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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a Master Beekeeper! Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.


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Thursday, May 04, 2006

The beekeeper as the Grim Reaper

Yesterday I opened both hives to check on the bees. There was lots of activity in both hives.

Destin had fully drawn the lower hive body with capped honey on the two side frames. However, I did see capped brood cells in the center frames

In the upper medium, there were lots of bees hard at work. The center five frames were being drawn out. There was uncapped honey and pollen in the cells. It was fun to see the deep orange pollen cells (looked like the yolk of a yard egg) and I had seen the bees coming in to the hive with bright orange pollen.

I didn't see any eggs but I am using white foundation and was somewhat uncomfortable to hold and examine the frames for too long. I did not see the queen.

Bermuda was less drawn out and less active but still tons of bees. I did not see the queen but did see capped brood. They were not happy about my presence. I guess the alarm goes out when you open the first hive and the second one is on alert.

When I put each hive back together I killed bees. It's so easy to squash them.

The bee forum contributors made a couple of suggestions that may help the next time - one to put the front edge of the super on the back edge of the hive body and slide it forward like a bulldozer so that the bees can get out of the way, rather than die. The other was to put the super on catty corner so that it is only in contact with the lower hive body at the four corners and then gradually sliding the hive circularly into place, sliding bees off as you go in the bulldozer fashion.

When I finished, one little bee was caught by the leg at the front of one of the hives because I hadn't seen her and didn't have the new method (see above). Two of her buddies were trying to help - or give her the last rites - I don't know which! I lifted the hive off of her and she fell to the base. When I went out about ten minutes later she was gone - either recovered and flew away or the housekeeping bees disposed of her body.

The Grim tasks of beekeeping.

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