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I love my bees

I came back from checking on my bees on Friday morning so, so happy. Bee keeping is a really calming, quiet and almost meditative practice. I am aware of my breathing, aware of my posture and where I am walking. The sound is calming to me...and maybe it helps that I'm inhaling a bit of that smoke too. Who knows.

At any rate, when I go to uncover the bees there is a special adrenaline that comes when you see that they are thriving. It's exciting. And it's so amazing. They've been working so hard since in the seven days since I saw them last. This picture below is the board directly under the white lid. There are always bees on this board, building comb.

This month has been so rainy, that my greatest challenge in bee keeping, has been finding dry kindling to light in the smoker. We had so many rainy days that Rory finally suggested I dry some pine needles in the oven at 250 for 20 minutes. I flipped it over half way through and the whole kitchen filled with a smell that was something of a cross between Christmastime and mud pies. But it totally worked. This stuff smoked like crazy.

In one of the books I read, way in the beginning, it recommended always starting with at least two hives, so you would have something to compare each hive against. The picture above is one hive and the picture below is my second hive. From the start the hive above seemed healthier. And we added a second box a whole week earlier than the bottom hive. And actually, I would admit that I probably should have waited even another week or so before I added the second box to the bottom hive.

It is as if this hive pictured below can't keep up. I think I overwhelmed those bees with too many frames, too soon. I'll be interested to see how they're doing in another week. This was also the hive that I found big ants swarming under the lid. It was so gross. Hopefully another week will show a healthier hive. But again, having the two hives to compare has been really helpful and quickened my own education.

And I'm learning fast. And mostly I am learning that I really, really love bee keeping.

Today I'll leave you with this fun fact:

When worker bees return to the hive, they tell the other bees where the flowers are by doing a little dance:

  • The Round Dance: If the bee walks in a circle, and then turns around and walks in a circle the other direction it means the food source is close by. The other bees go outside and fly in a circular pattern near the hive until they find the flowers. 
  • The Waggle Dance: This dance tells bees that a food source is far away. It also tells which way to fly. The dancing bee makes a figure eight. She waggles her body in the middle of the figure eight. If she waggles straight up, the other bees fly toward the sun. If she waggles to the left, the other bees fly to the left of the sun. If she waggles to the right, the other bees fly to the right of the sun.


Kristen said...

Seriously, these bee facts are crazy cool!! I'm super impressed by this stuff!

Anonymous said...

Love the close up shots of the bees!

where the hart is said...

Dennis Pope would be so proud of you. I can just imagine you two sitting in the program office talking about your bees together.

Becca Groves said...

Oh my word, I did not remember that Dennis kept bees! You are so right...I could talk about this topic for days!