After five weeks away, I returned to my Ohio home Saturday about 5PM. As soon as the dog had been turned loose, the cat freed from her carrier/prison and the torts were released from their cramped traveling quarters, I headed out to the hives. It was too late in the day to open up and examine the hives so I had to be content with seeing how things looked from the outside. At dusk, I revisited my tree stump perch. The bees were returning to their hives. Due to the heat, they were forming slight beards on the fronts of the boxes. The bees keep the temperature in the hive at about 90 degrees, so when they are too warm, they hang out on the front porch.
This is Hive 3 at sundown.
Sitting on the front stoops, waiting for dark.
I stayed out there until it was almost completely dark. The decreasing light made the meadow look even more lush, the cicadas were singing, the house wrens were scolding me for coming too close, the hives were humming and maybe best of all, the fireflies were flashing their messages across the meadow and deep in the ravine.
Sunday morning, while it was still only in the 80s, I was ready to examine the hives. Right before I donned my bee clothes, took a precautionary Benadryl, grabbed my tools and smoker and got down to business, the meadow had a visit from a doe and her two spotted fawns. We admired them all and allowed them to munch on some meadow greenery before letting Sam out to chase them off.
Hives 2 and 3 are making similar progress with drawn out comb. While Hive 3 is one box taller than Hive 2, not much is going on up there. There were some bees in that super but little comb, no eggs, brood, larvae, pollen or honey. The next box down had frames heavy with honey. I continued to examine frames in the next box down (2nd from the bottom), where I saw lots of capped brood and larvae. I didn't find the queen but since the girls were getting jittery (one went into attack mode on Harvey's arm) I decided not to examine the bottom hive box.
Hive 2 had less honey but the frames looked perfect with brood and I could see that comb where bees had emerged was prepared for another visit from their Ohio queen. I found her in the middle box so I closed it all up without delay.
Hive 1 is still the strongest of the three hives. Her majesty has been busy running a great hive. I got to see her, too! The inner lid of Hive 1 was so loaded with bees, perhaps 1,000 of them, I knew there would be many accidentally crushed when I reassembled the hive so I shook them off in front of the hive. After the hive was safely closed, I went to the front of the hive and got to see all those bees marching in a wave back to their front door. What remarkable little creatures they are.
Sting count remains at 9.