When I checked the hive last weekend, the ladies had drawn 8 of the 10 frames! With the help of my mentor, Linnea, we moved two frames with brood from the bottom hive box to the newly placed second hive box, then added 8 foundation frames. We didn’t see the queen although there was one frame which was just covered with fanning bees. I assume she was on that frame but just not visible; there was larvae so she is around some place.
What I did not think about was how to continue to provide them with sugar syrup so I made a trip to Brown’s Bee Farm in Cumberland, Maine. Stan Brown is a well-known beekeeper in our area who has been beekeeping since he was young; he is in his 90’s. He knows a thing or two about bees and is always willing to share his knowledge. I told him that there was a lot of activity at the front of the hive. It looked like lots of bees flying in circles, around and around. A few fighting on the landing board. I was concerned about robbing but Stan felt that it was more likely that what I was seeing was new bees, who not knowing what else to do quite yet, orienting themselves. I was relieved. I also explained that I witnessed, on two occasions, two bees literally dragging a bee out of the hive and flying off with it. Stan explained that if the ladies feel there are too many drones doing nothing more than eating their labors…. they are out of there for good! Interesting 🙂
So, I shared with Stan one of my finest moments as a new beekeeper: I needed to give the ladies a jar of sugar syrup before I left for work and I was running late and as I opened the front door, my husband inquired, “What do you think you are doing, Julie?!” I stood, in my sleeveless long summer nightgown, and assuredly stated that I was simply going to change out the jar of sugar syrup! “Seriously, in your nightgown?” he again inquired. “Its only going to take me, what, 15 seconds maybe, they’ll never know I was there I’ll do it so quickly.” At this point in my story, Stan shook his head and chuckled, “You all do it in the beginning, so what happened?” Well, I marched out to the hive, no gloves, no veil, just my nightgown and flipflops. I approached the hive and said good morning to one and all, I lifted the hive top and leaned it against the hive. And, I am not making this up although my husband thinks otherwise, a bee rose out of the hive like a helicopter and hovered directly in front of my face and had the look. How can something SO small scare me SO much!!!! I immediately backed up, marched quickly back to the house, put on pants, gloves, shoes, veil, and returned to the hive properly dressed. Shaking his head and still chuckling, Stan said, “And you thought they wouldn’t hear you coming…they know the second you start walking in their direction!”
Stan appreciated the story from a new beekeeper and asked me if I would be doing something like that again. I told him that I would not!