June 8, 2011

Hive Beetles

We spied a few hive beetles after our weekly inspection yesterday (pictured here on the left of the middle frame). They are small black things that scurry away when the inner cover is removed. From what I've read, the larvae of this beetle are the biggest threat to the colony, because they feed on pollen and honey, and may damage combs. Right now they seem to be concentrated in the top super only, so we're going to place our beetle traps up top and see what happens.
The top super seems to be dedicated to honey storage at the moment (!!!). It's full of ripening honey, while the queen appears content to continue laying eggs in the bottom super. That said, the frame with the most honey on it was the outermost frame of the lower super (pictured below). Kerstin actually struggled to lift it because it was so heavily laden. Our little bees certainly have been busy in this string of sunny, warm days!Having 2 supers worth of frames certainly complicates the inspection process. Kerstin was bombarded by no less than dozen bees bent on his destruction near the end. This is the angriest we've seen them and thought for sure today was the day we'd finally get stung. Bound to happen eventually. But no, we managed to escape the assault. Another day, perhaps.Here's the queen (upper right, dark thorax, golden abdomen). She still seems to be doing her job, although the workers are still building queen cells. I still don't get this, but we're just going to let them sort it out themselves.Alden was a champ and sat patiently on his little cinder block as his parents stirred the bee hive. Everyone (minus a few unfortunate bees who were crushed during the inspection - RIP) came through unscathed.

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