My birthday was a week ago and our family was heading to Norway for two and a half weeks, I wanted to check on the bees before we left. I also was planning to clean out the Willow Hive and bring it home so that rodents did not move in. At this point it has been over a month since I had looked in on the Willow Hive. I figured that there would be no-one left in the hive.
Even though I thought the hive was empty, I still put on my suit and gloves. I didn’t want any surprises. The fear that I felt is less, but I still have some fear about being stung and I would rather be over prepared than under. When I got to the hive there was quite a lot of activity around it. My first thought is that these bees are here robbing what is left of the honey.
Once I opened the hive, I realized that the bees in the hive were calm and not robbing it! These bees live here! Luckily, I was suited up and had all of my equipment with me. I went through each bar to see how things were going. This was such an exciting inspection and I could not wait to examine each bar. They had lots of brood and some capped honey. I was thrilled to find the queen! Everything looks great with this new little colony.
After inspecting this new colony, I was feeling so good. It was my lucky day in beekeeping and now I am just hoping that luck will continue. I headed over to the Orchard Hive to inspect them. The weather was nice and the bees were calm and happy. This always makes the inspections so much easier.
The Orchard Hive is looking strong. There is a large colony in there. They are on 26 bars and I added two more empty bars for them. Eight of the bars had nectar and capped honey on them. There are eighteen bars with brood in some form on them and a mix of workers and drones. There is a lot more worker brood at this point than drone.
The queen let me find her today. I wasn’t sure that I would see her since the colony has gotten so big, so I was happy that I got to. I have been visually checking the bees for mites and I didn’t find any today. I hope that means that the mite load is low and the colony is strong. This colony looks really good right now and I am happy that I can go to Norway feeling good about the bees.
Two days later, on July 28th, I headed back to the farm. I only needed to give the Willow Hive two bars with empty comb on them. My thought was to give them more space to continue to grow. I am not sure how much comb they will build at this point in the season. It will be good for them to have the extra comb. Hopefully they fill it with all the things they need.