Sunday, May 6, 2012

Inspection Weekend - 04-20/21-2012

Over spring break week we took a family trip to Washington, DC. We had never been there, and the boys had each done projects concerning one of the monuments there. We planned on being away for 3 days, but only spent 2 there. So we came back late Thursday evening. Having a Friday unexpectedly free gave me an opportunity to do a good inspection on all of the hives.

Pink Hive

I was worried about the Pink hive, since it lost about 1/2 of it's population due to starvation over the winter. The queen survived, and now it's her job to repopulate the hive. It's sort of like starting with a nuc, since that's about how many bees she started with.

Here's one of the frames showing her doing her job!

What's interesting about Pink is that the bees of that hive have decided to use the top entrance (the gap in the inner cover) instead of the bottom one. So I've got to make sure to leave the shim on so that the outer cover doesn't block the entrance. Maybe when there are more bees they'll start using the bottom one.

Green Hive

The Green Hive is my next most populous hive. There's a lot of activity coming and going with this hive.

Here's a view of a frame packed with pollen.

I was pleased to see this next frame. The white in each cell is a larva - this frame will be full of bees soon!

Here's another one already capped. Lots of bees!

The honey super of undrawn frames I put on the hive was untouched. I decided to see if I could get the bees to move up into it by taking off the queen excluder.

Brown Hive

Like the Green Hive, the Brown Hive is bringing in lots of pollen:

This frame has capped worker brood, but also some drone brood as well (the bullet shaped caps). Making drones is something each hive does to help with the furthering of the beehives in general.

A couple of weeks ago I put in a foundationless frame, and look what the bees have done - filled it out with wax completely! Amazing.

I took a cute picture of the bees lined up against the tops of the frames, looking up at me, all in a row!

This hive has the most bees of all 3 of my backyard hives. Here's a shot of the bottom chamber.

Sutton Hive 1

On Saturday I drove out to the 2 hives in Sutton. I still had the entrance reducers on these hives, which I took off that day.

This is the top of the bars on the top brood chamber. What is interesting here is that you can see a lot of wax that the bees had added in between frames, as well as on the top bars. The queen excluder was difficult to remove due to all the wax attached to it.

Ever since I installed this hive, they have been known to make "wonky" burr comb. By that I mean they add burr comb between the two boxes in whatever pattern they want - parallel to the frames, crosswise, curved, etc. It's actually hard to lift up the frames in the top chamber because they are "glued" to the bottom frames.

Here's a shot - you can see the all directions they built the comb:

I bought this hive without the queen marked. Last year I never did see her to snag her to mark her. But today I saw her, and now she sports the latest in fashion accessories - a dot (I used my orange pen because I didn't think to bring the correct color, which is white). At least now I'll have a good chance of finding her!

Sutton Hive 2

Hive 2 also is doing well, bringing in pollen:

A good frame full of capped brood!

Here's the bottom box - not much "wonky" burr comb - just a little between the frames. I've found the bees usually use the burr comb for drone brood, since they can select the size of the comb (the comb already in the frames is the worker size). Disassembling the hive destroys the in-between burr comb, so there are always a few drone casualties.

Here's one of the frames in the bottom box. You can see the half-circle pattern of brood. This is a good indication that the brood nest is spanning both boxes - that's what you want. The white is young larvae not yet capped.

Here's her majesty - with the white dot I added last year.

I left all of my hives (except the Pink Hive) with honey supers. We'll see if the bees will be kind to me or not this year...

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