It’s been more than a month since I have inspected the Host Hive. The last time I inspected this hive the bees were so nice and so sweet. I guess a lot can change with their temperament in a month! They were back to their usual grumpy selves this time. I was so hopeful that we had turned things around and that they were going to be more tolerable of me. That hope is gone now.
On the upside the colony seems to be doing very well. Looking in the doorway there was a lot of activity. Next I looked in the window and there I saw more of the same, a good looking colony with lots of bees. I was planning to get some pictures today, but the bees had other ideas. They seemed to only want to let me know that it was not okay that I was in their home. I tried to reassure them that I understood and I was only making sure things were well. I think that they were trying to tell me that they have been doing this a lot longer than I have and that I needed to butt out.
When I am inspecting a hive, I like talk to the bees in a soothing voice hoping that it will somehow make them feel better about me rooting around in their home. After trying for a bit with this colony today I ended up not talking much, I was trying to make this inspection as painless as possible. Unfortunately several bees lost their lives trying to sting me through my gloves. I always feel bad when that happens. I did try to save the bees attacking me by using my hive tool to try to gently remove them from my gloves.
This colony has twenty six bars in use out of the thirty one possible bars. I removed two bars that were still empty, the bees had not even built comb on them yet, but I left two empty bars and one bar with a full comb that was empty. I just want to make sure that they have space if they need it. As it gets closer to winter, I will reevaluate what is in the hive and if it needs to be there or be removed.
There was a good amount of honey in the hive. Last year the colony waited until mid September to fill the hive with honey. This year I would like to see more honey going into the winter than last year. I am not sure how things will go though. There has been a drought here all season and that may disrupt the fall flow.
They have good store of pollen and nectar too. The brood pattern looked good and I spotted the queen. It has always been a challenge to find eggs in the comb of this hive, so I really like when I can see the queen. There were plenty of larvae at all stages, so I knew she was in there. It’s just good to actually spot her. There was still a little bit of capped drone brood and they had not started removing the drones from the hive yet.
With all of my hives, I have been visually checking for varroa mites. This hive seems very clean, I have not seen any mites on any of the bees. I have seen some dead mites at the bottom of the hive, but usually on the other side of the divider board. I am still trying to figure that out. I am not sure if the bees are cleaning them off and flinging them there or how they are getting to the other side of the divider board. I have seen this in some of my other hives too.
I am sad that the bees were grumpy again, but I am happy to see that they are doing well. The hive looks and smells good. The bees seem to be very strong and protective of their home. Luckily, they are not bothering the family that is hosting their hive! I will have to try to get to the hive sooner that a month for the next inspection and I need to start preparing for winter.
Last winter I put hay bales around the hive. It worked well, but it was impractical for me and for the family that is hosting the hive. I will need to research other options to protect the hive from the wind. This hive is out in the open and very exposed to all of the elements. That means that I have some research and reading to do. Maybe next time the girls will let me take their pictures again!