The last time I came out to the host hive I inspected a little, but the main reason for my visit was to add more empty bars for them. I have been so happy that they made it through the winter and are growing quickly. This visit was to do a complete inspection of the hive. It was a little on the cooler side today, but the bees did not seem upset about it. The were mostly calm while I was inspecting their hive. This colony tends to be very picky about when I inspect them, so I was happy that they were not angry with me.
During this visit I went through each bar and looked at everything. One of my main concerns now is the possibility of swarming. With this queen making it through the winter, I don’t want to lose her. I am hoping to come up with a plan to split the hive before they can swarm. The reality is that honey bees are wild animals and they will do what they want to do. I am not going to interfere with the process in a way that can harm them. If I split them, it will only be if they are in good condition for it.
I did come across two queen cups, but they were both empty. The bees are busy preparing for spring and summer. There is a good amount of drone brood in the hive. The queen has a good laying pattern for both drone and worker brood. I did not actually see eggs, but there was a lot of larvae at different stages of development. Sometimes it can be difficult to see eggs in the comb with the way the lighting is at this hive. I had this same problem last year.
Last year I did something that I should not have done though. When I could not see the eggs, I would take the bar with the comb and walk away from the hive to get different lighting. The issue with this was the possibility that the queen could fall off of the comb and land on the ground. If she is on the ground it increases the probability of her getting stepped on. I was very lucky not have that happen, but this year I am much more cautious.
I am also much better at spotting the queen now. I have been able to spot queens pretty quickly these days and I saw her on one of the newly built combs. Since I was able to spot her, I was not as concerned about not seeing the eggs. There was a lot of brood in the hive and everything else looked really good.
While watching the bees, I was relieved to see that they are no longer using the raised divider board as a door. They had all gone back to using the hole that is actually their entrance. It was nice to see that there wasn’t much activity on the side of the hive with the observation window. Now we could look in the window without worrying as much about the bees getting defensive.
I went through the entire hive this time and there were no signs of dysentery inside. My plan is to just keep an eye on them and see how things go. There wasn’t a lot on the outside of the hive either, but as a new beekeeper I have my concerns. From what I have read, a strong colony can get through a bout of dysentery without any intervention.
The bees still have a decent amount of honey is the hive. They are bringing in pollen and nectar and they have some good stores. If I am lucky, I will get to enjoy some of the honey from them this year. I will only the it if they have more than enough. But I am curious to taste it! The two hives from my yard last year each had honey that was very different in taste, so it will be interesting to taste the honey from the host hive.
I will have to be out here again soon to check on the hive. They are growing quickly and I want to make sure they have plenty of space to continue to do so. I am also going to need to keep an eye on the possibility of swarming, but let’s hope that I can convince them to stay!