I have had a great time with my first hive of bees and I have also learned a lot.
But some of the things I have learned, I learned too late.
One of my learning experiences was the occasion that I call "The Great Honey Disaster"
|If you click on this photo you can see the little grubs that are baby bees curled up in their cells.|
After I cut the first comb of honey into a pot, I went back to the hive only to find that the comb from the next bar had been torn enough on this hot day to cause it to come off its bar and collapse onto the floor of the hive.
It was a comb full of about 500 brood
and it fell on another 100 bees.
I didn't fully understand the magnitude of what had happened until I had scraped the comb up with my hands and put the hive back together. When you have nine or ten thousand bees flying around you have to work fast, with little time for introspection.
After I got the hive shut back up and my bee hat off, so I could see better, I felt sick when I looked in the pot. In the pot were all those baby bees. I was so sad. If it had been cooler out, I could have tied the comb back onto a bar and saved them but it was so hot out that the wax was like jello.
A rookie mistake which cost the hive a whole generation of bees.
|Everyone in the neighborhood came to glean the dropped honey.|
|The bees spent a lot of time cleaning off their compatriots. Some bees I had no hope for, came back to life after being cleaned.|
|Here is a picture of the pot with a bar upside down on top to show the angle that the bees are building the combs.|
|Later, I put the honey I gathered that day back out for the bees to take back to the hive. I figured it was the least I could do. You have to put leaves or hay on the honey or the bees get stuck in it and drown.|
|It only took two afternoons for them to get every drop.|
- That although they say you should only open your hive on a warm day, they do not mean above 80 degrees.
- That the fact that the bees built their combs crooked is a much more serious problem than I thought.
- That bees are very resilient and will work hard to correct my silly mistakes.
|The hive in July, you can see the angle of the comb. The strip of gold along the top bar is propolis which the bees use to seal up everything.|
|In this picture that I took in July, you can see the corner of a comb that tore off of the neighboring bar on the right.|
It's too late for this hive to straighten up so I have decided to let them alone and see how they do. I am however, planning to keep them fed and coddled so that they will increase in numbers and swarm this spring.
I will then catch the swarm and put them in my new and improved top bar hive. More on that later.