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 comb 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.

I 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 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). There’s not much else to see or report.