Tuesday, October 12, 2010

So Calif Bees In The Fall

The weather in Southern Calif has been very erratic. From the coolest summer in many years we moved to the hottest day of the year in late Sept,. It was 105 at the Apiary in The Dale on that day.. Since then it has been cool enough for long pants and then back in the 80's.
The bees just roll with it. In the picture above you can see a bee with a load of pollen flying in over the moat.  Click on it to make it larger.  Earlier the pollen was mainly yellow, this time of the year it is white or a very pale yellow.

I have not checked on the bees closely since late August.  I have another super ready to add to each of the hives and needed to find out if they were ready for it by now.

The Playa Vista bees are a smaller hive that seem to be thriving since they swarmed back in June.  They have always been gentle so they get the first inspection which allows more time for the smoker to work on the other hive.

When I added the third super in June I moved a couple frames of wax up, it is still there and the bees are adding some honey but there has been no further comb making.   As I checked the middle level, the two empty frames still had nothing on them either.  They were side by side so I split them apart with honey/brood frames in between then.  There was more capped honey than brood.
There was plenty of brood on the lower level.  This is the only frame I pulled out.  The queen was laying and they did not need to be bothered more.

 As I inspected the frames I accidentally spilled out some of the honey.  The workers were all over it but one or two look like drones getting a late feed before they are booted out.
This hive is not expanding quickly but seems to be okay with a fair amount of capped honey for the winter.  The La Nina weather implies less rain so there should be plenty nectar and pollen through the winter without having to feed them sugar water.

The Twitchy Bees are always active.  I have been out at 9PM in the summer and found this kind of crowd hanging out on the deck.  The top super  (#4) had comb only on a single frame but they are finally moving up..

The next super was a different story.  Empty frame #1 but 6-8 of the others looked like this.  Solid capped honey all the way across.  These bees will not be starving this winter.  Given the large amount of capped honey and very active state of the bees, I have to assume the Queen is working well and full time.  I went no further.  The Twitchy Bees are doing just fine.

Neither hive needed the extra super and should not need them until the Spring, both seem healthy.  I did see one bit of wax moth web on the lid of the Playa Bees but I did not see any other evidence.  The hive should be strong enough to deal with the intruder.  As I understand it wax moths lay their eggs under the hive and the larvae crawl up out of the dirt into the hive.  That should not happen here, both hives are on concrete and water. 

Unless some happens I doubt I will be bothering these guys for another two months.  They could be left alone longer than that but I get curious and need to poke around a bit.

REMINDER: BEE MEETING OCT 31 AT FARMLAB,   11AM.  Finally there is a hole in my dog-life schedule and I can make this meeting.  See you there!

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