There is good news and bad news when it comes to our honey bees. The good news is that they are still alive. If you were talking with us a few weeks ago you would have heard us lamenting their demise. What appeared to be just a few straggling honey bees has grown into a thriving hive again. Bees come and go in huge numbers. Bees and larva of all ages are growing and working in the hive and the queen must still be doing her job since the honey bee life-cycle at this time of the year is a matter of weeks. So new bees are obviously coming from a hard working queen.
Now for the bad news. An unusually wet, cool and cloudy summer has slowed honey production. The bees don't come out when it is rainy or cool. And when they have been able to come out there have been limited flower blossoms until just recently. What does this mean for the bees? Probably not much. If they work hard from now until fall they can hopefully still put away enough honey to get themselves all through the winter. But for us, it means no honey in this first year of keeping bees. If we take their stores, they will die in the winter. We need to leave the bottom 2 boxes for them. There will be no 3rd box this year.
We have learned a lot from having them and will look forward to possibly getting honey next year. If nothing else, we have helped the struggling honey bee population and brought pollinators to our own fruit trees and our flowers.
Here are a few pictures taken the other day when Stephanie checked the inside of the hive.
As Stephanie lifted the lid, we again broke open their comb they had been attaching to the top. Honey dripped out everywhere. If you click on the picture and make it as big as you can you can actually see them using their [mouths] to repair the comb or eat the honey. They instantly came from all over the hive to work on what was damaged. Amazing critters!
It seemed like every time we took another picture of the broken honeycomb there were more bees crawling up out of the frames to work on it. By the time Stephanie closed it up this top comb was just covered in bees.
One last shot. This is an up-close look at the early stages of them building the comb. We were lucky to get this shot without it being all covered in bees.