Monday, June 15, 2009

Checking out the bees

Alan and I took advantage of a morning when Cooper was at Miss Brenda's house (the daycare) to go officially introduce ourselves to the bees.

Alan is opening the hive and using a smoker to blow smoke on the bees. It's supposed to calm them. Or maybe just make them move away from where you are. I'm not entirely sure, but frankly it just seemed to hack them off a bit.

My magic beekeeping hat and veil. To be honest, I was terrified. And of course all the books say that bees can smell fear. Fabulous. (Hey... maybe that's what the smoke does! Hides the "fear" smell!)

This is the first story of our hive. The wooden slats are the tops of frames (check out next picture) where the bees hang out -- lay eggs, build their comb for honey, do other bee things.

It took a bit of nervous work (though surely we'll get better at this!) to pry out one of the frames. We're supposed to be looking for the queen, newly laid eggs or developing larvae, and pollen/honey work.

And you can see all three of those things in this picture. Our Queen Cleo is there -- can you find her? She's got a longer body than the other bees, and it doesn't look as striped. And the pods in the bottom center/left of the photo are orange pollen caps. And then in the lower right of the photo (six or seven circles in from the right edge of the photo) are small white larvae.Success. So far, we haven't screwed up anything major!
And for those of you keeping score at home, the tally is Emily - 0 and Alan - 1 (bee sting, that is).


Anonymous said...

Very cool. Although I'm happy to live vicariously through the two of you. Amazing how they can build a symetrical hive.


Karen said...

Ooh, I think I see her. Top left quadrant, right?

Wow, I didn't realize you could get hives already staffed with worker bees, etc. I guess I thought you had to start from scratch? In any case, you guys are very brave! I can't wait to see more about this project. And sign me up for some honey when the time comes. (I'll gladly pay for it!)

Anonymous said...

I can't see Queenie!


Anonymous said...

Interesting! I found the queen!