I am in a place where I am feeling much better about getting into the hives and I am excited to do my next inspection. I am going to wait about a month before I get into the hives again and I will need to keep an eye on the weather to determine when to go back in. I am just glad that now I can feel more confident going in and inspecting the hives.
Now that I have completed an inspection on the top bar hive in my yard, it’s time to tackle the host top bar hive. I have put off inspecting this hive for a long time. The last couple of inspections were unsuccessful and really painful.
I have some extra hands helping out with this inspection. Mike, the guest beekeeper that helped out previously and Rachel, who is kindly hosting this hive. This is the first hive inspection for Rachel.
The two hives in my yard have already started their winter preparation and are kicking drones out. It wasn’t obvious if the host hive has started removing drones yet. We talked about winter plans for this hive. The hive is sitting out in an open area so we are going to surround three sides of it with hay bales to create a little bit of a barrier. I also need to look into making a candy board for the top bar hives. I will also be making warm quilts to put in the hives, just about the top bars. I am hoping that the quilts will help the bees with insulation.
We used the smoker to inspect this hive too. I showed Mike and Rachel the new smoker technique and we got it lit. I thought that it would be good to start the inspection in the brood chamber this time. The last time we inspected this hive, we were not able to get into the brood nest. The smoker had gone out and the bees were very grumpy.
The colony seemed calm and relaxed this time. We were able to go through each bar without any problems. I did a visual check for mites on each of the combs. I did not see any signs of them. Hopefully that means that they are not going to be a problem.
There were still quite a few drones in the hive, but I did not see any drone brood. The queen is still laying well and the brood pattern looked very good. We were able to see eggs, larvae, and capped brood.
There were some honey stores, but not enough to get them through winter. When I inspect the hive again, I will decide if I need to start feeding the bees. I have the feeling that I will need to feed them, but I want to wait a little longer.
During this inspection I was able to take the time to show and explain things to Rachel. It felt really good to be in the hive and have the bees reacting well to our being there. I know that my new bee suit helps a lot with making me feel more confident, but I am making progress to feeling better about the bees.
This inspection went really well and it was very good to have Mike and Rachel there to help and to see everything. It was really nice to be able to go through all of the bars in this hive, I haven’t been able to do that for a long time. I thought the comb was going to be a mess, but it was actually pretty straight. There were a couple of small bulges and I just smashed them down. The bees always get right to work if I change anything in the hive.