Monday, April 26, 2010

Honey Bees 4.26.10

Has anyone else noticed that Honey Bees seem to like our boats? I’ve even had them land on or follow us when on the water…usually only one or two but they are there.

Yesterday I had 3 Honey Bees trying to get behind the teak on the side of the boat. They didn’t bother me as I went in and out but they always returned to the same spot. No hole there that I can see……this morning there were 4…I do believe they think that big white boat is a giant beehive….

So…..I have set up a hive. My sister, JoAnne, gave me most of the parts…but I had to borrow the “porch”  and the cover from my neighbor, George, who has 4 hives of his own. He gave me instructions on what to do to get it ready….and will help me when, and if, I am able to attract a swarm.

Bees send out scouts for new homes when a hive gets too large and wants to split…I am hoping that’s what looking at my boat…scouts…now….I can’t say that Jim is thrilled with this idea…but he is going along with it for now…

This is what the bees make their honeycomb on…127cs 127cs

I think this hive has 11 …once that one is dropped into the slot on top…the panel lying on it’s side with the hole goes on top of leaves a small space so they can get from one panel to the other.129cs

Then the top covers the whole thing.131cs

So….after I get this all together…sitting on a wheel barrow so I can move it once they decide they like it….I sit in the boat and watch the bees….they don’t show any interest at all…I couldn’t even get them to look at a plate with a bit of honey on it.  So I washed the area on the boat that they were so interested in with soap and water…then put a piece of wet paper towel over the spot to discourage them…123cs

The next thing I knew…I had 7 Honey Bees flying in an out and landing on the wet paper towel…so I sat and watched for awhile longer. I finally realized they were after the water in the towel. Each bee would drink …then fly away…..

I made up a bee water bowl…009cs the paper towel in the tray is so they don’t drown…and they seemed to like having it to sit on. I placed it on the stepladder 032cs and removed the wet one from the boat…it only took a few minutes for one to find it and then they just kept coming back to it. At first I moved it when no bees were there and they wasted a lot of time trying to find it…you could almost tell where it had been sitting when a bee came back…..I kept moving it until I had it on a small step ladder and then I moved it a few feet at a time until I had it near the birdbath… the next step was to put a piece of paper towel on the bird bath…034cs

I’ve had bees coming to the bird bath in the past…but these were happy with what they found on the boat…we get a lot of condensation in the snaps..perhaps that was it…I figured the thunderstorms we had last night would create better places for them but they were working on the paper towel at the bird bath early this morning….and none on the boat… I guess these are the “water” bees.  Every bee has a job and honey was not in their job description…may be “union” bees.

I put the hive in the only spot that doesn’t get a lot of mowing. I will have to keep the plants cut back so the ants can’t get to it…the legs of the stand have engine grease on them to prevent them climbing…If no one moves in…I’ll store it until next year…

It’s really amazing what you can learn if you just take the time to observe something.


  1. Carol, how great it would be to have the honey bees in your new hive. Maybe put the wet paper towel on that. Such a fun thing to watch. And you are so right about learning new things. Thanks for that.

  2. Very interesting, and that honey is delicious!! Good luck kon getting bees in your hive. Daddy used to keep bees and we always had honey.

  3. Fascinating Carol. Good luck with the bees and hive; I'm sure it will be a great success.
    It's so good to see and hear how you took the trouble to provide water for the bees too.

  4. How very interesting! We're never too old to learn something new.

  5. I think that is a creative and interesting idea! We have had a shortage of honey bees around our yard the last few years-mostly bumble bees have been doing the work of pollination.


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