Friday, May 11, 2018

Our First Bee Hive Inspection

We performed our first inspection of the new hives this week. It was a little bit nerve racking, as we were hoping for the best, but not sure what we would find.   It has been almost 2 weeks since we installed the bee packages. Installation went okay, but we had a problem with one of the top feeders and were concerned with that hive especially. We didn't know if all the queens had been released or if they had been accepted. Sometimes the hive will kill the queen in those first days.

We were super pleased to find a lot of new drawn out comb in all of the hives. We have been feeding the bees syrup and pollen patties and it appears to be working for them. It was really pretty cool they way we could check the frames and only a bees were buzzing around, most just seemed focused on their tasks and ignored us. 

We were able to find all 4 queens! They are busy laying eggs and seem to have no problems being accepted by the hive.  Can you find the queen? She's right in the center of the photo. She has the long skinny body. She is depositing her eggs in each of the cells.

We also lots of comb filled with glistening nectar and pollen. We saw larvae, and eggs in every hive! The first two are larger hives and seem to be behind a bit, i think because they work harder in the larger hive. The two smaller hives are almost filled up already. Larva and eggs are really important to see, because in a couple of weeks all of the worker bees will die and (hopefully) be replaced with the new brood. The worker bees only live 5-6 weeks during an active season. So if there isn't eggs and larva, in a few weeks time the entire colony will collapse.  

We found capped brood (baby bees) in the 2 smaller hives.  Very excited to see that things are going so well so far!!!!! We were really worried about the first hive that had the problem with the top feeder, but it looks like they have recovered well and are doing great! So far no one has gotten stung! 

Kenan has set up an electric fence to hopefully deter the bears that have become common visitors on our land. They are the biggest threat to hives right now. We'll be doing another inspection this evening and we'll be adding  brood boxes on the smaller 8 frame / medium box hives. We are pretty optimistic that we may get a little bit of honey this first year, which isn't always a guarantee. Looking forward to our hive inspection this afternoon, we are waiting for the kids to get home from school so they can participate. This has been a fun learning experience for the whole family.  In just the two weeks we've had our hives, i've learned so much about bees i didn't know.


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