"Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage."
C. S. Lewis

To Feed or Not To Feed

27 May 2011

Bees At Work

After two weeks, we took a peek inside our hive boxes to see how our bees were doing. Both hives have started "drawing" comb. That is a good sign. It means that they have established some food sources and are making cells to manufacture and store honey. It is essential that the bees have sufficient honey stores before winter comes - that is what they will rely on to sustain them through the cold winter months. However,we were disappointed that they hadn't drawn the quantity of comb that we were expecting. I contacted our bee expert - Bill the Bee Guy and he advised installing an internal feeder to supplement them with a sugar water formula.

Cover and "ladder" for internal feeder


The "ladder" inside the feeder is used by the bees to walk into the feeder without drowning. We installed the feeder and in a couple of weeks "we" will go back inside and see how they are doing.

My Beekeeper At Work
(notice he isn't wearing his bee suit or gloves???)

Getting Ready For Our Bees

08 May 2011

Preparing for the arrival of our bees required getting their new hive box ready. The large bottom box is called the "brooder" - this is where the queen lays her eggs. There are ten "frames" in this box for this purpose. Before eggs can be layed or honey produced, comb must be "drawn"on these frames. Many beekeepers use commercially manufactured comb cells to help the bees get started. We chose to let the bees begin their comb from scratch as they do in nature.

individual frame with rectangular cardboard inserted in frame

Melted bees wax is painted on rectangular pieces of cardboard that has been inserted in the frames.

melted bees wax

These frames are then put back in to the brood box. The queen bee will then lay her eggs in the newly formed cells. At the same time cells are being formed for the storage of honey which is food for the bees. When the bees have a surplus of honey then the beekeeper is able to harvest this excess - always making sure to leave sufficient supply for the bees.

close up of frame with "painted" beeswax

brooder box with frames in place