Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sunny Day with an Observation Hive

A fellow beekeeper who is a very talented carpenter built us an observation hive.

Whenever we put up a table at an event or attend a school Dad and I do our best to educate the public about bees.

We want them to know the differences between the yellow jacket which they're well acquainted with and the friendly honey bee.

We want to let them know about the problems beekeepers are experiencing with pesticides in corn and soya beans.
We set out a petition from the OBA and people are signing it without question.  The bee problems have been in the news so much that people know a great deal about it.

On Thanksgiving weekend, Dad and I set up a table at Fanshawe Pioneer Village.  If the weather is good we bring the observation hive that fits a deep and a medium super frame.

We've been learning as we go with using this hive.  One thing is that the frames that go in the hive can't be fat ones or the bees will get pinned against the plexi-glass.  It's hard to find narrow frames to use.

So far I have not taken the queen.  In summer I'll select a frame with some brood but I don't want to risk my hive losing a queen to stress so I make sure she stays at home.  People don't seem to mind that she's not there.

Normally we're in the shade or part sun when we set up but on this occasion we had to put up under our canopy in the sun.  Due to the sun's angle we didn't get any shade until late afternoon.  It didn't take long until the was on the deep began to melt the wax.  Yikes!

We quickly moved the hive into the shade.

When we first set up there were two or three stray bees flying around outside the observation hive.  They could smell the honey.  But once it melted the bees outside were quick to put their tongues in the cracks at the bottom to lick up the honey.
And then they went home and told their sisters.  And they came too.
Lesson learned.  Even though it was not a hot day the observation hive can heat up quickly in the sun even though it has ventilation holes.  What is interesting is that the bottom deep frames had newer and thinner wax.  The upper super frame had thicker older wax aged to a golden brown.  The upper frame with the old wax didn't melt at all.
It was great for education.  I sat beside the hive all day and explained.  People were not afraid which was awesome to watch.

Of course the bees behaved.  It was a lovely sunny day in October and they had some honey to eat.

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