On my last colony check, I leaned over too far and my cell phone slipped out of my pocket. Neither the bees nor my phone were best pleased by this occurrence, but we all survived largely unscathed. (Note to self: Phone goes in lower suit pocket, not upper pocket!)
Fortunately, much like buttered toast, cell phones always land screen-down. Actually, this usually isn’t fortunate at all – but it was today. That universal law meant my phone didn’t slip between the frames, so I could pick it up again quickly. Although I can picture the discussion with the repair tech if that had gone another way…
There isn’t much else to report from this week’s check – which is probably as it should be, at this point in the summer. The workers haven’t done much with the honey super, so I may have added it a little prematurely last week. But the frames in the bottom boxes are almost completely drawn out, so it definitely belongs there now! I looked carefully, but didn’t see signs of a high population of small hive beetles (just one more dead beetle in a Swiffer pad), and although after my last blog post I’m extra-paranoid about varroa mites, I haven’t found any sign of those yet, though I’m told they are probably present. Varroa mites are always present. The queen is looking magnificent – I swear, I think she’s even bigger now than ten days ago! And I saw lots of pearly-white brood developing. Now let’s hope they start building comb in that upper box to make honey!
Since I don’t have much else to say, I would just like to take a proud moment to share with you all that, after growing a veritable jungle of bee balm in my yard, the honey bees finally, finally located it the week before all the flowers died.
Good job, bees! It’s only right across the yard from you, literally in sight of your hive. Isn’t your sense of navigation supposed to be legendary?
The bee balm hasn’t gone unused, though. The bumbles have been very happy to have it.
I’ve been working to plant my yard with native plants — or at least cultivars of native plants — or at the very least get the non-native plants that are invasive removed. I’m not there yet (there is still a Spirea in my front yard) but I’m happy to say a lot of my yard is designed to support birds, bees, and butterflies. (I’m also supporting a pair of shameless roof rats that showed up on my birdfeeder last week, but… that part wasn’t by design.) Of course, I have a wish list larger than the space I have for planting! So maybe some of you will plant those things, instead. In particular, if you want to provide a home for butterflies and moths, I highly recommend Doug Tallamy’s book, Bringing Nature Home. You can access his planting list here.
Now, would someone explain to my bees that they are supposed to love this echinacea they’ve left untouched for a month and a half…?