The following is probably the most detailed video of a hive inspection that I’ve posted since the dawn of Mud Songs. For everyone who couldn’t attend the informal beekeeping workshop I had planned to put on today, this video shows what you missed (or would have missed if I’d gone ahead with the workshop). It’s a 24-minute video, which is longer than my usual videos because I left in the all the parts with me yammering on about what I’m doing — exactly the kind of yammering I’d do if I was giving a workshop.
I’m still aiming for next weekend or the weekend after that to put on the workshop, but even then, it probably won’t be as good as what I found in this hive today. It was a thorough examination and I made sure to record all the best bits for the video. In the video I show and talk about:
• the queen
• the pattern of the brood nest
• the pattern of honey and pollen around the brood nest
• capped brood
• the temperament of the bees
• using an Italian style hive tool
• using a queen excluder
• spraying the bees with mist instead of using a smoker
• reversing the brood chamber
• installing a honey super
• shaking bees off frames
• honey bees scenting
• expanding the brood nest
and more that I can’t recall at the moment.
One thing I don’t mention in the video is feeding. I have more than enough frames of honey to feed my bees, so I have no need to feed. That’s not always the case.
July 11th, 2016: Although the queen was laying in a solid brood pattern in the middle of the frames, she wasn’t quite strong enough to maintain the population of the colony. I eventually decided to use her colony as a resource colony, which means I kept stealing frames of brood from it to boost weaker colonies in my beeyard. As natural looking as the frames of brood were — with the brood in the middle surrounded by pollen and then a ring of honey — “natural” doesn’t always mean survival, not in a cold climate such as Newfoundland. If I was to be even more natural in my beekeeping, I’d leave everything alone and let the bees make their own new queen through supercedure. But supercedure queens late in the season, in my experience, don’t always mate well or lay well and the colony goes into winter weak and usually comes out of spring weak too. I plan to requeen the colony as soon as possible with a mated queen.