This summer, I had an issue with one or two aggressive colonies. I had to move them from my home apiary. When I opened the stockade gate to my apiary — guard bees were immediately there for me. After moving the offending colonies, things really calmed. But even now after having worked bees and reentering the apiary, several bees are (nearly) immediately upon me.
I had the thought that these bees are not guarding a particular colony – they are essentially guarding the apiary – which in turn guards the their home colony. Could I call these defensive bees – “apiary guard bees”? Do they remember my various odors or my appearance? They seem to be more that spontaneous colony guards. Its impossible to determine from which colony these apiary guards are from. I find this global guarding behavior interesting.
Being a bee-friendly beekeeper
Within a wide range, each beekeeper maintains their colonies in ways suitable to their lifestyle and personal schedule. Some of us can allocate more time to our bees than others. As colony numbers increase, you should expect to spend less time with individual colonies. Beekeepers who rarely manipulate their colonies will most likely have
some, or even many, die. Alternatively, beekeepers who open their practically every day are also putting stress on their colonies. New beekeepers can be somewhat excused. They are still learning and are excited to explore their new bee world.
Continue reading Being Gentle with the Bees
I had several large, late season swarms that are uncommon in Ohio. Two of the colonies did not successfully requeen. I am uncertain what this late season biology means for the bees and their colony survival. Any thoughts?
I don’t sense that they are problem, but there are definitely more yellowjackets attacking my colonies that in past years. They enter the hive freely and once inside, I can’t tell what is ongoing. There are few dead ones out front. When possible, I will photograph the yellowjacket events.
As they did last year, honey bee water foragers are on the job collecting water in very brisk weather. The job is a dangerous one and many foragers do not complete the trip. Once in the water, they chill quickly.