A friend who is hosting some of our bees in an out-yard sent us a recording of some bee-acrobatics this afternoon. He slowed the video down — it’s so interesting to see them, but even more so to hear them, in slow motion. (The audio is so much better on my phone than on my laptop speakers.) As much time as we’ve spent watching the critters land, take off, and collide, we are still fascinated with this clip. In fact, it’s taken me far too long to type this small paragraph because I keep going back to watch the video again.
Other updates from today:
We are pretty sure we have a new queen. We saw her, and then lost her. She was on a packed frame and the bees were animated, so we moved that frame to a Nuc along with some brood, nectar, and honey, and we will check on them again mid-week. We didn’t see any eggs yet, so maybe we imagined a queen or maybe she hasn’t started laying yet.
The queen in our second strongest hive is laying at an incredible rate, so we filled the newly vacated slots in the queen castle with some frames from that hive — partly to try to grow another queen, but partly to discourage the lady from swarming.
The one worrisome hive in one of the out-yards had even fewer bees yesterday, so hubby evicted them and then gave them a twig to climb up to reach their new home in an established hive. As temperatures hovered around freezing last night with a wind chill that only made things worse, those guys probably would not have survived the night in their old hive. We still have no idea what happened to the queen. If we see evidence of a queen in the new Nuc, we’ll move that Nuc to the out-yard and shake some additional bees into it to get them off to a good start.
Our foster-parents are wonderful. One offered to build fires close to the hives to keep them warm last night, but hubby assured them that the bees would be able to stay warm enough on their own. We are so enjoying the interest that others are showing. I know we’re new at this ourselves, but we sometimes feel like old hands. We see both ourselves in these initiates and see how much we’ve learned in the past year. I’m still a little jumpy when bees are determinedly bumping into my veil, but I also think some of that is due to my going cross-eyed as my bi-focals try to focus concurrently on the bee, the veil, and the frames that are all at different distances!