Non-intrusive Hive Inspection

I did a non-intrusive hive inspection this afternoon. I’ve been on a tiring film shoot for the past four days, and I missed hanging out in the backyard watching the bees, surrounded by all my veggies and things. I’m glad I had the day off. Here’s a shot of some bees in Hive #2.

By non-intrusive, all I mean is I didn’t pull out the frames. I just removed the roof and the inner cover and looked down at the frames. The bees in Hive #1 have built more comb than those in Hive #2, probably because they went at least one extra week with a feeder. (No doubt about it, feeding the bees at this early stage accelerates comb building — more places for the queen to lay her eggs.) I scraped more honeycomb from the inner cover of that hive. I plan to use the wax (I already ate the honey) to build some starter strips. From what I could see today, the bees in Hive #1 have drawn out comb on at least 7 of the 10 frames, maybe more. I was impressed with what I saw. I’m not sure when I should add another brood box to the hive, but I’m thinking as early as next weekend, the weekend after that at the latest.

Again, I followed the example of the Seldom Fools beekeepers and didn’t use the smoker on the bees. I sprayed the bees with a very fine mist whenever they seemed agitated — the buzz from the bees becomes more ominous — and ten seconds later the buzzing would die down. I love it. (We’ll see how well it works out during our next full inspection.)

There’s not much else to see or report. But for anyone interested, I’ll link to a few more photos… One: Hive #1 with an empty bag feeder. I put the bag feeders in a week ago after I noticed too many pests (wasps and ants) hanging around the hives. The bees sucked up the bag juice pretty quick and I didn’t have time to add any news ones. So they probably went three or four days without any feed. I reinstalled board feeders to each hive today. If the wasps come back, I’ll switch to bags again. Two: All the bees on top of Hive #2. There were hardly any bees visible on top of the frames when I first lifted off the inner cover. About a minute later, though, the tops of the frames were covered with bees, probably glad to get a little fresh air (it must be hot down in the hive). Three: A closer shot of comb in Hive #2. Jenny and I didn’t press the frames as close together as we could and you can see the bees building comb out from this frame to fill in the extra space. I hope that doesn’t cause any problems down the road.

See the next post, Video of Mini Hive Inspection, to view a 5-minute video of the inspection shot on my new high definition camera.

PHOTOS NOTE (AUGUST 2015): The photos in this post may not display properly because they were uploaded through Google’s Picasa online photo album service, a service I no longer use because certain updates created more work for me instead of streamlining the process. I will eventually replace the photos with ones hosted on the Mud Songs server. This note will disappear when (or if) that happens.