Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Home Sweet Hive

On Tuesday we decided to open the beehives just long enough to remove the queen cages and check on the sugar syrup feeders. It was a cold day, hovering around 43 degrees, a bit too chilly for the bees to leave the hive. We thought it would be a little easier to accomplish our task on a cool day. Also, we didn't want to leave the queen cages in the hive too long or the bees would begin to build comb around them. This might result in beautiful free-form comb resembling modern art, but it makes it nearly impossible to manage the hive. We didn't want to stall too long.

The green hive was relatively simple. The queen had been inadvertently released on Friday during installation, and the hive has been happily building comb for a few days. The queen cage was empty on the floor of the hive. We were able to move top bars and grab the queen cage without disturbing their comb-building cluster.

The blue hive was another story. The queen cage was suspended between two top bars and fastened with a thumb tack. Bees were still clustered around the queen cage, but we felt sure the queen had been released because the whole cluster had slowly moved down the hive. After we got the queen cage unattached from the top bars, we had to carefully remove the clinging bees. It wasn't so easy to accomplish because a few hundred bees were pretty angry at us for disturbing their peace. Since we're new at this, we probably weren't as calm as we might have been and we smushed a few bees in the process. It was very exciting.

Yesterday the weather warmed into the 60s and the hives were very busy. The photo above shows a bee getting a drink of water at the rock & water dish situated between the hives.

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