Thursday, May 3, 2012

Flower Lang - Day 26: Comb Issues

It was great to have Lily there to do the camera thing so we could focus on the bees.    Thank you, Lily!

I've divided the inspection into two posts this time -- one post for each hive -- so I can talk about different things without overloading you with bee info.   We'll start with the Flower Lang.

The Flower Lang has comb issues. 

They're the ones who built the extra comb on the side of the hive.   We've had to do a lot of comb repair in this hive.    Mostly because they're building wonky, but once because I broke a comb off.   Last week we repaired 4 combs.

This is what we found when we opened the hive this week.

See how it's bent? 

It's not supposed to be bent like that.

That's one of the combs we repaired last week.  It looks like the comb rolled sideways a bit and crumpled at the bottom.   Soft comb'll do that.

In the meantime, the bees started a new comb from the top.  They'll meet soon.

This is the other [south] side.   I'm pretty sure that's drone comb at the bottom between the rubber bands.   Drone cells have domed caps, they're wonky sizes and irregularly placed. 

We decided to bend that soft comb back straight and cut out the crumpled stuff at the bottom.  

I used a knife to cut out the crumpled stuff at the bottom of the north side.  

Notice that I left the bees on while I worked.  They're much happier that way.

Much.  Happier.  

This is what it looked like when I was done.

Last week's repair.  This is a frame that we repaired last week.  I think it's the one I broke.   It stayed put enough for the bees to draw all that new comb above it.   There's lots of capped brood under those bees and eggs in the new edge comb.

That blasted end comb.  Once again, the bees got creative with the end frame.    We cut the little part out and then cut the big comb out and put it between two rubber bands to center it on the frame.   Hopefully they'll get it straight in the frame.   I'm not holding my breath. 

The good news is that we are getting a lot of experience doing cut-outs...sort of.   Only I'd be happier if we weren't cutting them out of their own frames.

Queen.  Here's the queen at the bottom of the comb just getting on the wood frame.  It's easier than I thought to find the queens.  The other bees give the queens some space.  The queens don't hurry, but they're always on the move.

Eggs.   We saw plenty of eggs in the brood comb where the first batch had hatched already and in the new comb.    This is new comb.  Blow up the pic to see eggs and some small larvae.  The eggs look like rice; the larvae look like the letter C.

Here's a better pic of some new eggs.  They really showed up in this piece of comb.

Frozen Brood
At the bottom of the hive we found a little piece of comb that had broken off [sorry no pic!]  In it were two small/medium larvae, dead and black. Way too small to have been capped.  It smelled a bit rotten.   I stuck a twig in it to see if it would string out [like American Foul Brood does], but it didn't much.    I guessed that this bit of comb broke off before the freezes we had early last week and that these poor guys got frozen.   A bit of internet research netted me this fabulous chart which confirmed that it was likely that these guys had indeed died from the cold.  

And now a gratuitous pic of a big pollen basket.  Look at the size of that thing! 

If you're interested in what color pollen comes from what plant, check out this wiki page.  


  1. Potentially dumb question: The bees' eyes. Some have giant bulbous eyes, others have little beady eyes. Example is the bottom left corner of the pic above where it says Frozen Brood. Are they different kinds of workers? Or is one just untrustworthy? :-)

    Lily does a great job taking these pictures!

    1. Great question! The ones with the huge eyes are drones [males]. They're significantly bigger than the workers [females]. They bumble around and are easy to catch. No stingers, so you can pick them up and look at them with no fear.

  2. Wow...great question from Murphala...and thanks for the answer, Robin!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...