Sunday, September 9, 2012

A less testie, positive update

It was definitely time to makes some changes. After experiencing the wrath of some aggressive bees, I realized that it would be much more beneficial to attempt and recognize the bees' needs. During this time, there are few flowers blooming in my neighborhood, and even though bees have been busy during the day, they had yet to draw out any more of the frames after three weeks. It is painfully obvious that what I was doing was just not working.

Last Monday for labor day, I echoed my dad's efforts in picking up some essential oils. I found them at Whole Foods. Following the Fatbeeman, who can be found online and on Youtube, offers several remedies for bee woes with natural essential oils. To combat mites to ramping up growth, there are ways to approach challenges in the bee cycle. This cycle can refer to either stage of hive development, bee health, or the seasonal availability of certain nutrients.

A preventative to mite infestation, I picked up some Wintergreen food grade oil. It rant me about $7.99 for a .5 mL bottle. For more anti-fungal and anti-bacterial defense I found some tea tree oil. There was a range of availability and I picked up the largest bottle I could find for $13.99. The last bottle I found was for lemongrass essential oil which is suppose to spur growth and honey flow instincts in the bees-- it was about $6.99 I believe for a .5 mL bottle.

Before I ordered the hive and got started, I did some research and so many stated that the plastic frames were the most beneficial. Additionally, the black foundation was suggested by several sources. The lady I picked the bees up from and another local beekeeper said they "hate the plastic" and that they may never draw it out. This worried me until I saw the drawing out of the black plastic today. I think this is due to the feeding that I did with the essential oils.

I would have pictures, but I am completely out of batteries. Will have to pick some up. They have been going threw a pint jar of the feed mixed 2-1 ratio of sugar to water and a drop of each of the three essential oils per day. Given that this has only led to two frames being drawn out on one side and about 30-40%, they are being filled with pollen which shows the queen is laying a lot.

While going through the frames I was able to see large worm like brood, eggs, and pollen. I wore my glasses to try and see better. I even spotted the queen for the first time. She was dragging her fat behind across the back of a frame. She scurried around and I was quite pleased to see her. The queen was not a pretty shade of any color, rather she was almost completely black, with splattered spots of yellow and orange. Next time I will mark her and take pictures.

I can conclude that one must take time to understand the bees if they intend to manage them. Even if they plan to be a simple beekeeper, one must provide what is needed until nature is able to provide that component of health. They argument that bees will adjust and provide for themselves, which is the "hands-off" method may lead to poor health, yields, or even the loss of a colony in times of dearth. The feeding may have also contributed to a taming of the bees, as well.

1 comment:

  1. I think you are right.. We need to support the colony until it can stand on its own.. and intervene even after its established if we want to elicit certain behavior and health in the colony...
    Yes in nature bees take care of themselves .. but many times colonies will die .. leave a hive that is infested.. or die during lean times...or just swarm and leave the hive weakened and vulnerable... We as Beekeepers intervene to support the colony .. and keep them as healthy and content as possible... and hopefully they stay home..