Sunday, February 20, 2011

New year, new bees

We opened the hive up for the first time this year to see how they are doing.

I didn't write down the date, but I think it was around Jan 21 or so.

Not much changed in the hive between Christmas (when we pulled honey), and that inspection.

Charlie did all the hands-on work, and I took notes and watched. We got some gloves for christmas, which she used. Good thing too, a bee stung the glove.

There were 3 full frames and 3 medium frames that had brood (i assume, they were covered in bees, which typically means they were keeping the grubs warm), so that shows that they're gearing up for the spring. This breed (carniolans) typically overwinters with fewer bees than italians, so having a small amount of brood is not terribly concerning at this stage.

Didn't see any hive beetles like last time.

Watching the entrance to the hive, they are quite busy, so that's good.

We pulled a black plastic frame that had BLACK wax on it, and was all funky looking. Wax tops were all wavy and there were rarely any bees on it. I let it sit in the garage for a day or so, and it smelled BAD. I threw it out.. didn't even want the bees eating the honey that was in it. I have a pet theory that it was the reason the bees didn't like that side of the hive, and that they will start thriving now that it's gone.

We had prepared a new super (box of frames) to put on the hive, and even though there was no new honey, we put it on anyways.

Here's how the hive is laid out now:

Hive body: 10 frames, all brood or honey (for insulation), active capped brood in 6-8.

First super, not painted:
1: F, capped honey (insulation)
2: Fresh foundationless frame added
3: FL, with fresh comb about the size of 2 hands
4: FL 80% drawn, some honey
5: FL with 2 tiny slivers of wax drawn
6: uncapped honey
7: brood
8: brood
9: Fresh foundationless frame added
10: F, capped honey (insulation)

Second super, painted with bees stamped on it
1: F, capped honey (insulation)
2: blank
3: some drawn some capped honey
4-9: FL, blank
10: Capped honey (insulation)

Top super:
1: F, capped honey
2-8: FL? blank
9: F, capped honey
10: FL, blank

No pictures this time, my phone got wiped :<

We moved the insulating honey frames around a bit so that all 3 boxes would have at least one frame of insulating honey on each side. Fresh frames were added next to the insulating ones in hopes that they would build out fresh comb there and fill it with honey. We'll see how it goes.