Sunday, May 18, 2008

First Time To Open The Bee Hive

Saturday was the big day. I needed to open up the bee hive and take a look. I had several simple goals:

1) Find the Queen.
2) Inspect a few frames to make sure things were looking good.
3) Install the new hive box, new inner cover and new telescoping lid.

I shot a few short videos with my digital camera:

I didn't have any problem getting good smoke in the smoker for the first time. I think I was getting too much smoke to be honest.

Everything was set. Time to go in and take the lid off and see what was going on for the first time. I have to admit it's a bit nerve racking. This is only the second time I've been around an open hive. The first time was at Bee Keeping class at Trees N' Bees, and I wasn't the one doing the actual keeping. I was kinda nervous.

I was doing pretty good, until I turned this frame over and saw the hundreds of bees on it. I knew I needed to either spot the Queen or find some eggs. I didn't have the patience and nerve to keep looking for the Queen, and I'm 75% confident that I saw some eggs. Or it might have just been my mind wanting to see some eggs.

When I got the top off, I noticed that the Queen cage was still in there between two frames. So it looks like I've got a new Queen. She's not in the cage anymore, and with all the activity in the hive, I can only assume that she's doing her thing.
I removed the Queen cage and thrw it away. There was also quite a bit of wax on the top of the frames. The hive did not have a proper inner cover or lid. So I cleaned up the frames and scraped all the wax off the tops. I saved the wax to make a candle or something later. We'll see.

So Mission Accomplished...sort of. Maybe I should have been wearing a flight suit with a banner behind me. I kinda did what I set out. I'm just hoping for the best. I'll open it up again in a few weeks.

I've been going out a few times a day an making sure there's some activity around the hive. Opening the hive sure set the girls back on drinking the sugar water. They were doing an entire jar a day, and that dropped to about 1/3 of the jar since I opened things up. I'm going to check it Monday - I think it'll be empty by then.

I'm curious if they'll be able to fill up that entire second brood box this summer? It would be nice to be able to take a bit of blackberry blossom honey this first year out.

See You Next Time~