Young Honey Bees in my “pink” hive are doing their “orientation”. This is how they learn where the hive is. They will come out everyday for a few minutes to learn the area …going farther each time. When there are enough nurse bees and they are no longer needed for hive duty they become foragers.
The hives don’t usually have orientation at the same time but one day after it had rained a few afternoons they both came out at the same time….talk about a large number of Honey Bees! It was amazing!.
I have windows in the back of the hives. The bottom deep brood box on the blue does not have one but all the others do. I do not use foundation. All the comb in the hive is comb they built. I love watching their progress.
This is the back of the “Pink” hive. (for the color of the flowers I painted on the front).
It’s hard to take pictures of the inside because I have to have the camera right against the glass or I end up with reflections.
This is the “super” on the top of the two brood boxes.
This is the same frame as above…
The frames have no foundation…just a small strip in the center of the top of the frame to get them started in a straight line. What is interesting is the series of 4 pieces of comb that will be blended into one big comb. You can see they already started another on the frame in the front of the hive. (we’re looking in the back).
This is the top super on the “Blue” hive. I added a second super yesterday because they had almost built out the first one. You can see the nectar they have put in the comb.
If you look that the ends of the frames in the front you can see there is very little room between them. I used the table saw to cut away most of the end by the windows so I could see through.
I took two frames from the first super and put them in the second one. (second being the top one). This is looking between those two frames.
When I pulled the two frames out I replaced them with empty ones. They have already started to build comb on one of them. That big clump of bees hanging down is called “festooning”. They are measuring and building new comb.
Last year we crushed and strained the honey that we took after the bees swarmed.
We just ordered a hand cranked extractor so we can save the comb. We’ll have to uncap it….spin it slowly and then put the frames back in the hive for them to finish cleaning out. It is not a very practical way to do it but we are not commercial bee keepers and only have a few hives. It will make it much easier on the bees.
Next we’ll need a freezer to store all the extra comb for the winter. We cant leave the empty combs in the supers on the hive because the Honey Bees will cluster together when it’s cold to stay warm. It would leave all that comb exposed to Small Hive Beetles or Wax Moths. One super will be left full for them to use when no plants are blooming and nectar is not available.