Saturday, April 11, 2009

It has been three consecutive weeks of inspecting hives. The first week was a search for the old queens, killing them, and then introducing new ones. The following week I opened them to remove the queen cages, at which point, I decided it would be a good idea to leave them alone for a few weeks. After speaking with Mike and reading his blog I decided maybe it would be a good idea to see if my new queens were laying eggs or had been replaced like his. Just in case things were fine, I decided that it would be a good time to super the last two hives. Here are my last two supers, one has wooden frames with starter strip, and the second has hollowed out plastic frames.
With all the practice I’m getting good at planning and carrying out the inspections. Below is a picture of the back of the hives, my saw horses with a board to close the bottom of the super when it’s place on top of it, and a sheet of plexy glass to close the top of the super. I don’t have to deal with all the bees in whatever box is placed here. On the floor are my two new supers (and last) for the two hives on the left. I like to light my smoker (hanging on the left hive) and smoke the hive that is to be inspected and then wait a minute or two. While I’m waiting I arrange all my tools and aids to make sure I have everything I could possibly use. After the wait, I give the 1st hive another puff of smoke and I also smoke the next hive to be inspected.

I began the day by inspecting the middle hive (The Eager colony). I took the super off, placed it on my saw horses and closed it up. I removed one of the outer frames to create more room to inspect the other frames. My main goal today was to look for brood in the middle frames. Below is the outer most frame; the hollowed out plastics frames look great. The bees build whatever size they desire and things are a little more natural.
After removing the outer frame and sliding a few frames out, I pulled one of the middle brood frames. No queen cells and some uncapped brood. Uncapped brood means the egg in that particular cell was laid 4 to 8 days ago. Since the new queen was installed over 14 days ago, the uncapped cells are from the new queen, and since this frame had no eggs the day I killed the old queen….All this is work of the new queen.
Below is the flip side of the frame above. A lot more uncapped brood can be seen towards the right on this side of the frame. That was enough to convince me, the new queen was accepted.
Now I placed the super back on and took a quick look at the future honey crop. Below is one of the outside frames. It is not fully drawn out yet and has very little honey in it.
Below is another medium frame from the same super. This one is pretty much fully drawn out, has tons of uncapped honey, and a few capped drone cells.
And finally a frame full of uncapped honey. How can you tell it is full of honey? Well, aside from zooming in and seeing the syrup in the frames, notice the color difference of the wax between this frame and the pure white color of clean empty cells.
This hive was definitely ready for a new super.
Next I moved over to inspect my Angry hive. These ladies are going to drive me nuts the way they draw out comb. It is like there are two comb building groups that usually begin working at opposite ends of a frame, and by the time they meet in the middle they are always off center. I began inspecting on the super with this one. Below is a super frame, and notice towards the left how that side comes out allowing the right side to slide behind it.
Here is one of the outside frames from the deep brood box. Notice how the comb has the same overlapping problem as the super frame above. Also, as in the previous hive, the outside frames have drone cells.
Here is one of the brood frames, the main reason for opening the hives. There is tons of capped brood with a few un-hatched eggs and brood under four days old. There is more on the opposite side but I forgot to photograph it.

I left my original hive alone today; I’ll look in it next week. I feel better after observing that everything is normal and no one seems to be planning or preparing to swarm. Here is my Apiary today. All the hives have two supers now; my TBH on the left still sits empty waiting for the 3lb package due early May. My smoker is on the background cooling off sitting on top of the bird bath.
It was a good inspection day and I need to begin preparing/planning to rob, extract, and process honey. I did have on issue today. I began my inspections wearing my mechanic gloves. I was hoping for equal protection and better handling. I was wrong on the protection part. I need to up the sting count by one, I got it good on my right hand.

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