Sunday, May 16, 2010

Checks and Balances

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We have been trying to check each of our beehives, every other weekend. Yesterday we took a look at the Gloriana hive. Robb did most of the work, this time.

What you see in this photo is Robb looking ever-so-chic in his bee gear. In the foreground, there's a hive box that we've already inspected. We've got it covered with a tea towel, because the hive is usually dark inside, and we're trying not to stress the bees.

Also, you'll notice that Robb is standing with all his weight on his heels. Due to the damage to his motor and sensory neurons, he's not able to support weight on the balls of his feet, so he tends to default to this toes-up stance. In front of Robb, you can see the "frame rest" we use when we're moving things around in the hive. When Robb was first starting to walk again, he had all sorts of balance issues (because he can't feel or fully use his feet). Yesterday, we were both extremely aware of Robb's balance. The last thing we wanted was for him to stumble forward into a couple of hundred bees.

(This is a particularly crappy corner of our garden. Don't judge us.)




We number our frames, so that we can re-assemble the hive correctly. Again, we're trying to not disrupt the bees' lives.




Here's another labeled photo. We can snap photos quickly, and examine them at our leisure. The coolest thing in this photo (in my opinion) is the drone, chewing his way out of his wax cell. He started as an egg, hatched as a larva, shed his larval "skin" several times, was sealed into his comb by the other bees, transformed into a pupa, and emerged as a full-developed male bee.




I never tire of the beautiful structure of the comb. Learning about (and keeping) bees has been endlessly fascinating.

4 comments:

Town Mouse said...

Very cool! I never thought this would be so interesting. I mean, I read about it, but it's much more fun to see the pictures and hear the stories.

Stefaneener said...

Photographing the combs is a great study aid, too. You can notice things at your leisure. Sometimes I get kind of bemused while I'm inspecting, and watch a bee hatch, or one dance. . .

Balance issues would be a big deal while inspecting. I'm clumsy enough to "bonk" the frames, so I don't inspect bare-handed, and that's not even from a fall. Robb's got guts for bees, that's for sure.

Let's harvest together next month?

Carol said...

I imagine it is very fascinating keeping bees and difficult to balance on one's heels!

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Yes, balance is difficult for Robb, but he stubbornly keeps at it! He is determined to walk, as much as possible.

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