Friday, May 23, 2014

Our First Beehive Inspection

Tuesday of this week we went into the hive for the first time. I wasn't planning on going so early but, I was seeing small black ants hanging around the hive. I was concerned that they may be in the hive already.

Usually a strong hive will take care of itself due to the sheer number of bees in a hive. Since this is a newly installed hive they can be overwhelmed by ants and other pest easier. The girls have a lot of work to do preparing for the coming winter months. So as beekeepers we sometimes have to give the girls a hand. We are expecting a week of rain so I didn't want to wait too long as the ants can build up and start laying eggs quickly in a hive.

I read online that cinnamon will repel ants but not bug or hurt the bees. I sprinkled cinnamon around the hive and on the pallet a few days before we went into the hive. It seemed to work. I'll have to remember to buy a large bottle to have on hand.
 Bug and I suited up on a very hot and muggy day. Temperatures are in the high 80's. Being suited up was torture. I had sweat dripping all down my face and it wasn't easy wiping your brow!
 I found out that lighting a smoker is not that easy. I couldn't get it lit! I tried real hard. Bug was getting antsy and wanted out of her suit as she was hot and uncomfortable. Somehow, I managed to get her to stay suited. 

I ended up using the sugar water to pacify the girls. Quick thinking on my end as I grabbed the bottom board feeder jar and dumped it into the sprayer.
 The good news is that we didn't see no ants in the hive. The girls are doing a great job so far. The object on your right side on top of the frame is a pollen patty. This will hopefully lighten the girls load and encourage the queen to lay sooner rather than later. I have to watch the pollen patty as I am told that sometime it attracts mites. I'll take it out when there is more plants available and the hive looks stronger with more brood, nectar, and pollen.

We also located the queen. Long live the queen! She looked healthy and was moving around quickly. I think we found a new motto as far as Bug is concerned. Long live the queen.

As far as I can tell the hive looks healthy and I seen several large larva and I think other stages of brood(think of brood as baby bees in different stages). It's going to take training my eyes to look for the small eggs and the smaller size of larva. I am pretty sure I seen the glint of the eggs. 

They are drawing out the comb on the newer frames. You see the nice clean one and the older frames from the picture. The older frames are what came from the nuc which is how the bees came to us in a package. The girls start from the center and build out. The new frames on both sides had some girls working on drawing out the comb. It was fresh comb almost as white as paper.
The queen was on the frame. I also found out that a camera, bees, and gloves is a sticky mess. Little Man didn't want to take pictures. 

You can see the pollen in the comb up above and the brood. They had nectar also stored in some of the combs. 

We seen a couple of drone cells(boy bees) and a few of the boys running around begging for hand outs from the girls. 

The good news is no one got stung. They were warning us that we where trespassing on their territory. One bee got into my veil and luckily I was able to walk away from the hive and slip off my veil without being stung. I've been told the face is the worst and I don't want to find out.

The hive was pretty gentle overall. That is why I choose to go with the Italian bees.
 It amazing me how efficient the bees are. What amazing insects they are. Just watching them come in and having their pollen sacs packed. It's interesting to observe all the different colors of pollen.

The top box I have a baggie of sugar water and I ended up putting the pollen patty up there also. I also removed the bottom board feeder as I think the leaking and such was attracting the ants.
The rest of the day when I was out in the garden the girls where warning me all around the garden area. Usually, I get that when I am a little too close. I am assuming it was because we upset the hive when we went into it as the last couple of days they haven't did that.

We are getting another hive. I just found out today that another nuc is available and will pick it up early in the week. Bug was really wanting to catch a swarm. I told her, "that we will have plenty of time for that just not this season."

Now, I just need to learn how to master lightning the smoker. I got online and chatted with our local beekeeper group and they gave me some advice. It looked so easy on you tube and reading about it. When the honey is flowing I will need the smoker as they will be a lot more protective.

Another fun day with the bees.

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