Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Settling In

The bees are settling in well. I didn't get to see Queen Atalia today, but Eric did. Apparently she is unusually (and delightfully) orange. By the time I got home, Eric had put in two extra frames of brood in various stages of hatching. This will give her colony a little kick along in the population stakes. She will also be able to start laying in the empty drawn out cells. It is a very little swarm and she has a big challenge ahead to produce enough daughters to get enough honey to last the winter.
The bees are very quiet. We opened up the hive again so I could see what was going on - Imagine, all that safety gear in the cupboard inside with me fishing about in her hive in my civvies. It was amazing and I am so grateful to Eric for taking me under his wing. The girls buzzed around a little but were very accommodating and indulgent of us. Eric pointed out the newly hatched "fuzzy bear" workers with their flat unpacked wings. Queen Atalia was apparently on the inside of the box before - so I didn't get to see her. At this early stage, the bees are very very quiet and friendly. They are all Queen Atalia's sisters rather than daughters at this early stage. It will be interesting to see if there is any change once Queen Atalia's daughters start dominating the hive.
This weekend Eric the bee herder will come back with some drawn out comb and a full size box so we can transfer everyone out of the nucleus box into their permanent brooder box, and so that Queen Atalia has lots of drawn out comb ready for eggs.
The photo shows some worker bees returning to the hive.


WeekendFarmer said...

Amazing! Congrats on the bee project. Our land just got interviewed by a bee-keeper and he will put 15 hives on our land given he has enough bees to spread around.

On ducks - I think of you when I pick up the duck eggs. Do they lay all year?

The Duck Herder said...

Hello there weekend farmer. Thank you! Wow - 15 hives! that should make an amazing difference to your food production!

Re the duckies - mine lay until autumn, then go through a moult, then get their gorgeous feathers for the mating season, then pretty much start laying on or near the winter solstice. It is uncanny the way the eggs appear on the morning after the solstice - magic!

Sometimes if they hatch a clutch early enough in the season, they will lay again before the moult, but if they sat later, they may not start again untill the next solstice.

Hope that helps

duckie xxxxxxxxx

ps. enjoy the SPRING!!!!

Carrie said...

how exciting! I can't wait to have my beehive!