Bee Sculpture, Part Next

July 26, 2007

(You’ll need to have read these two previous posts, in which I describe putting dolls into a bee hive in the hopes that they will form wax cells around them, for this to make any sense)

I decided the girls have had enough time sculpting their way around the figurines I added to their hive, so it was time to take them out. I wanted to make sure that the honey cells were capped (and thus wouldn’t crystallize and leak), which they weren’t last time. They’d been quite busy this past week, and I was fairly confident they’d done as much as they would do. Plus, I’m wicked impatient.

I think it came out beautifully. Because I placed the bride and groom in an empty slot where a frame would have been, they created a whole slot of comb freestanding, and I was able to cut it out virtually whole. I had a wooden box I picked up at a garage sale (or tag sale, as we used to say back on the East Coast) years ago in anticipation of some art project or other needing a wooden box, and it fit in perfectly. Just take a look:

Bee Scuplture 011 Bee Scuplture 025 Bee Scuplture 029
Bee Scuplture 036

So now what? I suppose I’ll display it in my living room, but I’d like to find a gallery show where I could display it with live bees (just for a night, then return them to their home, past their bedtime, but safe, of course). Ideas welcome.

On the strictly beekeeping front, it looks like I’m going to have a banner year for honey harvest. Hive 2 is doing great, they’ve filled four honey supers back breakingly full. Betterbee delivered twenty new medium frames and Michelle popped up to Beez Nees to pick up two medium super boxes, so I was ready to expand. The frames are the Pierco plastic frames, again (earlier posts on their use here and here), which I’ve had mixed success with so far. I think the reason I had trouble in the past was that the girls needed a place to put drone cells and the cell size doesn’t allow for that on the Pierco’s. Since these are honey frames, not brood frames, that shouldn’t be an issue. I got 10 white frames and 10 black frames. Not sure what the difference is, so I figured I’d experiment.

Bees tend to fill from the middle out and from the bottom up, but I had to fill in the spot where the sculpture was, so I played some re-arrange games with the frames as I built the hive back up. I’ve noticed that they tend to leave the outermost frame half empty, so slid a full frame into that spot on each of the boxes, and moved partially filled frames into the outer layers (but not the outermost).

On Hive 1, although they had completely filled one honey super, they hadn’t moved in to the second super I gave them last week at all. The frames remained undrawn except for one side of one of the innermost frames. I’d read that this might happen, so I tried swapping filled frames in from the lower super into the empty upper super to lure them up.

Hive 1 is still taking sugar water, Hive 2 is not.

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