Just popped down to add some water to the reservoir near the hive. I think I was a little over exuberant and I am slightly afraid I might have drowned one. That slowed me down and made me think. When hard earned money has paid for them you don’t want to lose any.
They were all still busily bringing in mustard coloured pollen and one bee had one sac that looked as thought it would burst. I have no idea if there is a maximum capacity or whether a heavy load takes its toll on the bee. I gather when foraging is hectic the bees die because their wings give out. I feel almost as sad about that as when I read in Peter Pan that every time someone says they don’t believe in fairies, one dies. Pity there aren’t medals for bees – that one with the heavy pollen load deserved something. Would she resent me if she knew that next year I might take some of her hard earned honey? Is she driven because she knows teh colony will not survive over the winter without more honey? I have invested in a wire queen excluder as I think there is less risk of wing damage – but at almost £20 they are very much more expensive than the plastic ones.
The person from whom I obtained the bees said they needed some feeding – effective feeding were his words, so the queen keeps laying. I didn’t manage to spot the queen yesterday when we transferred the frames and I am not fully sure I saw any eggs. I saw capped and uncapped brood. Would the bees be working so industriously if there were no queen in situ? I have read that I need to feed at night to reduce robbing – but what time do bees actually finish flying and what time in the morning do they all start again? Should I get up early to remove any syrup that is left? Will they have eaten all the syrup – do they eat when they are in the hive at night? The more I find out the more questions.
Whilst adding water and watching teh activity I was aware of a very persistent wasp. It was around the roof and though it went out of sight a few times it was quickly back as if it failed in its quest. then I was aware of it around the entrance a few times, unsuccessfully trying to get in. I wondered if I could kill it to help the colony? Then, in a trice, it was in the entrance as a gap in the guard bee patrol was spied. I almost held my breath in terror; what was happening in side? A split second later the wasp is pushed out with a guard bee each side. There is a tussle and the ball of the three bodies falls to the ground – did I imagine the faintest thud on the grass? Were they about to kill the wasp – I wouldn’t blame them. The ball of three bodies springs apart. The wasp decamps a little and the two bees go back to guard the entrance. I wonder whether they have emotions – do they just see this as a healthy attempt by the wasp to get food and a successful attempt by themselves to see it off? More questions. I’d like to go and watch them but there is ironing, sunday lunch and much more to prepare. Gerrards Cross summer school sessions, for example!