Wednesday, September 30, 2009

ready for battle

Yes, I tucked my pant legs into my socks, geek that I am. I was not interested in bees flying up my pants. This was my first visit out to the bees after being stung 9 times at once, so you can understand that I was taking every precaution. Including wearing my husband's winter gloves. Yes, now I have to wash them because they're sticky. It was worth it. I think I would have been stung otherwise, judging by the number of stingers I saw ready to strike, and the bees that were crawling on the gloves.

I opened the lid, and there were about 20 bees there with their stingers in the air, just daring me to come any closer. There were others around too, but they weren't as protective. Most of them were moving very very slowly, due to the cold I imagine. There was no activity at the hive entrances when I got there. But when I left - the one hive had bees around the entrance, so I must have stirred them up enough to take a look around outside for a bit.

Here's the end frame of one of the hives. The other side is mostly filled with capped honey. The other end frame is fuller on both sides, so I was happy about that! I want them to be all filled before winter. When I looked down into the bottom brood box, it looked like one end frame didn't have anything on the outside yet. I couldn't do anything about it, though, because I couldn't lift the top brood chambers off the bottom ones! Even with trying to pry with my hive tool, I couldn't budge them. I'm considering using single brood chambers only next year, for ease of use. And because I'm a weakling....

Anyway, the other hive was chock-full, so I was happy with those girls. They turned out alright after all. I was worried initially because they were populating the colony really well, but didn't seem to be making honey. Now, it looks like it's mostly honey they've got going on, so they're taking care of themselves. Of course this is all judging by what I could see just taking off the covers. I tried and tried and tried to pull out some frames, but only succeeded in breaking a frame. And even that one wouldn't come out.

So... I'm procrastinating. I will leave them be for the winter, and deal with it in the spring, when I want to split the chambers anyway. How's that for an executive decision?