I must admit, this post is about what I did on Thurs. (5-17-07). I am going to pre-date it. I suppose it’s kind of like postdating a check, but in reverse. I will date stamp it with Thursday’s date even though I am writing it on Sat. (5-19-07).
When I checked on the bees on Tues (5-15-07, the feeders in both hives were dry. I dropped by on Thurs. to add syrup and was planning on doing just that (no inspection). I didn’t have a good container to carry too much syrup, so I only had about 72 oz. I went ahead and gave both hives ~36 oz.
I forgot to bring my camera so I don’t have any pictures. I wish I had remembered it though, because I noticed a few things. First, I notices a difference in the behavior or the bees at the front of the two hives. Hive #1 had a few bees around the entrance, but not too many. It did however have a good deal of traffic going in and out. I saw bees coming in with pollen (yellow and orange), and bees without (I assume they had nectar). There was nothing that looked like fighting (no robbing). Hive #2 also didn’t have anything that looked like fighting, but there were a lot more bees hanging around the entrance. It wasn’t like a traffic jam because many of the bees were making no attempt to enter. Instead, they looked to be cleaning the front of the hive with their tongues. None of the bees were fanning or “bearding” as I understand it, so I am pretty sure they were not trying to cool the hive (it wasn’t too hot out either, 65-70 degrees). I have read about this behavior before, but I’m not sure the full purpose. There was also a reasonable traffic of bees bringing in pollen and nectar. About the same level as hive #1 or maybe slightly less (but not much). One other funny thing was that there were bees sitting in the entrance slot with their butts out. It was almost like that scene in Braveheart. A line of bees, shoulder to shoulder, mooning anyone who came by. They weren’t fanning, and I couldn’t see anything that they were doing. Just sitting there with their butts out. The foraging bees would just push past them to get in the hive. I have no idea what they were doing.
I also decided that even though I was not going to open the hives, I would pull out the removable bottom board and check it. When I did in hive #2, I saw a single small hive beetle. I promptly squished it. Hive #1 had three. I doubt that they are a problem yet in either hive, but I would rather that they don’t become a problem. I think I will try a baited trap to try to keep them under control. The trap I will try is described here. A fellow blogging beekeeper, is also trying this type of trap out (see her post here). When I make them, I will keep you posted on how they do.
The last thing I noticed was a bit strange. When I pulled the removable bottom out of hive #2, I could hear the bees messing around on the screened bottom. I tried to stick my head under the hive to see what they were up to. I saw three bees or so that seemed to be either dragging about something white, or there was something white stuck to their underside. From my viewpoint, it was hard to tell what it was. I was wondering whether it was pieces of larva that had been chewed out of their cells for some reason. It could well be many other things though. Whatever it was, there were not many of them so I doubt it is a problem. I will watch out for it when I do an inspection though. Hive #1 didn’t have any sign of bees dragging white things around though. I wish I could have gotten a better look and remembered my camera.