Monday, August 23, 2010

Lord willing the creek won't rise...

The French writer Stendhal said it best when he commented, "The man of genius is he and he alone who finds such joy in his art that he work at it come hell or high water. " Well, we've at least been tested through high water this week, and hope is all we have to keep hell at bay for now.

Last week our area got about 8 inches of rain in just a couple of hours. Check out some pictures here. As most of our apiaries scattered around town are well above flood-prone areas, the bees were safe. However, Greg did have to wade through swift flood waters to rescue our entire marketing division (a hand-painted "Honey For Sale" super placed down beside the road!). We of course were luckier than some to escape the damage this heavy rainfall has ravaged upon our state this summer.

In other news, we wanted to update everyone on the results of our latest queen grafting. About 50% of the grafts took and then about 50% of those mater and are now laying. They are looking great so far!

Greg is also working on a new experiment. He took one of the nucs that was unsuccessful at creating a laying queen and other one that we had moved the old queen out for re-queening and took them to a couple of nucs with eggs and larva. He grafted some of the larva in the correct stage of development and placed them in plastic cups and inserted them in the queen-less nucs. Three days later, one was beginning to build out the queen cell and the other had failed. You can see the queen cell in the picture below.

Upon closer inspection, Greg had over-looked a queen earlier, who have just begun laying. This of course was good news. Inspired by good news of early success in both nucs, Greg decided to do two more nucs the same way to see if this method will produce quality queens. We can neither promote or refuse this method at this time because of its unconventional nature; however, this was a good opportunity to get some more grafting experience without too much of a commitment.

Some of the hives are already receiving sugar sugar to help build up their supplies for the winter. We prefer not to feed, but we MORE prefer the bees not to starve. We can all agree that would be a terrible way to go.

Updates on the status of the water cannon experiment... it's not good. The few survivors have since been moved to another hive, which effectively ends that chapter. Speaking of terrible ways to go....death by water cannon is not at the top of my list.

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