Monday, April 29, 2013

Honey Bee Hive Entrance 4.29.13

I had 2 reducers in the entrance until 4.23.13. I removed one to give them more room after we checked the hive.

This picture was taken 4.12.13…..


When we got home from a week on the river, ( I noticed a larger number of bees and removed the second one.


Most of the bees were cleaning or fanning.


The entrance looks pretty crowded to me. It’s 17 days since the first picture at the top was taken….definitely a few more bees today. You can see one of the reducers to the right of the hive.



The package has been in the hive about 48 days now. I’ve seen 2 good frames of brood and there are probably more…we didn’t want to disturb them more than necessary to see if she was laying well.

When we checked them last week there was only one empty frame. I have a medium super on and will check them in a few days to see if they’ve started building there.

When I put my ear to the back of the hive I can hear a lot of humming in both the deep and the medium super.

The bottom board has 2 sizes.  I am considering turning it over when I check them and putting in reducers for awhile. If I put a white sheet on the ground under the hive stand, I will  be able to see the Queen if she should fall out…I hope…

If you have any suggestions on doing it right away or waiting or just leaving it as is…..I’m listening, and would appreciate them.

Cape May Warbler?

I spotted this little bird in my Bottle Brush bush with a Northern Parula Warbler.


These are not very good pictures. I had to take them from a video, but it would not sit still long enough for snapshots.


My field guide said the Cape May Warbler was the only warbler with “chestnut cheeks”.  Sure looks like this one has them.


I’ve put in several photos from different angles so someone who knows their warblers can make a call on this.

It has the black cap, chestnut cheeks and breast stripes.


Florida did not look like part of it’s habitat. That is the reason I am questioning it.


snapshot_012cs  snapshot_013cs

It looks like the Cape May Warbler to me. Perhaps I misunderstood the paragraph on the range for them.snapshot_017cs

Here’s part of the video…also not very good.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hive Check 4.23.13

My neighbor, George, has had Honey Bees for years. I asked him to take a look at my hive. They looked good 2 weeks ago…but I checked them myself. After I found a frame of brood that looked good (according to pictures I found on the internet) I didn’t go any farther into the hive. I needed an expert opinion.


He looked at this frame that was mostly filled out…looks like they are storing some nectar here. The frames in this hive have no foundation …you have to be very careful how you handle the frames. They can be rotated end to end but must be kept in an up right position or the comb can break. Probably not the best way for me to start, but I bought small cell Honey Bees that have been raised this way and I want to continue.


Here’s a closer look. This was one of the frames with the tiny little comb in my last check.


After seeing this frame of brood he said it was doing well and we didn’t need to look any farther. The numbers of bees are increasing and the brood pattern looked good.


I put everything back together. There was still a little feed in the jar so I left it for them to clean up. George thinks there is enough feed in our area now so I can stop feeding them. They are only taking about 1/2 cup a day. Doesn’t seem like much for the number of bees. Guess they aren’t really interested in it.


We have the boat all packed and ready for travel…we’re going boating for a few days!!!

I’ll miss my “girls”.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cuban Tree Frog

He might be a cute little thing…but he is killing off all of our little green tree frogs that are native. 5.7.09 003

We used to have the native green tree frogs all over. You could find them on your windows in the morning getting the moisture, or sitting in the plants. I’ve only seen a few in the last few years.

Indigo Bunting at the feeder 2.28.13 (another draft I forgot to post)

I’ve noticed a couple of brown Indigo Buntings coming to the feeders with the Painted Buntings. They are either female or juveniles.

Yester day I saw a Blue Indigo and it was back today.


This one is most likely one of the brown ones. You can see it is still in molt. Once it’s finished, it will be a stunning blue.

You can see some of the pin feathers on it’s head that look like they are coming out. Not one of it’s prettiest stages. They are usually in full breeding color when they leave in April.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Honey Bees bringing in pollen

The package of Honey Bees has been in the hive 30 days. At 1:30 this afternoon I decided to see if I could get some pictures of them bringing in pollen.

I like the way they line up to come in.


I like this photo because you can really see the eye on the one in the air.


I took these out of the video at the bottom. I see 2 distinct colors of pollen. None of the Spiderwort are blooming now. I don’t know where they are getting it.


A couple of very full sacs.


It looks like a lot of pollen for a small number of Honey Bees, but then…what do I know.   I ‘m not sure what percentage of bees are pollen bees, nectar bees and water bees. I do know that the water bees will take nothing but water. We had some getting water from our boat a few years ago and didn’t realize what they were doing. So we put a plate of honey near them and they ignored it. They had a job to do and they did it.

You have to watch very closely to see them come in with the pollen they are so fast. They seem to know exactly where to land unless another bee is clogging up the “skyway”.

Orientation flight this afternoon. It gets very busy for a few minutes then they all head back inside to finish their jobs. It’s fun to watch the workers try to get inside with all the traffic. You can see one with pollen just in front of the hive opening. They just keep on working.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Honey Bee orientation flights? 3.25.13

This is a late published post…didn’t realize it hadn’t been posted.

The package has been in the hive for 12 days.

Each afternoon I notice a lot of activity around the entrance. I am always worried about robber bees since this is a hive just getting started and doesn’t have the numbers they need to really defend it.

I have the entrance reduced….I hope it is small enough so they are able to successfully defend it. If I need to reduce it more let me know, but they did manage to keep the big red ants out.

Whenever I notice this activity I go sit in the chair and watch them. So far, I have not noticed any signs of fighting, and there always seems to be several Drones in the mix. That is the only time I see Drones.


You can see how much bigger the drone is compared to the worker on the R. They also have a much louder buzz when they dive bomb you, but they don’t sting. Once they mate with a Queen they die. That is their only job.


I took a video of the coming and going. After 15 minutes or so it was one way traffic  back into the hive until just the normal foragers were leaving and returning.

While all this was going on the workers were still bringing in pollen.


Sometimes it was like a traffic jam….but no fighting.


From my reading I understand that as bees mature they have different jobs. When they are old enough to become foragers they start doing orienting flights.

If you beekeepers can see something else in the video…please let me know. Just a beginner here, I need all the help I can get. I want this hive to survive.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Honey Bees on Spiderwort 4.10.13

I planted a few Spiderwort plants last year and loved watching the Honey Bees gathering pollen.

There are a lot of plants along the road that will be mowed down by the city very soon. I transplanted several in my yard. I’m trying to make it easier for my small package of Honey Bees to grow and become a nice strong hive. Hope that not having to travel so far will increase their life span.


I sit on the porch and watch them. Then I run down to the hive and see if I can spot them coming in. Who knows…they could be feral bees or from someone else’s hive.


It’s amazing how much they can carry.


I’ve got about 25 good sized plants and about that many small ones. I hope I have twice that many next year.


The blooms only last till mid afternoon but new ones open the next morning. I never realized how pretty the little stems were until I cropped this photo…you can see a drop of dew on the leaf.


What a little beauty!


Monday, April 8, 2013

Hive check 4.8.13

It is a nice warm day, 76*. There are a few big puffy clouds and I opened up the hive when they were overhead so there wouldn’t be any chance of comb damage from the Florida sun.  It’s amazing how hot it can be.

I stacked 2 medium suppers on the cover so I would have a place to put a frame or two.

Jim was suited up, taking pictures and making sure the smoker was working in case I needed it.

I gave them a little puff or two then pulled out a frame.


The first frame had one small comb from the TBH. I put that in the holding box, then slid the next frame with a small comb to the outside. Frame 3 also had a small comb.  Then lifted this one out.

This comb was originally in the TBH that swarmed. That is why it has the nice straight edge on the bottom. I had to cut it to fit the Lang's frame. We trimmed the ends of the top bars so they would fit up inside the frame then Jim put 2 screws in the top to hold them in place.


You can see the other small comb. That came from the TBH too. The 4 frames with 2 screws in the top were originally in the TBH. The one in my hand, one in the holding boxes and 2 in the hive body with the screws.


Here is a close up.  Looks like nectar and pollen?


This is a comb they built themselves….. it looks like sealed brood. If I am wrong please let me know.  After I saw this I decided to quit while I was ahead. I didn’t want to go deeper into the brood nest or risk hurting or losing the Queen.


Here’s a look at frame #6.


All the girls were nice and quiet. Didn’t seem to mind my presence so maybe I wasn’t giving off any anxiety scents. It looked like there was comb on the other frames so I didn’t mess with them.

Since there were 3 frames with small comb started, and the others filled out,  I decided to place a medium on them.  If they continue to look active and bring in lots of pollen, maybe I wont have to open them again for awhile. Darn!! 

I always wonder how much damage I am doing when I start moving stuff around and do I remember to put it back as I found it.

How do the feral bees manage without a keeper poking her nose into their business every few weeks?

I have more fun sitting in a chair watching the ladies coming and going than I do watching TV. Much more interesting. When they get tired of me sitting there…someone will buzz me and I go on my way.

They’ve been in the hive 26 days….I think the numbers should start increasing soon, if they haven’t  already.

I know there are a lot of bees out foraging and it looks like there are a fairly good number on the combs that I pulled, and even more on those that I didn’t…..does it look like more than a package would contain? I hope so…..

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

White Marked Tussock Moth 4.3.2013

My friend, Debbie, had 2 small Willow trees that she no longer wanted….I did. We went to her place and dug them up….brought them home and planted them.

I have read that Willows are good for bee forage. Don’t know if these are the right Willows but will give them a try….they can always end up firewood if not.

I was watering one and spotted this little White Marked Tussock Moth. Only one so I let it be.


It’s really kind of a pretty little thing. Almost looks like it has a furry little tail.


Unfortunately, fuzzy pretty little caterpillars can cause rashes etc. So I don’t pet fuzzy little caterpillars. Funny….I played with all kinds as a kid and don’t remember any problems.