Sunday, July 6, 2008

Second Inspection Of The Bee Hive

It's been quite a while since I did the first inspection of the bee hive, about 6 weeks. So I really needed to get in there and see what was going on.

That's my niece Mackenzie, she wanted to take a peek at the bees too, but from a distance.

I have to say, at this point I still feel like a bee owner more than a bee keeper. I'm reading through Bee Keeping for Dummies, and I've watched a few DVDs, but it's a totally different ball game when you have that hive opened up.

One of the main missions you're suppose to accomplish, according to everything I've read, is to find the Queen. Easier said than done. There are a tremendous amount of bees in this hive, and even though I haven't been able to isolate her, I'm assuming that the Queen is alive and laying a bunch of eggs.

The other thing everyone says to look for is to make sure the hive looks "healthy." Again, even when I have the frame in my hand a few inches from my face, I can't be totally confident that I would know if there was a problem. I think after today's visit, I'm going to see if I can get a master bee keeper out here for a little one on one training.

I also had more problems getting the smoker lit than I ever had before:

When my brother was out a few weeks ago for the wedding, we put a shallow honey super on there since there is so much activity in the hive and all the blackberries are starting to bloom out here in the valley. The girls have not drawn any comb out on the honey super, but the top brood box I installed 6 weeks ago was almost completely filled with comb and a lot of cells were filled too.

I realized that I need to buy a bee brush. Once I got the top brood box off the bottom, there were just a tremendous amount of bees. I was trying to clean up some of the frames and scrape some rogue wax, and I ended up taking a few bees out in the process. I'm sure you can never do it perfectly, but I think a bee brush would help next time.

I think I had the hive open a bit too long. Or maybe it just felt that way. I took out and inspected every frame in the top box, but not every one in the bottom box. I felt like I would kill too many bees. Plus, there's some wax build up and uneven wax on a few frames that I want to ask someone about. It may be normal, or I may need to do something... I just don't know.

What I do know is there are a ton of bees in there, and they are still drinking sugar water. I hope we get some warm weather, and a big blackberry flow so I can get some honey this year!

I'm on my way to not just owning bees, but keeping bees... I'll just need a bit of help!

See you next time~