It's always a good idea to keep a Bee Journal - full of notes on your observations on the progress of your hives. I'll be doing so digitally, with my series called "Bee Notes" here on the Fox's Garden blog.
Bee Notes is a series of observations about my two hives - two separate colonies and superorganisms.
Hive 1 & Queen 1 is named Adela.
Hive 2 & Queen 2 is named Helena.
For this hive inspection, I was joined with John - who was trying out his awesome new bee veil (pretty fashionable I'd say). The man is fearless! and determined to handle bees with simply a veil and smoker in hand. I on the other hand, gladly attended to the hives in my proper bee suit. It was chilly today, temperatures in the upper 50s, with a slight breeze and rain. I've been nervous about my hives. I want to keep them happy and healthy! I was also worried about the rain and cold.
We smoked the entrance of Adela's colony to calm the bees. I was sure there'd be a lot of bees home due to the inclement weather - and there sure were.
First off came the lid. I noticed all of the sugar syrup was gone! This isn't a surprise. Again, I think the rainy weather has prompted the bees to depend more upon the syrup than on outside sources.
Off came the feeder box, and I took a peek inside the second deep box I had installed last week. There was a bit of comb being drawn on a center frame, but for the most part, the bees hadn't moved onward and upwards.
I took the second deep box off and started rooting through the main deep. I am still pretty clumsy at moving the frames inside the box and terrified I'll "roll" or kill my lovely queens. Dear God, I hope never to do that.
Good news! The hive hasn't swarmed. It looked "queen-right" or that there was a queen within the hive. I saw eggs!
And boy, did we see a LOT of capped worker brood. This means there's sure to be a major population boom soon. Hurrah!
They had drawn some comb on the bottom of a few frames that we harvested to clean things up a bit.
More good news! It appears the bee's harvesting has been successful. Can you guess and tell me what you think this beautiful stuff is?
Unfortunately, the rain began. Thick heavy droplets were starting to fall. We hurriedly put the frames back to where they belonged and capped off the boxes.
Because of the rain we were unable to inspect Helena's hive. It will have to wait.
I'm determined to inspect it as soon as the weather clears up. I hope that's soon!
In the meantime, I checked on their sugar syrup supply - and sure enough it was drained dry as well. I'll take a peak at their inspection board and see what I can figure out from that soon.
Rain is good for flowers, but not so much for bees.
I'm fairly confident that Adela's colony did not swarm. Perhaps installing the extra box has slowed them down. Maybe it's the weather. Would a hive about to swarm invest so much time in making all that honey? I mean... there was an entire frame worth of honey!
I scared myself silly and pulled out Adela's inspection board a few days ago. I foolishly looked it over without a clue as to what I was doing or really the mindset that I needed to. I took a few photos and came inside to hit the books and figure out exactly how to read the debris left on the floor of the hive.
There looked to be ... wax moth poo. This scared me. A lot. A few varroa mites crawling around, but by few - I only mean 3 or so.
But the bees looked ok today! No obvious signs of moths or mites that I could tell.
It's probably best not to inspect a hive on rainy days... but due to my fear and concern for Adela I did look through a bit.
The hives are officially 2 deeps worth of frames. I'm using a super box to hold my sugar dispensers. I'll do a post and speak more to that later.
The dispensers have been refilled. I am patiently waiting better weather. I have some great bees wax!
Overall, I've learned to make sure I have time to do an inspection so as not to rush. Also, take more pictures. Lots more pictures.