Monday, October 11, 2010

how i spend time before moss gets awesome

and you thought this blog was dead. but it's not! things have happened, but as always, probably not enough things to warrant much of anything at all. this entry will be about bees, the next will be about our new love for space-age foam, 50's-era green, and post cards.

we are quintessential new beekeepers. we're (okay, i am) pretty sure something is always ready to go wrong. my instructor from the U, marla (who just won an amazing MacArthur Grant) told me that it was likely that the bees wouldn't produce much honey, due to competition from the U of M's bees (which are in relatively close proximity). sigh. she was right. she knows her stuff.

but before that, we were SURE that we had lost our queen. we didn't see any eggs or larvae in any cells. in fact, it looked like nothing much at all was going on.

so, we ordered a hot babe from california:

who garnered lots of interest from various parties:

and so, we did all the prep work. opened hive, blah blah blah. guess what we found? right. plenty of new brood. and the queen all fat and sassy:

we had a decision to make. to "dispatch" the old queen (think "liquidate". can i make that joke yet? probably not.) and hope that introducing the new queen would be a success, or to stick with the old queen (who was now laying really well) and find a buyer for the new queen was NOT a cheap endeavor). well, long live the queen. we kept snooki and found a guy to buy our new queen. everybody wins.

then, it came to our attention that the colony wasn't making much honey, so per jim's suggestion we consolidated our three deep hive bodies into two, removing mostly empty frames. one frame we removed had some brood ready to hatch, and because we are soft newbie beekeepers, we kept it in the garage and as the girls emerged, we dropped them at the entrance of the hive.

anthropomorphism is exhausting.

after the consolidation and queen drama, things have been seemingly alright. we did some supplemental feeding of 2:1 sugar syrup earlier this fall, but stopped because we didn't want to encourage more brood rearing this late in the season. we bought some nosema mite treatment, but made the executive decision to NOT treat this year. our fingers are crossed that with this nice weather, the bees have been able to put on some weight. we'll winterize the colony when the weather becomes cooler.

in the meantime, they've been enjoying the pond:

and making good-quality, if low-quantity, honey:

here's a video of a worker bee being "born" on one of our frames that i took a few weeks ago.

the cats, as always, really really REALLY care about all of this:

as does the city of st paul, via riverboat: