Saturday, 18 June 2016

Buzz'n And Flutter'n

I'm continuing to monitor my honey bees with the sugar shake mite count. So far, I have found zero mites. July and August is the time when mites reach their highest levels, concurrent with the peak volume of honey bee brood cells that varroa mites reproduce in. I'll continue regular mite sampling checks until the hives are wrapped for the winter.

But I noticed that the great majority of returning worker bees are favouring the top entrance over the bottom board entrance. And traffic jams were occurring during peak foraging hours. So I gave each top box an additional two entrances. Bee traffic is flowing much better now.

When I added a box to each hive, I used thawed frames of honey near the box sides and empty frames for new comb and brood in the center portion. Some of the honey was dripping a bit and the sweet scent lured a hummingbird. She spend a few minutes searching for the source, then gave up and returned to the flowers.

My honey bees are making good use of the two additional entrances.

A hummingbird is drawn to the sweet scent of newly added honey frames.

The nest of Yellowthroat warblers now contains three newly hatched babies (all legitimate, not a cowbird among them). They are growing incredibly fast, thanks to their devoted parents. In only a couple of days their tiny naked wings have sprouted pin feathers. The parents seem to have gotten used to my occasional and brief inquisitive visits and only issue token scoldings.

Only days old, these Yellowthroat warbler babies are growing remarkably fast.

A tree swallow delivering food to his youngsters.

Feral Ginger Thomas is not chatting but licking his lips after a hearty meal.


8 comments:

  1. A whole lot of work in your beehives, love the hummingbird hovering, and Thomas, he is a grand fellow, who knows where his home is.

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    1. As always, Jean, I love getting your comments. Poor old Ginger Thomas (I've been calling been various names over the years) seems to have no home. Over the years I've spotted him in the fields mouse hunting. He is very wild and all my pictures of him were taken from inside my windows, because he won't let me get close at all. Since he's getting older, the younger toms rule and recently he was limping on three legs. I give him a senior pension of a meal if I see him waiting for it on the deck. Poor old chappie.

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  2. I don't know how you do it but you get fantastic shots...love the one with the Hummingbird...

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    1. Thank you for your kind comments, Carol. I have only a modest point and shoot camera. I take several shots of each subject and throw out the worst ones. I keep remembering the days when we had to be mindful not to waste film. Digital photography was a great invention!

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  3. Hi Florence, I love your bee talk. You are like a good mama keeping a close eye on them. Amazing the growth of baby birds isn't it. Things are a little quiet around here like a lull with the heat. Not sure how intense heat affects the hives.

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    1. The intense heat does affect the hives. Hot dry weather reduces the flow of flower nectar and more worker bees haul water and fan their wings to cool the hive. Such little troopers!

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  4. How wonderful! We've been busy playing host and hardly have walked the property!!!

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  5. Rain! Not a lot but a bit! :-)
    (ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

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Thanks so much for stopping by. I'm always glad to hear from you and appreciate the time you take to comment.