Friday, April 27, 2012

A visit to a beeyard

the large queen cage
  Yesterday I had a wonderful opportunity to visit Doyle Hawthorne's bee yard. The visit was organized by the Hot Springs Beekeeper's Association and Betty Smith from the Arkansas State Plant Board was there to facilitate the inspections of his hives.  He has 39 hives on his property and it was an incredible sight to see!  The weather was mild, partly sunny and no wind.  It was right after six o'clock when they started the inspections.  I've read not to disturb them after five, because the whole gang is back at the hive.  But, they were in good spirits and not at all aggressive.
  We witnessed a new hive being created with the addition of a queen and three frames from an existing hive.  His queen cages are much larger than the industry standards and he believes that the larger cage allows greater acceptance of the new queen.  He has a 99% acceptance rate.
  Then we looked at frames with capped brood cells.  I was amazed that different bees have different cell characteristics.  Worker bee cells were large and domed and they reminded me of the top of a pencil eraser.  Queen cells look like a circus peanut, spread out across the foundation.  Finally, they inspected two hives that were swarms caught in Hot Springs Village.  They cut the comb to fit into the foundation and then rubber band them into place.  One of the hives was queen less.  There was no new egg cells and they were very disorganized.  They were not aggressive, but flying around unsure of the situation.  I watched with amazement as they had another queen ready to take over.
 Betty Scott was a wealth of information.  For example, I learned that there could be two queens in a hive if it was a mother and daughter.  If the mother is ailing, the daughter will let her live.  If there are two sister queens, the new one will sting the other one to death.  I also learned that I need to register my bees with the state! Betty does apiary inspections and I'm very excited to have her come out and see my little hive.  The visit was a wonderful experience and I'm looking forward to opening my hive this weekend to do my own inspection!

Mr. Hawthorn feeds his bees a mix of simple sugar, corn syrup and  a concoction of ripe fruit boiled down and strained. 

No comments:

Post a Comment