Archive for October, 2007

Inspection of Hive #1 and evidence of a fight

October 20, 2007

I’ve been a bit behind in my posting. The pictures and info I am posting now are actually from last Sat. The week before that I had done a inspection of hive #2, and now it was time for hive #1.

It was a bit cooler when I did this inspection. We had finally gotten some cooler weather instead of unseasonably warm 95 degree weather. I think it was probably mid 70’s when I checked on the bees, but it had been dropping down to the 50’s for a couple of nights. I still had the screened bottoms open ( and still do). I haven’t decided when I will close them up. Some people keep them open year round, but I am not sure I will do that. The first thing I noticed was though there were a good number of bees coming and going, there wasn’t the normal pile of bees hanging out at the front door. Its about time, they have been doing that all summer. 🙂

I gave both hives some sugar syrup, and proceeded with the inspection. The first surprise I ran into looked like evidence of a little bit of a fight. Luckily, it looked like my girls won.

I picked this dead carpenter bee off the inside of the screened bottom. I looked around a bit, and came to the conclusion that the only way she could have gotten in was through the entrance. I can only assume there was a fight and my girls defended their home. I wouldn’t have guessed a carpenter bee would try to get in, but it appears thats what must have happened. I didn’t find any evidence of the carpenter bees trying to nest at all (I wouldn’t want them drilling holes in my hive). As I went on with the inspection (I start at the back top-bars and move forward, I found another inside, and even one outside.

The one on the inside was dead, but the one on the outside was still alive (but moving too much). Interestingly, the bees were completely ignoring it. After taking the picture of the one hanging on the bottom, I gave it a good poke with my hive tool (I figured I was safe wearing a jacket and veil. It dropped to the ground buzzing, and I got another surprise.

Its a drone. As I noted earlier this year when I found an area with a bunch of nesting carpenter bees (and lots of drones), you can tell the drones from the females because of the yellow patch on their foreheads. Here’s a picture of a female for contrast (taken earlier this year).

Although I really don’t know much about their mating schedule, I am surprised that the drones would be around this late since they were out in force in April. I think that maybe this guy smelled the dead females and was there to check them out. Just to see, I checked hive #2 quickly and found on dead carpenter bee. So, between the two hive there were three dead females inside, and one live drone outside.

As for the bees, they seem fine. Hive #1 is about in the same state as hive #2. There is a little capped honey and more uncapped. The population of bees seems good for the time of year and weather. There are still capped brood, and I was able to see larva in various stages. I even ran across the queen who seems fine. All in all, the bees seem to be doing well. I still plan on feeding them a bit to make sure they have the stores needed for winter.

Today, I added some more syrup and checked to see if there were any more carpenter bees (there were none). Other than watching them coming and going, I left them alone however.