Beeyard Update – July 2020

Here’s a 15-minute update of where I am in my beeyard today, recorded on my cell phone, all the ums and ahs cut out, nothing fancy, mostly me pointing at my hives and talking.

A few things I forgot to mention: First, the colony that was about to swarm. Those bees got defensive about a week before they were ready to swarm. I’ve heard that that can happen, but I’ve never noticed it before. I’ve also heard that when a colony gets defensive, the smell of alarm pheromone is similar ripe fruit, specifically bananas. Again, something I’ve heard about but have never experienced until now. Those bees were so defensive when I split up the hive, I could smell ripe fruit. “Bananas!” wasn’t my first thought, but if I had to pick a fruit, I guess I’d say banana. Alarm pheromones are distinctive. This was the first time it smelled like I’d just opened a gift basket of fruit.

I slipped open the top of one my ones hives in the video to give them relief from the heat. It works, but… I forgot to close it before I went to bed. Not a huge deal, but rain overnight would have been a bad thing. Although this kind of extra ventilation can be helpful at times, creating a huge opening at the top of the hive like that can require more guard bees, and more guard bees means a greater chance of the bees becoming defensive. A person could be walking by a hive that’s partially opened like this — like I did this morning — and bam, a bee will fly out and sting you in the earlobe. So the extra ventilation is okay, but sometimes comes at a price.