Visitors to the Bee Yard

This past week we have enjoyed having some family in town. It’s always neat to show friends and family the bees. I am still constantly fascinated by them and I like to share the fun. It’s also a nice way to realize how far we have come as beekeepers. It’s been 4 years now since we started as new-bees. I was so scared when we shook that first package of bees into the hive.  Last week I dropped an entire frame of bees. Yep just butterfingered them onto the ground and… nothing happened.  Well some bees were annoyed. Here they are crawling back into the hive.

For your own virtual hive tour I thought I’d share a few recent good photos of frames. Here’s one we pulled last week:
There’s a few things to notice. The first is the yellow cell in the middle- the one that sticks out like a sore thumb. That’s a drone. Drone (male bees) are in bigger cells than female bees. They sometimes appear in groups but ‘one-off’ drone cells aren’t uncommon. One-off female larva on the other hand can be a sign of queen problems. The queen usually lays eggs close together. Speaking of the queen can you see her majesty in the next photo? We’ve helpfully marked her green, the color for this year. 
You can also see a nice cluster of attendants around the queen.Here’s a close up:
As with all things, Fall is rapidly approaching. Our next big task is to get ready for winter. We will be looking into four key items for all our hives. They should all  (1) be  queen right, (2) have enough food for winter (3) be treated for mites (4) be physically prepared for cold weather.  We’ve have started our preparations and will talk more about it in the next post!