Tag Archives: bees


Today (May 4th), just as I was thinking about leaving work and heading to the gym I get this frantic text from Rob (and my panicked reply): Apparently, he had just happened to look out the back window and noticed a dark mass hanging off a branch about 30-40 feet up in a tree in the back yard. So I raced home, sure that it was one of our hives that had swarmed! When we had done our inspection on

Red maple bloom: Gather ye pollen while ye may!

Remember way back in this early post where I described a bit about what types of plants bees are attracted to in different seasons? Well, during “bee school” last year (an excellent course put on by the Orange County Beekeepers Association), one of the instructors talked about the red maple as being one of the earliest blooming trees in the area, and at the time I was pleased to note that there is a huge red maple in our front yard, and a lot more throughout the neighborhood.  Here it is this year in

Early Activity 2015

This past weekend we saw some very warm temperatures (into the mid-60’s, ~18 celsius) and both hives were very active!  Rob managed to capture some videos of some very interesting behavior at the hive entrance.  If you look closely in both videos, you’ll notice a bee exiting one of the holes of the mouse guard (the white strip of metal), dragging a dead bee out.  She’s on “undertaker” duty, performing the necessary task of removing the bodies of any bees

A guest helper in the bee yard

This past weekend I was lucky enough to have some new help in the bee yard! My sister-in-law who is visiting was brave enough to suit up and take notes for me during our hive inspections. She did an outstanding job! As usual, Queen Beeyonce made an appearance, and when I asked my sister-in-law if she wanted to see the queen up close: “Pay your respect to Her Majesty!” Beeyonce (and I) do NOT take no for an answer! 😉 ~E

Queen cups vs. Swarm cells vs. Supercedure cells!

Well, we’ve made a new and interesting/mildly worrying observation in our hives recently. That is, the presence of so-called “queen cups” in both hives. These are enlarged, rounded cells that the workers have constructed on the face of a frame: Thankfully, they are empty (i.e. no egg or larva in them). Based on 1. the position of the cup on the frame (it’s in the middle, and not hanging off the bottom), 2. the fact that there are only a

Feelin’ hot hot hot!

Fourth of July here has come and gone, and you know what that means around here?  Temperatures are soaring! In the upper 90’s (that’s over 35 C for my family and friends back home), and we haven’t had much, if any rain for almost 2 weeks.  The garden is wilting, the dog doesn’t want to spend much time out in the yard, and even the bees are feeling the heat. While they can “air condition” their hive by using evaporative

Celebrating Canada Day!

I hope all my Canadian friends and family had a great Canada Day yesterday!  Imagine my surprise when I got home last night and saw the girls were proudly flying the maple leaf! And I was told these were Italian bees 😉  Guess they take after their beekeepers! Will have to see if they fly the Stars and Stripes on the Fourth!

Queen Elsa makes her appearance!

Finally after almost 2 months, we caught a glimpse of our shy queen, Queen Elsa last night! Queen Elsa is noticeably skinnier than Beeyonce, and her abdomen appears more dark brown than golden brown.  As Elsa is in the weaker hive, we think she may not be mated as well…which would explain the non-distended belly. What do you think?                     Long live the Queens! E  


As the hives grow and things start happening,  I’m really glad we started off on the right foot and have been taking good notes.  Well…let me rephrase that, Rob is the note-taker while I dictate what I’m observing as I inspect each frame. This joint team effort is really paying off as you can see: Here, he’s recorded a frame-by-frame (“F1, F2” etc) description of brood pattern (whether it’s eggs, larvae, capped, or not), and how much pollen and nectar

Are my bees drunk?

Because why else would they be building comb like this: And this: These are frames from the second hive body on Hive 2 (the strong one). Why would they all of a sudden start building wonky comb, when previously they were drawing nice bee keeper-friendly comb within the frame foundations? This is burr comb, or in this case, bridge comb, because it is comb drawn perpendicular to the frames, and actually forms a bridge joining two adjacent frames.  I did what

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