2011-03-05 Good times / Bad times

Ah, those lazy late-summer days....
...a bit of pollinating....
...suckin' down some fresh nectar.....
...then the next thing you know, CHOMP and you are breakfast  for a stick insect....
....torn limb from limb...
... guts ripped out ....
...brains sucked out...
....wings ripped out of their sockets...
...I guess the stick insects enjoy their lazy late-summer days in the garden too, snacking on unwary bees.

These photos are from Andrius, who spotted these guys in his back yard.

Most likely it's one of the Baghdad bees, (within 100m of the hive),
but I'll do a head count later and check.

Stay away from the lavender, girls!

2011-03-03 Lazy Baghdadians

A few weeks since I last checked Baghdad, time for a peek. 
 Andrius gave me a hand this time.
 The top box is pretty much as I last saw it a few weeks a go with Rima.
Two full-ish frames, and lots of empty ones.
 This is one of the outside frames, just foundation at the top,
and you can see a line where they have started to draw out the comb,
then another line where they have started to fill it up with nectar.
 Propolis is called 'Pikis" in Lithuania, they add it to spirits to make it into a tonic.

 Plenty of grubs in there
 Lots of good brood.
 The girls huddle together in the corner while we go through the boxes

 Ordinary pic, except for the spectral bee-ghost at the left...
looks like a jellyfish.

 Can you imagine living packed in like this?

Here the bee on the right is carrying in saddle-bags of pollen on her legs,
the one in the middle is filing it away to feed the kids later.
Just to the left of her, little discs of pollen tucked away.

Apparently they separate the different types of pollen,
sometimes the colour diffference between the pollen in different cells is much starker. 

Thanks Andrius for the photos.

2011 02 27 All clear for AFB

After suspecting for a while that Metropolis had American Foul Brood, I can confirm that there is no AFB in the Metropolis hive. Which is nice, because the standard response to having AFB is you dig a hole, stick your hives in it, burn it to the ground, and cover it over. For $16 bucks a year (count 'em...) you register with the Department of Primary Industry. This makes you officially a farmer, even if you live in Northcote. Those $16 bucks cover you for up to 60 hives. They will compensate you if your hives are infected. As long as you follow the rules, the local council can't hassle you for keeping bees, as you are now covered by state laws, which over-ride the local by-laws.  They recognise that keeping bees in a suburban backyard is a benefit to all. And, they give you a sample bottle and a stamped self-addressed padded bag for you to send them a sample, which they check for disease. Which I did, got the results back a few days ago. Negative.Whew.

It's their way of monitoring the health of the Victorias bees.
I think this is a good idea.