Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Bee yard, my first swarm & garden finds

What a week this has been. From heat to snow and back again mixed with odd activity in the Bee yard, there has not been a lack of activity. Lets start from the beginning.
Last week I was out mowing the back and stopped my mower in the area by the beehive. Went inside to grab a water & came back to find the Bee's were up to something big. The sound of their buzzing met me before I even topped the hill drive. There was a cloud of Bee's off to the right of my single hive and thousands of Bee's "bearding" in front of it. I initially thought due to the drastic rise between freezing evening temps to almost 80 {F} in the mid afternoon, they were doing what is called Cooling off on the front porch. Also making me think that extra high Pollen we have been enduring caused a surge in brood. Potentially making the cloud of bee's an orientation flight for the newbies. Or so I thought as I went down the check list of possibilities.
Their Bearding I found:

And for those of you who like a little live action heres a 35 second video clip. My first time using video on the DSLR Camera {mind you, the mic on my camera is on the backside and did not pick up the intense Buzz going on}

With all the action happening, I feared a swarm. To the best of my knowledge they did not swarm that day since we went back to freezing temps and rain until yesterday. It is very possible to have happened with a newly made queen. I know my hive is exceptionally strong and filled to the brim with Honey so at this point, I can only guess. . But I am getting ahead of myself. Back to yesterday. Panda was home with Strep and I made her come outside in the sunshine while I finished remodeling the Bee Yard. As I shoveled wood chips of which I got 2 dump loads worth free from the tree trimmers down the road, I hear her say "Mooom, there's a bunch of Bee's over here." Pointing about 20 feet to the right of our Hive. I walk over to find a swarm of bee's clustered onto a wild rose cane just 1 foot off the ground. THIS is not good. I ordered a second complete Hive {Bee Free} for this very purpose and was not scheduled to pick it up until the 1st of May. The bee's in my hive were still bringing in Pollen which is telling me there is still a queen inside {confirmed later on}.
front side of swarm:

 Backside view of Swarm

So I dialed up a local guy from the beekeeper society and he was here in just 20 minutes with an empty frame box and all the gear for capturing a swarm.
Time to head out and catch my first Swarm!
This man has been a beekeeper for 46 years. Spending an afternoon with a pesky swarm {we had issues getting the Queen into the frame for a bit} made for a most informative & delightful day.
Eventually the swarm was boxed up and this kind Bee Keeper asked to have a look in my hive. It was FULL of Honey since I had not extracted their first Fall season. The downfall being there is not room for the honey to be made THIS flowering season. His solution? Bring me over a new super for them to fill. I will need another added on in about 2 months. He also brought me out a 1 box setup in case we have a swarm with another queen before I am able to pick up the new hive set up I ordered for pick up on the 1st of May.
He said my hive is stronger then any of his and my queen is still in there. He said that since the Bee's whom were going in had pollen on their legs showed they were collecting and not scouting for a new home.
As we awaited the swarm to finish walking into their new home {once the queen is in there, you can see them "walk" right in}. He took the swarm home and has made plans with helping me split our hive this year, utilizing a friends property miles away.
I rather like the looks of our Bee yard.

During all that excitement, we discovered a new addition in the Potter Shed. Seems by not getting that door on, our feathered friends found the Garden Hoe to be most enticing for their nest building.

No eggs in there, much to the dismay of the children but much relief to me. I NEED my tool holding shed this time of year and truly can not have boarders holding it hostage.
I leave for Texas on the first weekend in May. My little brother has been stationed to a base in Maryland. I am flying in to help them drive the distance from their current location since my sister in Law is now expecting. I am going to have a niece!! Soon, I will have my little brother, his wife and soon my niece within a day trip distance. LOTS of road trips to the East coast are in our future.
The Wine Cap mushrooms have been planted in 2 different spots. One in the backyard rock garden and a smaller ring under an old apple tree in the side yard.
This has become rather long so I best be off. Wishing you all.....
Sweet Dreams,


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