Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Magical Apistry Tour

worker drawing waxIn all this bee blather, do you wonder what it is that beekeepers are doing and thinking when they bust open a colony and start moving bits around, cutting other stuff off, and so on? Even a few days after, I struggle to keep the details straight, and I was there.
More seriously, it's important for beekeepers to know what they are there for and to remember what they see, though all that info (both rambling thoughts and the extra pictures taken for the purpose of second-guessing myself later) is a bit too long and larva-oriented for a blog post.
So here is a slide show that, if you are up for 13 pictures and a lecture, will take you through what was going on during the visit to the sisters of Colony 1 on May 19th (Colony 2's slides will come tomorrow). The captions have not been corrected to reflect what might have been in error or just plain hopeful: this is not gospel, but it is true.
And yet, this is all posted three days later. Why the delay? Beekeeping, which is one of the liveliest things I have ever done, has run into the many complications of life. It has been hard to do right by the bees or by this blog as a result. Please rest assured that I let this blog and friendly contact with other humans suffer before the girls upstairs.
There have been weddings, and several days in another city, training the person who will take over my job, which I am leaving. It is very hard to both do ones' job and to explain it, let alone show someone else how to do it. Choosing to leave was no uncomplicated thing on its own, many loopy feelings on the topic. But the bees buzz on, and so will I.
If you don't want to page through the slide show, here is a summary of bee affairs:
  • Colonies 1 and 2 still have their undistinguished names, though that does not mean that the suggestions received have fallen on deaf ears. I'm sorta waiting for more data before deciding.

  • If I had to give a one line diagnosis of Colony 1, it would be "reviving but short on workers and comb."

  • Colony 2 is a raging, rip-roaring cloud of bees these days, though the colony had not yet filled up the new medium deep super they received on May 12. I am thinking they may get a newly painted FULL deep, obtained courtesy of MaryEllen and her husband, either Monday or Tuesday. My goal is to make the deep their eventual brood chamber for the winter.

  • I need to read up to see if this is how to do it.

A bumblebee landed on my left hand while I was painting the new deeps this weekend (and seemed like she wanted to stay). What a different beastie she was from the honeys on the roof! She was way squarer and fuzzier, she had big eyes like yellow snowglobes, and carried a mouth full of pollen. She was rubbing her antennae and lifting her butt like crazy: guess I smell bad. I need to find out what manner of bumbler she and her backyard buddies are.
A final note: My husband rescued a honeybee from the bathroom on Saturday, with tenderness and pride. He assured me that she was fine, just lost. My god I love that man.

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