Hive Inspection 8/14

Man, bees are TESTY when it’s raining. Even though I checked them when it was nice and sunny at last, when I smoked Melissa, the loud buzzing that ensued was amazing. I wish I could have recorded it. Since Steve and Charles (our neighbor) were brewing beer, Charles wanted to “help” with the bees as long as he stayed as far away as possible 🙂 He was my cameraman.

What’s the result? Melissa is now annoying me. It looks exactly the same every time I check it. They ARE using the syrup, I suspect for their own food; I wonder if they just don’t have enough bees to really forage effectively. I very much wish I had some brood frames to spare but even Demeter has 3 frames of brood.

Since Charles was helping me, I have a lot of action shots by him. It’s probably a good thing to have someone unfamiliar with the process take pictures, everything is interesting!

Melissa

  •      Set-up: One deep
  •      Number of frames being worked: 5 (same)
  •      Queen spotted: yes
  •      Frames of brood:3 (unchanged)
  •      Type of brood: larvae, capped
  •      Frames of bees: 5 (with or w/o foragers?-rainy weekend)
  •      Food: 2 Quart jars were empty, changed bottles, added more syrup. Still working on same pollen patty, less than 1/2 left.

Overall Impression: Status quo.

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.

I'm explaining what the smoke does to Charles, thus the open mouth. Notice I use the middle of the hive stand to hold my paraphernalia, the sugar syrup I store in the gallon jugs and carry with me. I'm going to get some sort of wagon. That's the chicken coop behind me.

 

Smoking the front and then you pop the lid and smoke the top.
You can see the pollen patty and the frame side bars I use to prop up the sugar syrup bottles. To the bottom right, you can see how I stack the hive parts to the side. You need to angle them so you squish as few bees as possible.
Pulling out the first frame. They have not drawn the wax out from this sheet of foundation.
Pulling out the next frame. You need to loosen the frames as they abutt each other, the bees propolize any crevice and propolis is STICKY.
Looking at the brood and trying to find the queen. You turn frames a certain way to look at the other side without moving your hands. It's very handy and explained in the Beekeeping for Dummies book.
There are NOT a lot of bees in this hive. For the unitiated, it looks like a lot but there should be at least 3-4 x more.
I'm getting irritated with this hive and wondering if I should even bother looking at anything else.
This is a good shot of the slatted rack that is under the deep. If you look into the space where the frames were, you can see the slats. The slatted rack, as well as the screened bottom board, help with hive ventilation.
These wooden sticks are extra side bars for practice frames I bought. They give just the right amount of bee space.

Demeter

  •      Set-up: 2 deeps
  •      Number of frames being worked: 9 in the bottom, 6 on top!!!
  •      Queen spotted: no
  •      Frames of brood: 3 (larvae present)
  •      Type of brood: larvae, capped
  •      Frames of bees: 5 (lightly covering frames) on top, 5 on the bottom.
  •      Food: Hive top feeder empty, rinsed out. Tiny piece of pollen patty left, added another one.

Overall Impression: Still doing great, using more frames in the upper deep. Love these girls!

Plan: In the bottom deep, I moved the unused frames inward one space to encourage them to draw these last 2 frames completely out.

I wouldn't normally hold a frame like that but we were trying to get a picture in the sun. You should hold all brood frames (though this looks like honey) over the hive, in case the queen is on there and falls off she will land back in the hive.
This is a good picture of the set-up during an inspection: you can see the frame rest I use to hold the frames on the side of the hive body. The boxes are stacked to the right in a staggered fashion to minimize bee squishing.You always open a hive from the side, away from their flight path.
This is a very large pollen patty that has been reduced significantly in size. I added another one beside it.

I will hopefully have a surprise post next week. I may be getting some honey from the parent hive, with Peter’s permission of course. Now THOSE pictures will be amazing. You’ll see what an established hive looks like.

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