Saturday, April 23, 2011

Brood Box Addition

Mrs. Pondero's bees have been active. Though I might think it hazardous to fly sorties in such wind lately, it seems these critters are up to the challenge. Those orange blobs on their legs, are not fashion. They are evidence of another successful mission.

You can compare the rear legs of the arriver with the rear legs of the one departing. Continuous missions indeed, but has there been sufficient progress to suggest a new brood box be added?

That was the question of the day. Here, Mrs. Pondero uses smoke to prepare the bees for inspection.

Once the lid and feeder tray are removed, this is the first view. A box full of frames with so much honeycomb building activity, it literally overflows. They seek to fill the voids.

When one of the frames is removed for inspection, we get a better view of the results of so much activity.

Capped cells at the top of the frame, and work progressing on the others.

Mrs. Pondero wants to find the queen, and make sure she is doing well. She also wants to see if most of the frames are being used, and make a decision about whether to add another brood box. So she removes and inspects each frame.

She removes the superfluous honeycomb.

Even the son-in-law participated. He pulls a frame for inspection, and receives a tip from Mrs. Pondero. I'm getting quite skilled at using the camera's zoom capabilities. After all the inspection is complete, Mrs. Pondero decides to add the new brood box.

Anticipating the good news, we had the new box handy.

Mrs. Pondero uses smoke to encourage bees back into the hive. She doesn't want to harm anyone when placing the new box to the hive.

Careful placement.

Then return the feeding tray, and...

... the lid.

Finally, the tie-down strap is replaced. It has been quite windy out here on the prairie lately.

And at the end of the day, Mrs. Pondero took the superfluous honeycomb and produced a small batch of bee's wax. It was a day which provided hope for a honey sweet future.


  1. Those creatures are awesome, aren't they? The pollen sacks on the returning bees were really packed.

    Beekeepers in our area struggle with finding enough forage areas in our corn and soybean landscape throughout the year to keep their hives healthy. We have an initiative here to encourage folks to plant plants for pollinators which bloom throughout the growing season.

  2. Excellent! I'm glad to see that the little guys are thriving.

  3. When I lived in Everett, our next door neighbor kept bees. It seemed a little sporty to me, considering that she was HIGHLY ALLERGIC to bee stings. I trust Mrs Pondero would not simply keel over if stung?


  4. That sounds like something a woman would do emotionally. Open the hive and check on the mother of the hive, the Queen. Not that there's anything wrong with that, certainly. Just offering an observation. It goes without saying, there are bees everywhere. If you don't believe me, mix up some sugar water and put it out on the back porch. It's possible, I suppose, there'll be no bees attracted to your sugar, it's just not very likely.

  5. Thanks, all, for the encouragement. I must admit that this whole mania of hers has been more fun than I would have guessed.

    Steve, we don't know, but have an emergency backup plan in place.

    Paul, if you knew Mrs. Pondero, you'd know that her search for the queen is more pragmatic than emotional. She was trying to verify that offspring production was in order. Without the queen, she does not achieve her objective.

  6. Very impressive, and a little insane. I love it!

  7. I checked in on your blog, as I do from time to time, looking for bike related stuff and found this. Very interesting. Thanks for posting.

    --Leaf S.