Saturday, August 15, 2009

Inspection 8-15-09

I wasn't sure I was going to have time to do an inspection today, but I got home earlier than planned from the Boy Scout campout I was attending with my son. All week I've seen a large amount of activity in the hives, so was anxious to see what they looked like inside.

Green Hive

This is the Nuc I installed the beginning of August. I found they had drawn out 7 or 8 of the frames, so it was time to add a second brood chamber. I learned a trick to help the bees start using the box: bring up one of the frames with brood on it to the top box. I did that, and put one of the new frames on the bottom toward the edge on the bottom box. Here are a couple of pictures of that hive (the 2nd picture shows the frame I set aside to put on the top). I also removed the entrance reducer since the number of bees has grown enough that they can defend their hive better.

I've been noticing some small white chalky bodies at the entrance, just a few here and there. During this inspection, I removed the bottom brood chamber and looked at the screened bottom board. This is what I saw:

Except for the few bees in the middle of the picture, the rest of this stuff are those chalky bodies. I flipped this over to dump out the bodies.

There is a fungal disease of bees called chalkbrood which I believe this is. Chalkbrood is caused by too much moisture in the hive. I believe the hive or Nuc these bees came from had chalkbrood, but with my screened bottom boards, I expect it to go away. I'll keep monitoring the situation. It's worrisome, but not excessively so.

I didn't see the queen in this hive, but I saw some eggs, and I wasn't really looking, so all is well.

Brown Hive

This hive has had a lot of activity recently. When I inspected it, I saw that the bees had filled up the corners of the top frames with honey, so I decided to add a honey super (again... I had added it before and removed it based on swarming, etc.).

A couple of weeks ago I added some foundationless frames, and I was pleased to find this:

You can see along the left side (which is the top of the frame) the popsicle sticks that provided the guides for the comb; the bees had built it up perfectly. It was very pretty to see. I have to be careful handling this frame, as it doesn't have the inherent strength of the plastic (or wired wax) foundation. I also saw eggs in the comb, which is even better!

So I added the honey super, and buttoned things up for another week. The picture at the top of this post is the new taller hives (the green hive has the extra box simply covering the feeding jar - I'm still feeding that hive).


  1. Very nice looking hives. I like your hive stands too.

  2. I am so proud of your paint job!

  3. Looking good, Steven! I have a queen but she stopped laying -- IN MID AUGUST! The state apiary inspector is going to check my hive out on Wednesday while he's up this way to see what is going on. By the way, I think you'll love the screened bottom boards. It totally helped my ventilation issues. Good luck!

  4. Thanks for the good comments. I painted the honeycomb pattern just for fun, but I should have chosen a better contrast for the paint.

    Mark - I need to do a sticky board test here soon, then we'll see if I need to do a "sugar shake."

  5. Re: ventilation, I've never had my bees beard, so I have to believe it is working (plus, my hives are kind of protected from the sun for part of the day)


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