Sunday, June 7, 2009

Honey Bee Orientation

It was great to see the drones coming out and orienting themselves before flying off to try to find a queen to mate with.

They are quite a bit bigger than the worker bees and much louder. In fact, they sound like a bumble bee. I found them easier to spot when flying because they have really long legs that hang down.

I wondered how the drones would locate the local 'drone congregation areas'. Since these bees have been brought in from out of town they don't know the area at all. I'm assuming they will use their sense of smell to locate the spots as well as their keen eyesight.

The bees were coming back today with white, yellow and orange pollen. I hope they've found sources of nectar as well.

I also noticed a bee posted outside the hive late in the afternoon fanning like crazy.

It wasn't that hot today (22 degrees Celcius) so I think it was releasing a home pheramone scent.

If not, then it would have been a lone bee fanning to cool the hive.

Until the hive feeder is removed and I get a chance to test it to see if it leaks, the reason for the sugar syrup leakage is a mystery.

My bottom board is pretty sticky (how on earth will I get that cleaned up?) but the good news is that it doesn't appear that more syrup leaked since yesterday because my Varroa Mite sticky board was dry.

I debated what to do to resolve the issue. If it was leaking I didn't want to add more syrup.

I didn't want to disrupt the hive so instead of removing the feeder, I used paper towel to sop up the little nectar that remained and left it there so the bees could walk on it. Otherwise they'd drown in it.

Then I added a zip lock baggie filled with syrup. I laid the baggie flat and then slit it open with a razor blade. Finally I removed the metal box which blocked the bees from having access to the whole box so that when they came up through the little holes they could access the baggie.

An hour later I peeked in the feeder and it was full of bees. I hope this will resolve the issue for a few days.

Later I'll remove the feeder and exchange it for a rim spacer and just use ziplock bags of syrup.

I realize that the queen could now access the feeder so I'll be watching for her and also to see if the bees distract themselves by trying to build comb in there.

Let's hope they don't and instead occupy themselves down below building combs on the frames I gave them.

I noticed both yesterday and today at around 3:00 that both hives got very active with several hundred bees flying in front orienting themselves. Then by 4:00 things had settled down to a regular flow in and out.

The hives are in partial shade and it was an overcast day today so I don't know if it was the heat of the day or if they have a schedule for nurse bees to come out for a bit of a fly around and orientation.

These are the flowers that are in bloom at the moment in the swamp:

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