Monday, August 08, 2011

Bee inspection/Cicada Killer

The garden is parched right now, the rains expected over the weekend were nearly bust for us, perhaps 1/8 inch of rain. Raleigh got 4.31 inches on Saturday with several bands moving through on Sunday as well. Chapel Hill got 2 inches in a short time, I saw puddles in the pavement there today, bands also passed through Chapel Hill and north of us on Sunday. The weatherman now says we have an 2 inch deficit for rain this year. Considering all the rain that missed us I'd say our garden has a 7 inch deficit. The only good news on the rain front here is we might have collected 50 gallons of water for the rain totes, still could save another 450 gallons if we got a good rain.

It had been 5 weeks since I looked into the beehive, the last time was when I added the new brood box. The new brood box is doing real good, all the frames have drawn comb on them. Several frames are close to filled up with brood and honey. No pests seen thus far! I had a few bees that seemed annoyed with me, one crawled on my knee where I got stung once before and today I did not get stung, so far one sting is all I have gotten at the hive.

I did not look into the lower box, there we a lot of bees in there and it was in the lower 90s so I left them be. Not sure how to take the boxes apart without killing too many bees that get on the bottom of the top box and top of the lower box, guess I'll learn that in time.

Here is one of the new brood box frames, it is doing nicely. You have capped brood in the center and the bees at top right are in the process of capping honey.
These photos above and below show what I believe is brood about to be capped, you can see the white larva in those protruding cells. If I'm wrong about these about to be capped please let me know, I might have pulled the caps off pulling the frame out, not too certain.  The larva is white and looks healthy to me.
Below the bees are working on a circular section of cells, not sure what they were doing?
On Sunday we had an Eastern Cicada Killer, Sphecius speciosus flying around the yard, not sure if we have had them here before. Cicada Killers are huge wasps up to 2 inches long (5cm), they capture cicadas, some twice their own body weight and bring them to a burrow in the ground and feed them to their larva. I said bring them, they can usually fly down with cicadas from trees, but because of the weight they can not fly up with them, it is interesting to observe.The camera was not handy went I saw it.

This morning I found this preying mantis that have killed this Annual Cicada and was having it for breakfast. Yes mantises can be cicada killers. I have seen mantises with bees, butterflies, dragonflies and a hummingbird. Back in 2004 when I was tagging Monarchs on the Eastern Shore of Virginia I found Monarchs in the clutches of mantises quite often, even a Monarch I had banded the day before.


Birds, Bees, Berries, and Blooms said...

You guys have a lot of bugs! I love the preying mantis photo! Used to see them all of the time at home, but I haven't seen them in the hills. Thanks for the great photos.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

I will yield to your knowledge on the broods being capped. It is all a mystery to me. Your Praying Mantis shot is pretty cool.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

4,000?? Sweet!

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

The bees are fascinating and the mantis shot is cool.

Heather said...

Taking good pictures of insects in action is an art form. Your photos are fabulous! We also hot and dry here. Fortunately for us we don't have the humidity some other parts of the country do. We haven't had rain for almost two weeks now. I was enjoying my afternoon thunderstorms-they can be spectacular here and wonderfully cooling. For now, just hot, hot, dry dry. water the shade garden twice a day. Chin up!