Monday, April 23, 2012

Bee Vlog - April 21, 2012

Today I went to bee school. Just a one-day event hosted by the Portland Metro Beekeeping Association. It was really fun and informative. The air was filled with bees, which was a little off-putting at first but I got used to it.

The first class I took was about the state of the bees. The second was about natural beekeeping. I was looking forward to that one the most but was pretty disappointed with it. Maybe my hopes were too high. Maybe I expected something more than just how to test for varroa mites (that's really all they covered). I go on a minor rant about it in this video.

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After returning home I immediately went to inspect my bees. During the inspection David quickly spotted the queen, so we got a good look at her. The brood is developing nicely. Most of it is capped, which means new bees will be emerging within 2 weeks. There was a little more drone brood than I was expecting to see, but the percentage is about normal.

Since I'm using foundationless frames, the bees are free to build whatever size cells they want/need. With typical plastic or wax foundation the bees aren't able to build drone comb, so they end up building a lot of burr comb to accommodate the drone brood they want to raise. During the bee school event I noticed quite a lot of burr comb filled with drone brood.

One of the fundamentals of natural beekeeping is just let the bees do what they want. So I'm not worried about the drone brood. I'm not going to cut it out and remove it. The bees know what they need better than I do, so if they want to build it I'm just going to let them. But, when I first saw the drone brood my initial reaction was worry that the queen wasn't mated, because all I saw (at first) was drone brood. But then the next frame was mostly filled with some good looking worker brood and my fears were averted.

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