B r e a k f a s t W i t h T h e B e e s

A sharing on the Birth, and Life

of a Honey Bee Colony at Grass Lake Sanctuary, grasslakesanctuary.org

Manchester, Michigan

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

July 2, 2011: What Are They Doing in There?

Each day I checked on the bees I kept expecting to see them start building comb – I watched carefully for any signs along the first top bar near the entrance.  And although I saw activity of foraging going on – bees coming and going from the hive – I saw no signs of any building going on - The only thing I saw through the observation window was them huddled in a ball up in one of the corners.  I kept saying to them things like:
“What are you doing in there?”   
“The season is moving on – shouldn’t you be building comb or something?” 
"Queeny needs a place to start laying eggs – and you’ll need a place to store your honey.”  
I wondered if maybe they didn’t have a queen after all – no one to direct them?  Maybe that wasn’t the queen we saw the first day?

I trusted however that I would be guided as to what to do, how to help them, and the only signals I got for now was to wait.

Then, one day I looked in and was most surprised!  Beautiful white comb was sticking out from under the huddle!  Ha Ha – they were building all along! This was so fun to see.  I apologized to them for my prodding questions and for doubting their movement.

The strips you see hanging down are some of the wax foundation strips that came loose from the groove made in the top bars that is supposed to help guide them to build comb along the length of each top bar.
I discovered later on that they followed the groove anyway without needing the foundation strip.  Although the foundation strip is used to save them time of having to fill in the groove with wax, I found out that the pre-fab wax that the strips were cut from is from mass meltdowns of wax from many hives – commercially – so you don’t know what’s in the wax.  It is supposed to be safe perhaps due to the melting procedures, however could contain very tiny amounts of pesticide residues, or even diseases>  I decided Id pull out what was falling down, and let them build with the groove as their guide.  For any future hives Id like to use the inverted triangle top bar design – which provides a ridge (the apex of the inverted triangle) for the bees to build their comb along.

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