Our last inspection was hurried as we were moving the bee frames into their new boxes and I didn’t have proper protection. I now have the proper equipment: bee suit, hat, and veil, in the style I wanted as purchased from Mannlake.com. It’s important to have equipment that you are comfortable with. I like this veil best as it does not have anything blocking my view unlike other veils.
Both my husband, Dave and I donned proper equipment and protection as we went through a more thorough inspection of the hive. We haven’t yet developed that confidence with the hive that allows us to go without our bee suit, hat, veil and gloves. 🙂 Maybe someday we’ll get there. For now, we want protection.
Honey Cells: We noticed the honey cells. Several of the frames were full with honey already. And some honey cells are located on a frame with brood cells. Here is a picture of one of our frames that is full of honey. Most of it capped off. It is very heavy. A full deep box (our 3 bigger boxes) of 10 frames full of honey can weigh about 100 pounds. This is why they suggest using honey supers (the smaller box) which when full of honey will weigh about 60 pounds.
Brood Cells: We observed where the brood cells were located, checking for larvae and pupa. You can see the larvae curled up. The pupa are in the cells that are closed off as the pupa is metamorphosing into a bee. We learned later, from a conversation with our mentor, that we forgot to look for eggs. These are tiny grains of rice (much smaller than rice) that will sit at the bottom of the cell. You want to check for eggs to confirm that your queen is still laying eggs. Worker bees only live about 35 days, so if your queen isn’t laying new eggs, then your hive will slowly die.
Getbuzzingaboutbees.com has the following illustration to show this progression. The worker pupa fit within a normal size cell. The drone pupa are bigger and therefore in extended cells, so it is easy to tell a drone pupa, which we use to test for mites. The queen gets the biggest cells which are uniquely made and easy to distinguish. They look like peanuts – big as peanut shells. As we have previously discussed, we actively search out and destroy the queen cells as they are made, to keep the hive from producing a new queen, which they do when they feel overcrowded and plan to swarm. See other posts for that discussion.
Our Evaluation: We found a few frames that were not being used by the bees. They had little to no honey or brood cells in them and they looked to be subpar frames. We’ve decided to buy replacement frames for these and remove them from the hive. We put them back in place for this inspection, so that we would leave no gaps with a plan to replace them for the next inspection.
We also noticed that the bees haven’t yet started using the additional honey super that we added a few weeks earlier. We will keep an eye on that situation. Since the frames that they are using look fairly full, we expected them to make use of these new frames for additional honey.
Finally, here is what my gloves looked like after this inspection. Jim, our mentor, told us that the bees will get comfortable with us from the smell of their hive on our gloves and suit. Dave and I are having a lot of fun tending the bees and learning all about them.
Talk later, Sheri