worker bees and not lazy drones who only wait around to impregnate stray queens and do no other work.

We passed the inspection: no sign of disease – that’s good because Fritz has the power to burn the hive if needed!

As the weather gets warmer there are usually 2 or 3 fanning bees standng at the entrance with wings at full speed putting fresh air into the hive.

Having been run over so many times by incoming workers loaded with pollen (visible on hind legs) and nectar inside them, the fanning bees have at last learnt to safelyhang out over the door way while the workers return under them:

I offered them my 2 exotic orchids which are blossoming again after a long quiet winter, but the bees just flew past and didn’t even sniff them. Perhaps the flower does look a little menacing.On Fritz’s advice we bought lots of flowering annuals, including Impatiens, and perennials like Anis Hyssop and Cone Flower, but the bees seem to prefer to fly high when they leave for work.  (Locust, Pear and Walnut are in blossom but I don’t see bees on them) . The book says they like Dandelion. Somewhere they are getting pollen but I know not where. I should not have spent the last 8 years pulling those Dents de Lion.

Pollen and Comb

Workers have been returning with different colours of pollen. They seem to gather one colour at a time, presumably only from one plant or tree, rather than mixing their drinks. I have looked but cannot find a flower with this colour pollen. Any suggestions as to what flower it might come from?

The good news is that the Queen ate her way out through the candy door to her cell, and joined her subjects.

The bad news is that the workers are building combs (first inspection 5/1) everywhere as well as on the nice (expensive) wooden frames I have installed for them.  Now, 5/7, this “Burr Comb” has a yellow tint showing they’ve coated it with a little Propylis or glue. In the bottom of some cells I now see the first “C” shaped pupae starting to hatch.

The other good news is that we are now in the beeswax business.