Housekeeping, kickboxing and the marionette dance!


I was having a morning where all I wanted was to crawl back in bed and start over.  The sun wasn’t out…other “issues” looming over me…feeling rather glum like Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh!

Well, I didn’t go back to bed.  I got “busy!”  That means house stuff…like laundry.  I had lunch.  Filled the hummingbird feeder for what seemed like the millionth time (there are no fewer than 20 flying around the feeder right now)….and even the hummingbirds were grumpy! What next?

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Pulling feathers isn’t nice!

Well next, Dolly showed up.  Dolly is my one-eyed raccoon friend.  She sort of took the place of Cubby the raccoon who disappeared one day and never came back.  I gave Dolly a handful of dry cat food and a few grapes and guess what?  The sun came out.

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Dolly Raccoon

I went back inside and grabbed my camera and thought I’d check my bees.  That was just what I needed to distract me.  Once in front of the hive, I forgot everything else and became part of the buzzing energy of the colony.

If you’ve been following my posts, then you’d know the other evening I combined my two hives.  The bees seem to be doing fine.  While I was outside, I changed their feeder jars and was glad I had my gloves and suit on.  I didn’t use a smoker, so they were just a little disturbed when I opened the top to take a look.  I felt a little guilty when I realized one little bee left her stinger in my glove.  That meant the end of her life.  Worker bees can only sting you once.   She made a big sacrifice trying to protect her sisters from me.

I closed up the top and went back inside for a bit to get some coffee.  Losing the bee suit and the gloves, I went back out with my camera and sat on a rock in front of the hive.  Curiously, my bees seem more accepting of me when I am not suited and veiled.  They barely noticed me on that rock and I got to observe what they were keeping themselves busy with.

My bees were doing EXACTLY the same thing I had been busy with earlier….Keeping House!  I watched as workers would half drag/half fly with the cumbersome body of one of the drones, dragging it out of the entrance.  Sometimes there would be two worker bees sharing the load.  They weren’t just carrying out the drones though.  They were removing dead bees and other debris too.

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Worker bee carrying off drone body

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It’s a long way down!

While I sat and watched, I didn’t see any bees flying back to the hive with pollen.  I’m sure at the moment, they are busy straightening up from the problems I had earlier.  All the drone brood was draining what little resources the workers had built up.  They need to get the drones out so they can start fresh.   I’m not sure how many they’ve carried out, but felt a bit sorry for this poor little fellow with his big dark eyes.

They literally pushed him to the edge of the board.  If they’d been at sea, it would have been the same as making him walk the plank!

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Off you go!

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Clinging to the edge in desperation

There was also a bumble bee that visited the hive.  I don’t exactly think my honey bees rolled out the welcome mat though.  That bumble bee was going to have to do some fancy footwork to stay long enough to lap up the drops of sugar syrup I accidentally spilled at the entrance.

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Here comes the bumble!

And, fancy footwork it was!  I watched that yellow bumble bee kick-box every honey bee that tried to convince her to leave.  My little worker bees would walk up to the bumble gal and swing the end of their abdomen around, buzzing their wings at her.   A few of them tried biting her legs, but she swung a good kick here and there to make them retreat.

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Tai kwon do anyone?

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and another kick!

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she’s definitely not welcome!

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Worker bee bites her leg

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Getting mobbed!

At one point, she actually made it past the guards.  I waited with the camera to see what would happen.  It wasn’t more than a few moments before she was shown the door.  There was a mob behind her, hastening her exit!  Eventually she got tired of the fight and decided to go sip nectar somewhere else.

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A hasty exit!

And least I forget, one of my bees danced around like a little marionette puppet on strings in front of the hive.  At first I thought it was one of my drones finally taking wing.  This would have been the first one I’ve seen airborne.  All the others have been too rotund …and my workers have “bee’n” all too happy to roll them out onto the ground!  Examining the photos a little closer, I think he’s a she!  I’ve not seen these flight maneuvers before though, so I’d love to know what message my little bee was sending.

Bee back soon!

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The marionette!

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Whee!

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Over here now!

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Look at me!

See more photos and updates when you “Like” my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TalesFromTheHive

 

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About "BUGGING" YOU FROM FRIDAY HARBOR!

I love beetles and keep bees! In my free time, I enjoy photography (mostly bugs) and documenting insect species found on San Juan Island. I have limited availability for local, onsite beekeeping consultation and hive inspection, honey bee removal/swarm collection as well as phone/skype consultation. Contact me at cyndibrast@me.com Member Washington State Beekeepers Association
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One Response to Housekeeping, kickboxing and the marionette dance!

  1. Don’t you just hate how housework can be an antidote for any kind of lethargy or the blues? Better when it’s the furry, winged, or buzzy friends that distract you. I’ll read your combining hives with interest as I am going to be doing that with my hives shortly, I think….

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