My First Real Inspection

It’s been a while since I have dedicated some time to writing a new post. I had an incident with a honey bee and have been in hiding. While I was gardening a very angry honey bee landed on my shirt. She stung me in the chest and I pulled my shirt away from my body to try to reduce the pain. To pay me back for letting her live, she went into my shirt! As I was fighting to get my shirt off, she stung me in the head! The welt on my chest was big, red, and very sore. The welt on my head looked like a big egg, almost like someone had punched me in the forehead. I had a horrible headache for several days.

Beekeeping and gardening were put on hold. The first couple of days I didn’t even want to be outside. Every time I heard buzzing near my head, I got nervous. I had no desire to mulch the garden where the beehives are or plant veggies. I am feeling a little better about things now, but I am not as comfortable as I used to be.
I am very lucky to live close to Lens Pro to Go. Whenever I need a camera lens, I can head over to rent one. This time I rented a GoPro camera. I thought it would be fun to record the first real inspections of my top bar hives. I got the head strap for the camera and it fit well over my beekeeping hat. Since I had the GoPro, I didn’t need someone else to be there taking pictures or video. It was exciting to think about doing inspections on my own.
The bees in the top bar hive in the host yard have been in their hive longer than the bees in my yard, so I planned to inspect their hive first. I had been over to check on them through the observation window and they seemed to have stopped taking the sugar water. They have been foraging well, so I decided that it would be a good time to remove the feeders. I also planned to inspect the comb for brood and honey.
The morning that I went over to the hive, I opened the lid and found a paper wasp starting a nest on the lid. Wasps are my least favorite thing! I had to figure out how to get it out of there. The family had a net for catching butterflies and I borrowed it. I was able to get the wasp and its nest into the net and destroy them both.
Now it was time for me to remove the feeders. I took out the jars from the hive and then moved the divider board so that I could add some more empty bars. I added four bars into the area where the bees are. I did a short inspection and only looked at a couple of bars. The bees had built comb on nine bars.
In the comb I saw a couple of eggs, uncapped larvae, and capped brood. There was worker brood and drone brood. The caps on the drone brood stuck out quite a bit further than the capped worker brood. There was also clear fluid, which I am assuming was nectar and I saw some pollen stores. Since I saw brood in the comb I felt that I didn’t need to pull out each of the bars.
One of the things I learned during this inspection is that the bees do not like when I use the brush to try to persuade them to move. I don’t blame them for being annoyed by it, I would be unhappy if someone was pushing me around. They seemed much happier when I very slowly put the bars back in and gave them a little time to get out of the way. It takes more time, but leaves the bees in a better mood.
This inspection went very well. I was very excited to see all of the stages of the brood and to recognize what they were. I did only spot a few eggs, but I am hoping that is only because they are hard to see on the new white comb. I did not see the queen this time, but since there was evidence of her being there I decided not to pull apart the entire hive looking for her.
I am very happy that I am using the Hive Tracks website to document my beekeeping. Using the website had made note taking so much easier. Hive Tracks even enters the exact weather for the time of the inspection, so I don’t have to think about that. They also create a “to do” list for me with future inspection dates and feeding dates if I am feeding the bees. Adding the GoPro camera this time made documentation even easier and it’s fun to watch.

Selfie with the GoPro on.
Selfie with the GoPro on.
Inside the hive looking in from the window.
Inside the hive looking in from the window.
The wasp's nest!
The wasp’s nest!
Placement of the bars.
Placement of the bars.

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