Super exciting hive inspection 8/7

During a break in the weather (we were fortunate to have rain this weekend) we went into the hives. Melissa looked like it has always looked. I don’t know where the sugar syrup is going, but definitely not into any stores. When removing the sugar syrup bottles, I found 3 hive beetles. I squished them all but when checking the bottles the next day, I found more. The bees were herding them. So I’ll have to figure out a trap to make.

I also noticed the inner cover on Demeter was warped. So I need to get a new inner cover and screened bottom board.

Onto the hive inspections:

Melissa

  •      Set-up: One deep
  •      Number of frames being worked: 5
  •      Queen spotted: yes
  •      Frames of brood:3 with 2 having small areas (unchanged)
  •      Type of brood: eggs, larvae, capped
  •      Frames of bees: 4 without the foragers
  •      Food: 2 Quart jars were almost empty, added more syrup. Still working on same pollen patty.

Overall Impression: Status quo. The only change has been the uptick in syrup consumption and the pollen patty being consumed.

Plan: Starting to seriously plan to combine this hive with Demeter. I wish I had some frames of brood to spare to boost the population. No pictures, it’s the same.

Demeter

  •      Set-up: 2 deeps
  •      Number of frames being worked: 8.5 in the bottom, 4 on top!!!
  •      Queen spotted: no
  •      Frames of brood: 3+ (larvae present, including very young)
  •      Type of brood: larvae, capped
  •      Frames of bees: 6 at least without the foragers
  •      Food: Hive top feeder empty, didn’t rinse out. Pollen patty used up. Added a gallon and a half of syrup. Added one pollen patty (rolled thinly and cut into 2).

Overall Impression: Doing great, building into the second box!! Lots o’bees. Did not see the queen. I had moved a frame of capped brood from the bottom to the top deep to entice them to use the top. That brood hatched out and they’re using the space for honey. They’ve built out 3 new frames (4 including the old frame) and apparently don’t think they need more space for brood. They know best.

Plan: I’ll move the bottom unused frames (on the outside walls) to the middle. I’ll checkerboard them (one unused foundation, one used, one unused, one used). To get them to draw those 2 frames out. The picture below is of 5.1 mm foundation, any new foundation will be 5.1mm at this point. It’s a very creamy white color. This contrasts significantly with the old brood comb you’ll see further down. Don’t forget to click on the pictures for larger views!

Top deep, foundation drawn out!! Woo HOO!

Lots o'bees. See the frame rest? The white thing hanging off the end? I put the first frame I pull out on there and this gives me room to move the frames around with minimal bee-squishing.

 

And more coming. That is capped brood in the center of the frame, with the matte buff-colored cappings. The white areas surrounding the brood is white wax that the bees place over the cured honey, the wax is called a "cap."

Close-up of the same frame. You can see the larvae in this one.

The bees have capped the cured honey with white wax. The open shiny areas above are the uncured honey, not ready to be capped. And to the right is the brood. The edges of the wax cells turn yellow as the bees track pollen around the hive on their feet. They don't wipe their feet at the door.

No it wasn't raining, that fuzzy spot is a bee buzzing the camera at the bottom of the picture. Look at the comb, see how dark it is? It gets darker as the bees use it and you are supposed to replace it every few years to reduce the toxin load that the wax has absorbed. This came from the parent hive when we made the nuc.

Solid honey with bridge comb. It's HEAVY. A deep frame of honey weighs about 10lbs.

I was going to get a picture of my 6yo helping us but when I asked him he said “Only if I can lift the frames.” I said he could lift the ones I told him to and he said “NO. ALL of them.” Do you believe this? Well, since the frames can be very heavy and easy to drop resulting in angering several thousand bees, let alone possibly killing the queen, I said no. So he didn’t join us. Maybe next time 🙂

I just want you know that it was really hot and muggy when we did this. You need to drink lots of water and work slowly and gently. But despite this, Demeter had a distinct uptick in their buzzing tone and seemed more than a little peeved. There were lots of bees in the air and Steve is getting more comfortable with them. Even though I’ve only been in hives a few times more than Steve has, I helped Peter with his hive when there were about 80,000 bees. So my bees, compared to his bees are a piece of cake. Wait until next year when we’ll have 4x the number of bees that we have now! How exciting!

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