I was originally planing on going to check out the hives on Sat., but it was rainy and cold (cold for NC that is – 60 degrees). Since that wouldn’t be the best weather to open up the hives in, I help off. On top of that, I got nastily sick over the weekend. I am starting to feel better, but still not all the way back. I ender up going out to check on things this afternoon since it was 70 degrees and sunny.
I mixed up a gallon of 1:1 sugar syrup, but absentmindedly felt it on my kitchen counter. I’ll have to drop by again to refill their feeders.
Before I did anything else with the hives, I smeared a circle of marine bearing grease around each leg of both hives. This is supposed to provide a barrier to keep the ants out, and was easier than putting cans of water or oil under each leg. We’ll see how well it works, but I have high hopes. When I opened the hives though, most of the ant problem seemed to be gone. I’m sure they will be back though given the chance. (maybe the wet weather keeps them at home?)
As I normally do, I started with hive 1. They still had some syrup, but not much. I removed a few top-bars at the back of the hive (or the back of the space they can use) and took a picture by sticking the camera down into the opening. It gives an interesting view.
The bees had built significant come on the first 6 top-bars, and appeared to be working on the 7th. For reference I am calling the top-bar closest to the entrance bar 1, counting up from there. Once I got home, I realized that I must have missed taking a picture of one of the bars (#2 maybe?). Oops. Oh well. Here they are in all their glory (starting at bar 6, going to bar1).
I think they have done a pretty good amount of work in ten days. They were also very calm and gentle with me. 🙂 Best of all, on the very last bar I checked (bar #1) I saw a nice blue dot. Without even having to try, I found the queen (I wasn’t really planning on looking for her).
I carefully close up hive #1 and moved on to hive #2. Hive #2 had cleaned its feeder completely and was out of syrup. They were also building at about the same pace as hive #1, and have significant comb on 6 top-bars. I started with top-bar 6, and saw a blue spot again. 🙂
I guess I was just really lucky today. I never would have seen them without the paint though, marking definitely helps there. I went on to check top-bars 4 and 5, but stopped that that point. The wind was picking up a little, and I decided to leave the girls alone. I’m happy with their progress, and figured I shouldn’t bother them any more. I go back an give them some more sugar syrup as soon as possible.
All in all, it was a good day with the bees. I saw both queens, both hives are building nicely, and both hives were very calm (still no stings! 🙂 ).