Sorry for the dearth of blog posts. I've been busy with things like this...
I'm taking the rest of honey off the hives today!
Here are the girls near the hive entrance. For those who think honeybees are aggressive, let me just say I was crouched next to the hive with my macro lens a couple of inches away from the bees, and nobody said "boo!"
The bees were very busy yesterday bringing in lots of pollen from the goldenrod and asters and who knows what else.
I like sitting and watching the comings and goings at the hive entrance. There's always something going on there. Yesterday Gordon and I had to stop taking off honey supers halfway through, because they girls were starting to get themselves whipped up into a robbing frenzy. At this time of year, they are very eager to steal honey from other bees, and in a worst-case scenario, bees from a strong hive can enter a weak hive and strip it of all its honey stores. This we do not want!
Yesterday they were getting excited because I had hives open while taking off the honey boxes (supers), and they could smell that honey and were telling all their friends. When I saw them getting too excited, we closed up the hives, took away what we had, and I put entrance reducers on the hives for a few hours. This is a bar of wood with a small entrance cut out of it that goes in front of the regular hive entrance. It makes it harder for bees to get in and out (they have to slow down and take turns) and also give the guard bees at the entrance less space to have to defend.
Everybody simmered down pretty quickly. I'm going to finish taking off the honey today.
At this time of year, the nectar flow has stopped and the bees are just finding whatever they can to fill up their stores before winter. One of the things they LOVE in fall is sedum. I have many sedum plants and they are routinely covered with honeybees and bumblebees in the fall.
And back in butterfly land...
This poor, tattered White Admiral butterfly was enjoying a yellow coneflower!
A honeybee's wings get like this at the end of her lifespan too. Workers bees just wear themselves out, often dropping dead while out foraging, wings tattered.
Fall is definitely in the air. Hope you are all enjoying the Labour/Labor Day weekend!