The Hive and Hive Nots

“Who’s a busy little bee? You are!” –Krista, Blogger and Bee Motivator


 

Already, another busy summer is in its final tailspin and once again I am left apologizing for neglecting to post.  I never thought I’d be too busy to be short of words, but here I am, near extracting and realizing I’ve neglected the blog.  From the bottom of my heart, I do apologize dear reader. 

I may have neglected the blog, but I did not forget about my bees.  My three hives are certainly thriving, and I am proud to say I will have a honey harvest this year (happy waggle dance)!  So let’s break the summer down and get to the details.

Queen Arya the Mighty

My Italian hive, ruled by Queen Arya, is booming.  This hive started out strong this spring and hasn’t slowed down since.  Arya rules a mighty kingdom that is currently working on a second super with good stores throughout her brood boxes, too.  Queen Arya has never let me down and I am looking at the majority, if not all of my honey harvest, coming from her hardworking hive. 

Queen Arwen the Swift (and Swarming)

Next to Queen Arya’s busy hive are the Carniolans led by Queen Arwen.  This was my first adventure with Carniolans, and they did not disappoint in their eagerness to build up and get stuff done!  At one point this summer it seemed that Queen Arwen’s hive would even eclipse the mighty Italian hive next door, but due to my own mistakes, a mid-July swarm crushed any hope of that.  Queen Arwen bailed with half of the hive, leaving two well-tended brood boxes, an untouched super and one very devastated beekeeper.

Queen Leia the Late Bloomer

I will admit that I was not too impressed by Queen Leia and her Saskatraz hive at first.  It seemed that their progress was always overshadowed by her Carniolan and Italian beeyard neighbors because the hive was slow to build up.  What I did not know then was that this was just the calm before the storm.  Now, this hive is a whirl of activity.  I should have never doubted Leia and the Saskatraz, her hive is not only healthy but is filling frames at a faster pace than Queen Arya’s and Queen Arwen’s.  She now has a super and is working toward stashing some extra honey.  I’m predicting this hive will be a great one to over-winter.  I’m looking forward to see how far these Saskatraz bees can go!

Queen Leia’s hive is getting bigger!

 In conclusion, a new observation…

So this summer brought no real trouble from pests that wandered in and around the beeyard.  The local bear population seems to be keeping a wide berth of my yard as well as any raccoons or skunks.  After a couple mite counts, it even seems that the varroa are pretty chill for me, as well.  Everything was good… until I made a really random observation this past week.  Has anyone ever had any problems with dragonflies snacking on their bees?  Until seeing a cloud of dragonflies whirling in and out of my beeyard and chasing bees, I had no idea these guys posed any threat.  Now, after I’ve observed this occurrence three evenings in a row, I’m starting to get a little concerned.  Are the dragonflies devouring enough of my bees that I’ll start noticing hive population decline?  What can I do to avoid this situation?  I don’t really want to hurt the dragonflies as they are awesome bewinged knights keeping the mosquito threat at bay.  On the other hand it’s really hard to see my girls becoming snacks.  Fellow beeks, HELP!

 

Feel free to drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you!  Keep an eye out for an educational extraction post that’s in the works, too!   In the meantime, enjoy some extra footage of Queen Arya’s hive.  I like to call it ‘Five Minutes of Bee Zen.’

 

7 thoughts on “The Hive and Hive Nots

Leave a Reply to V Blakley Cancel reply

  1. David Childers

    I’ve noticed tons of dragonflies the past several years and yes I too am concerned as to whether or not they pose a threat. Definitely they catch and eat honeybees. Not certain how many they devour but also not certain how anyone could control them. I have absolutely swarms of dragonflies this summer here in Southeast Missouri. If every dragonfly caught (10) honeybees each day the numbers could total in the hundreds. Maybe they only take a couple of honeybees daily which would not hurt the overall population of a hive.

  2. BobbiT

    A couple of years ago, there were dragonflies snacking on my bee hive. Sadly, that hive swarmed, they came back, took all the honey and the wax.. Not sure exactly why, blamed my husband who had sprayed the driveway for weeds.. but it could be I didn’t know what I was doing, did not know about dearth and they may not have had enough food and left..

    These newest hives.. (2) trying two this time) are moved to a different location, we lock the bees up before we spray, and they are being feed.. the dragon flies are not as prevalent this year as they have been in years past.. both hives seem to be strong. Not sure if I have enough hne to harves any this year.. Just hoping they will make it through the winter.

  3. Chris Dominic

    Thanks for the post. I too am trying a Saskatraz. I installed her about a month ago. Slow to start but now going strong and I notices a frame full of honey. My Italians like your have been going strong all summer long and have not slowed down. I even added a deep to give them some room to one of the hives.

  4. Thomasine Sanguedolce

    Love your Bee Zen movie! My bees (Italians, Carniolians, Saskatraz, and Buckfast) had a good summer. We harvested honey and left the girls a full super of honey on each hive. We are working on fall splits now. Just received some new Italian queens today that will go in nucs tomorrow morning. The heat index in 110 today, so no work in the bee yard. The girls are all out on their front porches in the shade. Gotta love Texas in the summer.

  5. ET Ash

    My first visit here and it did not fail to be a nice experience… I found your comparison of type of bees interesting.

    Here in Central Texas the season starts early but terminates at about what most folks think of as the first days of summer. Given that the season is short there is not much time for the slow building ways of some kinds of bees (which at one time we called a ‘race’ of bees). IMHO there is some advantage to incorporating diversity into an apiary but even this involves risk < as we do test for bees here largely thru the Texas A&M Bee Lab and some combination can display a somewhat nasty disposition which is often mis identified (that is without lab work) as
    africanized.
    Gene in Central Texas…

  6. V Blakley

    One of my hives is pretty snarky so I always work them last so I can leave the bee yard when I’m finished. On one occasion this summer I had a single bee that was very angry and noisy, and determined to stick with me, so I decided to take the long route back to the barn. This involved a stroll around the pond. The bee was very persistent so I decided to stop and watch the turtles for a moment. It was buzzing noisily around my netted head when all of a sudden a dragonfly flew off its perch and snatched the bee out of mid air. I have to say that at the time I felt very pleased with their predatory nature and perhaps even a bit self satisfied! We have lots of dragonflies but I have never seen them swarming the bee yard. This experience showed me the precision with which they hunt. I imagine they could do some damage if they wanted to.

  7. Paula Fisher-Raines

    Heaven to betsy, thats why I have such a large population of big blue (B52 size) dragons, knew they’re carnivores but never put 2 & 2 together till your mentioning, I like to sit with my coffee and ‘zen’ in the mornings, dragons are afternoon/evening stalkers along my irrigation ditch at the bottom of my property, I’ve seen them up top by the yard, but never in action on my girls, (have seen them in action on water skippers) now I’m wondering if the dragon I found in the throws of death on my back porch had been stung to death?
    Well? now its something I will watch for, (love the dragons) now I’m on the search for info on our dragons here and will be more attentive when I see them, if i see them in the upper bee yard, hummm.