Thursday, April 15, 2010
The hive next door to our hive is kind of like the trailer park of beehives.
They lost their queen overwinter (a Very Bad Thing) and so the various people who look after them brought them a new queen. The whole ordeal is very stressful to the bee colony, and so, out of respect, people have been leaving them alone to get through the honeymoon period I suppose. If this hive's a rockin' don't come a knockin'.
I have the utmost respect for bees, but also the utmost curiosity, and respect usually loses in these types of conflicts. So today we pried open the neighbor's hive and had a look. Compare and contrast- our hive:
I barely know a thing about bees, but even I can tell that's not what it's supposed to look like. You can't very well scream at a colony of bees "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!", but I wanted to. Dr. Drone explained that bees prefer a very specific amount of space between their frames- 3/8". Anything bigger, and they will fill it with comb until it feels nice and snug again. This type of comb is called burr comb and it's gnarly. The problem with the neighbors is a big one- the frames in their main deep are the wrong size, meant to fit in a much smaller box, so they've spent their honeymoon period with their new queen filling it up with twisted, bumpy, ratty wax in an attempt to fill in the huge gaps.
It really reminds me of a crappy apartment Mr. Holt and I used to share where the foundation had shifted and the walls were ominously separated from the floorboards. We filled the perimeter of the walls with furniture so we wouldn't have to look at the gap. It made our whole place look crowded and kind of askew, but we had no where else to go, so it worked. That's what the neighbor bees are doing. I think our bees complain about them at night.
"Did you see what they put out in their yard?!"
"I know! Someone should really do something about them. It lowers the property value of the whole block."
It'll be an act of charity to fix their hive and help them out. Dr. Drone assures me they do not actually care one bit about the aesthetics of their frames, and they are more than fine, but I am a nosy busybody, and I'm putting it on this list of things to do this summer.
#431: class up the neighbors.