Saturday, July 9, 2011
No bees this summer -- at least not honey bees -- but plenty of bunnies.
I still read all the emails I get as a member of the MCBA listserv -- the Montgomery County Beekeepers Association. Here's an example of how interesting (and complicated) beekeeping can be. I think a lot of the appeal of beekeeping is about having to come up with conclusions-theories-diagnoses for any bee behavior that isn't ideal. I miss my bees daily, but every day I also grow more and more convinced that it was right to give them away. Here's a typical email:
I have a follow up question in light of yesterday's lively discussion on bee temperament this time of year. For the most part, I have been extremely pleased with the temperament of my bees. I have only been stung four times since early May and each time was on the hands since I have tried to be a gloveless beekeeper.
I recall Jim F---- saying in the Short Course that you should leave your bees alone in July and August. I have continued to feed my bees with sugar syrup and have 4 eight frame medium boxes on the hives now. I just added the fourth one last Saturday. Both hives seem to be "strong" and are real comb building machines and I am seeing vigorous orientation flights just about every day in the late afternoon. Besides the occasional hive beetle, say two or three at a time, and a few ants, I have not noticed any pests yet either.
Any time I have looked at the lower/brood boxes, I have seen no evidence of queen cells of any type.
I have lately noticed the bees being slightly more irritable, but not enough to cause me alarm, but enough to make me consider using gloves in July and August. Here's my question --
Besides going in the clean out my top hive feeder every week or so, is there any reason to intrude on the rest of the hive during these hot months when the bees are known to be more sensitive and as long as there are no apparent changes in the bee temperament that might signal a real issue? I know there are probably many different views on this issue, but I would like to hear what the experienced beekeepers think on this issue.