Well, I started writing this entry several days ago and at the time, it was in the upper 90s and the heat index was in the three-digit range. Roasted. Today is our third day of cloudy skies and it has drizzled or rained here and in surrounding areas enough to quench the thirsty ground a bit. It’s just nice to have something other than scorching, endless blue skies to be honest with you. It’s one thing to be at the coast and have that but when I’m not near water, I don’t like 100+ temperatures. 🙂
So while I was accompanying Mark on yard visits on the rare Saturday we had off last week, I did what I love to do – watch the bees and take pictures. I love to see what they are doing, what they are bringing in, what they are doing at their entrances or in their homes when Mark opens the lid on a hive. The top picture is one of the gentle hives out at Cibolo Creek. I wore my hat, veil and gloves because I knew i wanted to get right up to the entrances but I soon saw that I didn’t even need my gloves as they were paying me no mind whatsoever. I only kept my veil on as I was squatting with my face a few inches from the entrance. I just had to shoot the bees fanning. I love it when they do that. Below is one of the videos I captured to share with y’all. Hear their buzzing? It’s amazingly loud once you get right up on them. This is one of the things bees do in order to cool their hives when it is as hot as it was. Can you imagine giving yourself, your energy, for your clan in that way? Standing at the entrance of your home, flapping your wing non-stop in order to deliver cool air into the home? I can’t imagine the fatigue factor. I wonder if that can be studied somehow. I wonder how tiring it might be for the honeybee to do this. Anyway, I just wanted to show you what bees do to help cool their homes. They maintain a pretty constant temperature in there, about 90F degrees in summer and winter as well. It takes a lot of water, energy and healthy wings to do this. Just another thing about the bees that totally fascinates me!
In other news, Mark installed twelve of the twenty Olivarez queens that we received last week. That’s a lot in one day and a big improvement in efficiency for queen installation! Here is a shot he sent today. This is one of the new divides he made last week. Those hives have sat queenless for several days now and today he use the Direct Introduction Method and placed the queens in their new homes. Hopefully all hives will accept their new queens. In this shot, he is holding the queen cage right before he pulls off the screen and releases queenie directly onto the frames. In the past, he would place the cage among the frames so the bees could adjust to the new queen sent but now, since they’ve had a short period of time with no queen and therefore no scent, they simply accept their new queen right away. It’s worked quite well for us here and we are very glad we learned of it. This is what he does – research, read, learn, do, share.
Mark originally read about the new method of queen introduction on Emily Heath’s Adventuresinbeeland’s blog. Emily had introduced us to this new method when she posted about a talk she attended by Professor Ratnieks, Professor of Apiculture at the University of Surrey. She, like Mark, continued learning about the professor’s research at the University of Sussex and one click led to another and here we are…installing queens into our divides using a method we happened across through another beekeeper’s blog across the big pond. Mark followed up with emails and requests for additional information from the university and they generously shared with him. Isn’t it amazing where life takes you?!