I went to check on my hives, but forgot an important tool … my camera. I hate it when I see interesting things and have forgotten it. You have to make due with an old picture and some links. Sorry.
I didn’t end up doing much with them, mostly just giving them some sugar syrup. Its been really hot and dry here in NC lately. On Fri. it hit 104 and had been above 100 for a few days prior to that. Its funny when you are happy that its “cooler” at only 93 or so.
I am pretty sure there isn’t much in the way of nectar to collect and my hives don’t have any stores to speak of, hence the sugar syrup. When I checked today, both seemed ok though. There are plenty of bees, but also plenty of empty comb. They have clearly slowed their brood raising. I didn’t check more than 2 combs however. I think I will try to check back during the week, to see how fast they are using up the sugar syrup.
My one surprise came when I removes the roof on hive #1. I always do this from the back, lifting up the back edge with one hand and sticking the other inside to grab the ridge pole as far forward as I can. After I had done this and set the roof down, I found a rather large spider curled up in a corner, not far from where I put my hand. I really wish I had my camera. 😦
I looked on the web, and the closest looking pictures I can find are of the genus Araneus. It was a mottled brown color that blended perfectly with fallen leaves (which is where I ended up putting it). The distinctive part was the size of its abdomen. It was bigger than all the rest of the body, probably about 3/4″ in diameter. It had backed into a corner and kind of hidden itself under it abdomen. The closest looking species I have seen on the web is a Araneus marmoreus, or Marbled Orb Weaver (they seem to come in a variety of colors). Here is another picture I found that shown one hiding under its abdomen like mine was. I’m not sure it was a Marbled Orb Weaver, but that was the closest looking thing I found. Mine definitely hadn’t made a classic orb web, as it was hidden under the roof of the hive.
I’m not overlay frightened of spiders and an usually either leave then alone or simply move them. My wife, who really doesn’t like bugs, find this a little annoying about me. She would much rather I just kill the ones I find in the house (and quickly). Here is a picture of a nice wolf spider I removes from our house (maybe 1-1.5″?). I do remember it ran fast. 🙂
The only other impressive spider we have had around our house was a Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia). It was quite large, and stayed for about a week on our back porch. It had a 2-3′ orb web. My wife got mad at me when I tossed large grass hoppers into its web (she thought I was crazy to feed it). It left peacefully of its own accord though.
Of all the spider pictures I’ve seen, one I found on Flicker is the most impressive(here is the setup used to take the picture). I am amazed by the extent of that macro!
Anyway, even though I find spiders fascinating and often catch them to move out of our way, I am less than happy about sticking my arm up to the shoulder into a dark space I can’t see into. I’ll take a bee sting any day over a spider bite. After finding the spider in hive #1, I put on my beekeeping gloves to take the roof off of hive #2. 🙂