Swarm update 2: they’re gone! No wait…

The morning after our swarm retrieval attempt, there they were, still up on that #%!#* branch, mocking us. However, when Rob got home from work yesterday they were gone 😢 That makes it almost 48 hrs (at least) that they hung out on that branch before up and leaving. Seems like quite a long time to be in limbo, no? At any rate, we wished them well and got on with our lives until…this afternoon I got a text from

Swarm update: Make up your mind ladies!

In case you missed it, 2 days ago we discovered a swarm clustered about 40 feet up a tree in our backyard. The next afternoon it was still there, and only a few scout bees were checking out our bait hive.  The branch they were on was too high to safely reach with even our longest ladder. I had seen just enough crazy YouTube videos to think there might still be a way! Let’s just say there are some creative folks out there:


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

Cool video of the day: time-lapse from egg to hatching honeybee!

Saw this amazing video linked to from Facebook today and had to share!  The developmental metamorphosis from a single egg, to a larva, then pupa, and finally emerging adult is stunning!  Stuff like this makes both my inner bee geek and science nerd happy 😉 http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/magazine/150415-ngm-bees-more PS: Did anyone else notice those disgusting varroa mites scuttling around on the pupal stage though??? Gross.

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

Snowy Days in the Apiary

Well. These pictures were taken last week, and we thought that would be the last of winter.  Wrong! Ironically, 2 days ago the bees were actively flying (doing their “cleansing flights” aka “pooping)… today, they are hive-bound due to snow yet again. How fast things can change! (and how adaptable these amazing insects are!) While we had one beautiful day (in the 50’s) 2 days ago (on Sunday), this morning we woke up to big fat, juicy snowflakes falling across

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

They live!!!

First of all, sorry for the lack of posts!  A lot has happened in our little bee yard, and I promise to retroactively write all about it…but first, just wanted to tell how happy we are that we confirmed this weekend that the girls are alive and hopefully hanging in there even with all this cold weather.  For the last week, average temps have been well below freezing with one night dipping down to 9 F or -13C! (insert mocking

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

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