November 04, 2012

The Spyder and the Bee Tree

To finish today's ride, we decided to stop by the Delaney Farm Apiary. It's a short hike from the parking lot to the beeyard, but when a honey bee came to check out the Spyder – they love the yellow color it seems, which can be disconcerting as our helmets are yellow, too – I decided to look around the immediate area.

Sure enough, there was lots of activity by this knothole in a cottonwood, the sideways tree in the background of the photo above. I know it doesn't look like much is going on, but believe me. I stood in the flight path, sans helmet, to get this shot, and it was busy. The bees built some comb "warm way" across the entrance, which faces north.

At the beeyard, there are eleven hives, three of which have windows. A top bar hive, a Langstroth hive and this Warré hive were each started with a swarm this Spring. None of them looked to be thriving, and this one was just robbed out.
In this closer view of the landing board, you can see one bee that looks shiny. All her fuzz has been rubbed off from the rushing in and out to steal honey. Another robber waits for an opportunity at the edge of the landing board.
I don't know why none of the hives have entrance reducers on. Maybe the beekeepers are challenging their bees to be survivors. My bees at home were smart enough to propolize their entrances down, but still I put reducers on both hives. Each of my colonies got an unusual start, so I chose to assist them. If I'd restocked my hives with swarms, I probably would've intervened as well. I tend to have low expectations of swarms as their provenance is unknown. If you're a beekeeper, what do you do?

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