New bees

My hive didn’t do so well over the winter. The queen is still there but I only found a few hundred bees around her (normal hive is in the tens of thousands – healthy hive is 70,000). I moved them to a nuc (small 5-frame box) to see if they can turn things around — if they do, I’ll have two hives.

The old bees, gathered around the queen after a tough winter. Can you spot the queen?

I ordered a new package of bees, which I installed Saturday. Today I released the queen who stays in her own cage for several days until the new bees (who aren’t her kin) decide she smells ok and can be their matriarch. She has already mated with some drones in California, so she has all she needs to lay up to 2,000 eggs a day (less in the winter) for 5 years or so. The other bees’ job is to keep the queen alive and prepare cells so she can lay eggs that will hatch into their replacements. Tough life. After a month or so the whole hive will be the new queen’s progeny.

Here’s a little video, at half speed, of today’s hive entrance activity –

And some photos –

Safari Best Of Video

Ok, I finally narrowed down the best clips of our 4 days at MalaMala. Here’s the video –

It reminded me of the sheer variety of creatures we saw. Our rooms had checklists in them for keeping track of animal sightings. I didn’t want to bug the guide for the name of every bird and tree, but here’s what I marked:

  1. Blue Wildebeest
  2. Bushbuck
  3. Cape Buffalo
  4. Common Duiker
  5. Impala
  6. Klipspringer
  7. Kudu
  8. Nyala
  9. Steenbok
  10. Waterbuck
  11. Side-striped Jackal
  12. Wild Dog
  13. Chacma Baboon
  14. Vervet Monkey
  15. Elephant
  16. Burchell’s Zebra
  17. Leopard
  18. Lion
  19. Giraffe
  20. Hippopotamus
  21. Spotted Hyena
  22. Scrub Hare
  23. Lesser Bushbaby
  24. White Rhinoceros
  25. Tree Squirrel
  26. Warthog
  27. Dwarf Mongoose
  28. Slender Mongoose
  29. White-tailed Mongoose
  30. European Bee-eater
  31. African Cuckoo
  32. African Green Pigeon
  33. Egyptian Goose
  34. Bateleur
  35. African Fish Eagle
  36. Tawny Eagle
  37. Helmeted Guineafowl
  38. Grey Heron
  39. White-backed Night Heron
  40. African Grey Hornbill
  41. Giant Kingfisher
  42. Pied Kingfisher
  43. Lilac-breasted Roller
  44. Black-backed Puffback
  45. Cape Glossy Starling
  46. Saddle-Billed Stork
  47. Hooded Vulture
  48. White-backed Vulture
  49. Lesser Masked Weaver
  50. Rainbow Skink
  51. Nile Crocodile
  52. Leopard Tortoise