Bees in May and June

brood frame-1553

Brood frame with open larva and capped brood 

During May I traveled but before leaving, made sure the hives were shaded and the covers weighed down should any high winds blow. Also left instructions for the containers surrounding the table legs the beehives rest on filled with water daily, in case ants visit and create havoc inside the hive. Thankfully all was well on my return.

In terms of beekeeping, June was buzzing along nicely, queens were laying and many new bees were raised. Pollen and nectar stored and honey capped, you could smell the sweet scent coming from the hives. And for the first time, one hive was storing extra honey in the super above the brood box. Towards the last week of June temperatures were rising fast and at night, noticed more bees gathered at the hive entrance fanning to cool the hive.

Observing bees from outside the hive you can sometimes tell if things are not right. One afternoon noticed many bees gathered over the hive entrance moving around in an agitated manner compared with the other hives, bees calmly flying in and out. On closer inspection and looking under the open mesh floor of the hive, honey was beginning to drip through. The scent of open honey excites bees and causes other bees to investigate which can lead to a robbing frenzy. I inspected the hive and had to remove a frame, part of the waxcomb with capped honey had broken and had collapsed . This frame was not wired and with the weight of capped honey and heat, not strong enough. Another lesson in beekeeping… best to use wired frames in this part of the world where temperatures are very high. It was a sticky job and the bees were not happy, but I was well protected wearing a full bee suite.

bee fanning at entrance-2

Bees in arched position fanning the entrance of the hive

The beekeeping calendar guidelines for May and June... check for swarm cells or supercedure cells. Check ventilation and harvest honey. Also, check for varroa.
On inspection, no swarm cells, supercedure cells or varroa noted, but soon will harvest a frame or two of honey. The hives have ventilation holes in the inner covers and two hives have open mesh floors.

June the 21st was the longest day in the year and according to the Arabic lunar calendar, the hot winds of Al-thurya (phonetic spelling) and the high temperatures of Al-two-we-ba (phonetic spelling) will prevail until beginning of July. The bees have some difficult months ahead… they managed last year so hopefully they will manage this year too.

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