Monday, June 01, 2009

June 1st, 2009

Chive in Full Bloom...The chives bloomed early and fast this year. I love the fuchsia center. Below...Flowers Galore.
Blossoms Catching Light...Bright!
Globe Onion in Bloom...Honey Bees LOVE onion blossoms!
Cherry Trees Doing Their BROWN ACT...What is up with these trees? Beautiful blooms result in impressive fruit-set, only to be followed by a bizarre brown-out-shrivel-up-and-drop-off act. What gives? Pears. Now there is a reliable fruit for this micro-climate.
The Bees New Hive Stand. New bees too. I am behind in my bee tales. Both hives from last year were a total loss bee-wise. They simply dwindled. Was it CCD, queens short of sperm or what? Both had abundant stores at the time of their demise and I am still at a loss as to the reason. I am looking at using SOLID BOTTOM BOARDS through the next winter, maybe switching over to russians. What you see here are my three packages ordered and installed mid- april. More Italians and one Carniolian (they are from Russian descent). They were installed on the wonderful drawn comb and honey/pollen stores from my previous hives. Overall they are building up fine and in the case of two of them the brood nest is full of eggs/larvae and capped brood. The middle hive has gone through a supersedure, where they replace their queen. This can happen for many different reasons. Learn more bee facts/fancy here! I inspected Wednesday and found 5 queen cells, two of which were so translucent and ready, I swear, I could see the queen through the cap! Some bee-keepers might do a hive split at his point, putting a frame with queen cells and bees, and a frame or two of foundation, into a small nuc. This is to insure that if the remaining queens fail to breed and start laying, they will have a back up. I am down with a bum knee, and am really trying to simplify things. So I am letting nature take its course. If they fail, I will combine them with one of my other hives. So what is happening in there now you may ask??? A lot. By Saturday, at least one queen had hatched and we got to hear her distinctive PIPING. This is a high pitched "peeping" sound made only by virgin queens, and it is a battle cry of sorts. We heard her loud and shrill. And we also heard a muffled version, a bit less distinctly. It was the unhatched queens communicating THROUGH the cell to their rival! Typically, the first queen to hatch will systematically kill the unhatched queens. If more than one is able to hatch, they normally will fight to the death with the workers urging them on! The virgin queen continues her piping noises and eventually (within a week) decides to take her first mating flight. The queen then flies to a Drone Congregation Area where the males bees tend to hang out, about 30' up a tree. These are not drones from her own neighborhood though. Nature wants diversity I guess, so, providing the day is sunny and warm, and after an orientation flight or two (to get the location of her hive learned) the queen will travel up to a mile and 1/2 away to mate with up to 10 different drones (...the sex organ of the drone is ripped out during the act, ending his life. ) THEN she has to find her way home again! (which way IS north??) She may be gone several hours. She may go out several days in a row. Once mated, providing she safely finds her way home, she will begin laying eggs and do that task entirely for the course of her relatively long life of 3 years, never to leave the hive again, unless they swarm. So we wait. We curse the cool weather and the clouds, and we listen attentively to the piping from inside the hive. We anticipate her departure and pray for her safe return, and we look forward to the sight of those first precious eggs. If she fails to mate within a week, she would become a drone laying queen. We really need some high pressure weather, and soon!
Blackberry, Looking Innocent and Beautiful. Who knew what destruction it can bring to your landscaping!
Almonds. Great year for almonds.
I have been on a bit of a blogger holiday. I am sad to report that we are already WAY behind in terms of pics and videos around here at the Humboldt-Homestead Blogspot. I have way more flora/fauna pics and too much AWESOME video from our spring field trip to the radical Wild Cat Park (just checked their site btw; they have two new baby African Servals!! too cute! That place was OUR FAVORITE of all touristy things to do in Oregon. Great scene.) Anyway, i probably won't be getting around to that until DECEMBER at the rate i am going!! Bum knee is healing so fast, but not fast enough. Why is that? Blessed with a blessing and still whining. hmmmmm. Going back into the garden to listen some more. I think i mighta missed a message.

1 comment:

kymk said...

Your flowers and photos are beautiful as usual. The chive picture is especially nice

I also like the photo you had in the Independent. Your bees enchant me. I'm sorry the hives didn't do better last year. I hope that this year goes well.