Yesterday we went to check the hives and add a third hive box to three of the 8 frame Minnesota Hygienic hives. The bees were very busy bringing in their loads of pollen and nectar after having been put behind a bit because of all the rain and unseasonably cold weather we’ve recently received here in Minnesota. I wore a suit and was thrilled at the close up view I experienced. Beekeeping continues to thrill and amaze me, especially when the kids describe to me exactly what the bees are doing at any given time. What an appreciation I have for the bees, their hard work and the honey they give. By the time we made it home, I had a camera full of bee photos, only a few of which I will share here.
Having the hives placed in a partially shaded area helps to keep the hives from getting too warm. When the air in a hive gets to be above 93 degrees (that’s approximately the normal temperature in a hive) the worker bees must fan their wings by the entrance to pull air into the hive and cool it. The less time the bees spend fanning, the more time for collecting nectar and pollen; hopefully things will progress faster.
Later in the evening, after work, Fred went and put a queen excluder and honey super on hive #7, a ten framer. It was the only hive ready for one just yet, but by the end of this week or the beginning of next week some of the others should be ready for a super as well. Eventually we’d like to have all the honey bees in the standard size of ten frame hive boxes.
On the way home we stopped to see this cocky ring-necked rooster pheasant (below) walking in the grass. The entire farm where we have some of our bees is full of pheasants, ducks, geese and deer. There are also a good variety of fruit trees growing wild such as plums, cherries and elderberries.
The now abandoned old homestead of Fred’s grandfather always looks so beautiful and we love to drive the redneck rig over to check on the bees. Somehow it helps to make us feel connected to the days gone by and to the people who used to occupy the lovely farm, now home to loads of wildlife, and now honey bees. Fred always stops to describe something of how it used to be when he was very young, to our children. There are still to be found, scattered throughout the old grove, some old honey jars that Fred’s grandmother used to fill with her own honey. Below is the old barn that we pass on the way up the very long driveway heading to the area in which the bees are located. I think it’s lovely!