We were distracted by Hurricane Irene in the form of a tropical storm that flooded our yard and basement. It came within a foot of my backyard lavender hive. Is that a good enough excuse for not checking my hive's honey stores and storage patterns going into Fall? Cold...cold...not ready! We have had 30's at night! 50's and 60's already during the day. Right is one of my girls on our sedum plant. Not much else in bloom.
THIS MORNING IN THE YARD CAPTURED THIS MOMENT - HUMMING BIRD AND HONEY BEES TAKING TURNS Our humminbird feeder has these delightful rubber flowers that are like nipples on the end so that they keep the insects out and let the bird's beak in.
When the forecast said 70's on Wednesday I took the day to get that queen excluder off the Ferncroft Italians. Never again will I use such a device. It did not help the bees or me.
I only got to the tall Italian hive that had over-wintered. The top shallow was completely empty...no drawn comb. The next medium deep was put on in the spring with some honey...but I was able to harvest both some spring and fall honey from it. We get goldenrod and aster here in the fall....rich dark and very tasty honey.
ICKY PHOTOS WARNING:
There was one frame on the end in the hive deep on top of the excluder that looks diseased in someway. I'll have someone look at it. This frame I had moved to the end last year to migrate it out of the hive. Apparently not soon enough. Not sure what this indicates:
SIDE ONE OF SICK FRAME:
SIDE TWO OF SICK FRAME: You can see the foundation was ignored.
INNER COVER WITH MOISTURE, MOLD, AND INSECT OF SOME SORT I suspect that leaving a gap of air between the homasote board and the innercover created moisture from our humid season to form on the hive-side of the inner cover.
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I did not check on the two medium deeps on the bottom where the queen has spent the season. I do not know if they have pollen but there was no pollen that I could see in anything above the queen excluder. In looking at the macro photos I took of the excluder it seems full of dead drones. All these bees are dead.
I have video of the event and I had a blissful moment when the bees were all swirling around me...it was a moment that let's you know you are a beekeeper. Of course, I should have done many things differently like let them settle down back into the hive before putting the cover back on. I still want to go back out and replace that frame and the inner cover. I did swap out the hive deep for a new one in order to lift it off the excluder. These Italians are not big on propolis build up so removing the boxes, frames and excluder was easy. The tragic thing is that I forget that most of these bees have not been out and gotten oriented to the hive. Many were trying to squeeze into the back of the Canadian Fuchsia hive as well as squeeze in to the joining lines on their own hive. There were acts of kindness that some beekeepers may have thought was fighting; but when you watch for awhile as I had the privilege of doing - after a break on the neighbor's porch with gentle breezes and sweet company - I realized they were just helping each other clean off the sticky left-overs from the upset of their world this sunny September day.