June 18, 2008

Another peak inside

This is actually from the first peak, but while we're being patient and not intruding on the bees – part of the sustainable beekeeping thing – I thought I'd show you the false back and point out the propolis.

The false back is used to adjust the internal size of the hive. In the Spring, when the nectar starts to flow, the bees increase their population. More bees can gather more nectar, which is their goal in life. It's a selfless drive to make honey for the next generation. For Winter, they reduce their numbers (remember the poor drones?) to ensure the honey stores will last through 'til the next Spring.

Since the hive is made of wood, which expands and contracts, the false back isn't an exact fit. Bees don't like cracks, and they fill any crack they can find with propolis. If you click on the above image for an enlarged view, you can see the bits of gold stuff on the edges of the false back, and also where the Top Bars (removed for the shot) meet the sides. They're even propolising the seam on the right side of the entrance, which they favor for some reason.

We're not sure what the stuff on the bottom of the hive is. It looks like Sugar-in-the-Raw, so we're guessing it's crystalized nectar and tiny bits of wax. Anyway, propolis is very sticky, and any more might've been a problem for us. As it was, we didn't have to use the hive tool, but since I paid $32 for it (mostly because it's really cool looking) I'm sure we'll be using it.

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