2016-09: Goldenrod

As summer turns to fall the fields are once again gold.  In the spring it was dandelions, and now it is goldenrods.  Perhaps it is due to all of the rain we have gotten, this year seems to be a banner year for goldenrods.  For our bees, the goldenrods provide an end of the summer nectar flow to help with the winter stores of honey, and pollen.  Goldenrod nectar ripening in a hive gives off a strong odor. The honey is darker than the lighter summer honeys and tends to crystallize rapidly.  The picture shows one of our bees collecting pollen.  The pollen is stuffed into hairy receptacles (baskets) on their hind legs called corbiculae. A single bee can carry about half her own body weight in pollen. Once back at the hive, the workers stuff the pollen into an awaiting cell.

Around the 1st of September I took the top two boxes off the hive to see if there is enough honey, and that the queen is still laying eggs.  Both of these things were confirmed so I decided not to disrupt the two lower boxes.  A major disruption now will cause them to have to do a lot of unnecessary repairs to damaged comb.  I would rather let them continue to improve the hive for winter at this point.  I a few weeks it will be time for the final winter hive preparations.  I will have updates on this later.

On a side note, I finally got stung!  In early august I was attempting to fix the hive entrance.  There is a piece of wood along the entrance that allows the beekeeper to change the size of the opening.  I really had to rap on this to get it free and the bees were not happy about this.  If there is any part of the hive that they will defend it is the entrance.  Well the screen on my hood was pressed up against the tip of my ear, and a bee found that spot!  When a honey bee stings, its stinger, the venom sac and other parts of the honey bee’s body are pulled out and left behind, killing the bee.  The venom sac continues to pump venom so it is best to remove it quickly.  If you try to pull it out with our fingers you might also squeeze more venom in.  A good was to remove the stinger is to scrape it off.  I used a credit card.  I also used that credit card to buy a hat to wear under my hood, so this doesn’t happen again!      

Written By Dan Hauck