Archive for the ‘brood’ Category

June 4 Coyote Yard visit

Today was another hot day in South Texas – temperatures in the upper 90s and sun all around. Barely a cloud in the sky. We sure could use about 2 inches of rain so things could bloom a bit for the bees. We went together early evening to check the bees at Coyote and met up with our friends who live on the land. The kids got right in there and helped Mark with smoking the bees and then with reversing the boxes so the queen will move to the second level box to lay eggs. There were several good questions and we loved having the calm young beehands. Maybe we have a couple of future beekeepers on our hands. You never know.

Here’s a shot of one of the frames from another hive out there. Considering the drought and heat, they are holding up quite well and while there’s not an abundance of honey made yet, what they made is delicious. We’ll just have to see how much more they can crank out this year.

Nice frame of brood!

Here’s one more shot for you from our evening outing – Mesquite beans abound right now in the yard. As you know, this is a great nectar source for bees. But did you know the following:

  • The bean pods can be ground up into a flour and used in bread (adds a slightly sweet flavor)
  • The bean pods can also be use to make jelly and wine
  • Animals – both wild and farm animals such as cows and goats – like to eat the bean pods
  • The wood is often used in grilling and smoking BBQ – adds a distinct and divine flavor (in my opinion)

June 4 Mesquite beans

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Capote Foul Brood - frame with issue

So we went out to Capote so Mark could put some treatment on the hive he noticed needing some attention. He also told me there was a certain smell to the foul brood disease that was in that little hive – so he confirmed what I had read as I was learning about what foul brood is all about. We have been so busy that we haven’t had much time to fully discuss this situation but Mark did say he thought it was the European and not American version. The above frame is an example Mark brought over to show me (I was safely tucked in the truck and all I had to do is occasionally roll down the window). At first, i thought the brood pattern indicated the problem since to me it looks splotchy. But Mark said it actually was okay. The real problem can be seen in the picture below. Note the broken cappings over some of the cells. This indicates that the bees were going in there and getting rid of the inflicted bees before they are even born. Sort of sad to me but they do that to try and save the rest of the hive. Good job bees.

Capote Foul Brood - foul brood indications

Below, Mark is dusting that hive with the equivalent of an antibiotic for bees. Hopefully it will help us with the situation. We will keep you posted on this development. Thankfully it’s not in all the hives.

Capote Foul Brood - an antibiotic for bees

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Taking Care of the Hive

Funny activity

Here Mark pointed out some activity we have never captured on camera or video before now. We watched as some of the bees set about checking a baby bee for mites – like nurse bees whose job is to take care of all the brood. Looks like they found some on this one and was taking care of it. By that, Mark explained to me that they will get rid of the bee so that the mites will also be removed. So smart those bees!

Bees tending to a bee in development

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Feeding the Bees

I feed the bees in the late winter and early spring to encourage the queen to start making brood and to make sure the bees have enough food for the brood as it grows. I use an internal feeder that fits in the place of a frame that I have removed. It holds about one gallon of sugar syrup (granulated sugar mixed 1:1 with warm water). The stick floats on top of the syrup and (hopefully) prevents the bees from drowning. I mix the sugar syrup at home and carry it to the bee yard in 2 gallon buckets. Feeding time is almost over for awhile as the bees have started making honey from all the wildflowers that are already blooming.

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New Bees

I’ve been working with the bees at the Elm Creek bee yard this week, and I noticed new bees trying to emerge from their brood cells. You can see one trying to poke its head out near the center of this photo.  Sometimes a healthy hive has so much emerging brood that its population can double in a single day.

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