Week One Check In

Week One Check In

It’s been a week since the bees were installed into the hives and it’s time to check in on them. Last time I was in the hives, I checked in on the queens. This time will be to see if the colony is building comb and the queen in laying. The other things that I look for are nectar and pollen coming in. Seeing growth, brood, and food are the main things that I look for in the beginning of the season. I do also look closely at the bees to see if there is anything note worthy.

In this last week since the bees got here, the weather has improved. On April 24th the temperature was 62 degrees and it was sunny. There was a little bit of wind, so I needed to be cautious when taking the combs out of the hives to look at them. The new combs will be even more fragile, so I need to play close attention when handling them.

Today I started at the Orchard Hive. When I walked up to the hive, the bees were busy flying in and out of the hive. They were bring pollen in. As I watched them, I saw four different colors of pollen on the bees. The girls had their pollen baskets filled with bright yellow, dark yellow, orange, and green pollen. Some of the bees were coming into the hive completely covered in pollen. They looked like they had just rolled around on the flowers and got pollen all over their bodies.

This hive had eight bars to start off with and six of the bars had fully drawn comb, one of the bars had a smaller comb, and one bar was empty. When I set up the hive for this colony they had three fully drawn out combs with honey on them. Since the temperature are still on the lower side, I only added two empty bars for them to build on. When I add the extra bars, I place them one at a time between two fully drawn combs. This encourages the bees to continue to build straight comb and helps to reduce cross combing.

During this inspection, I did not see the queen. I found evidence of her though. There were eggs on one of the newly built combs. It looks like the bees have really enjoyed the honey that I provided for them, there was very little left. Even though they have consumed the majority of the capped honey, they are brining in plenty of nectar now. Five of the bars had some nectar in them and two of the bars had pollen in them.

This colony has been very easy to work with so far and I really hope that it stays that way. Working with calm, easy going bees is extremely enjoyable. Now with a little added space they can continue to grow. I will be closely watching the amount of nectar that they store in their combs to try to avoid them becoming nectar bound. If they fill the hive too full of nectar, they may decide to swarm. For now, everything looks good and I am so glad that the queen has started laying eggs.

At the Willow Hive the bees were happily flying in and out of their hive, flying over the pond that they overlook. This colony is also bringing lots of pollen, but not as colorful. These girls seemed to be collecting mostly bright yellow pollen and again, there were a few bees that looked like they just rolled in it.

When I set up the hive for this colony, I only gave them six bars. Three of the bars had fully drawn combs with honey and three were empty. I am not sure why I gave them so few, I usually like to give the eight bars to start. All six of the bars had fully drawn out comb. One of the bars had just a small piece that they had started to store nectar in. All of the other comb had nectar in it and two of the bars had some pollen on them.

At this point, I am zero of two for finding the queens. Usually I am quite good at finding them, but they are being elusive this time. Maybe these queens are shy? I am not worried that I did not see her, because I found eggs. This queen also had put eggs into a newly built comb. For this colony, I added three empty bars for growth. That brings them up to nine total bars in the hive. Since they have nectar on all six of the bars that were in there, I want to make sure they feel like they have enough space to keep growing.

Once I finished up checking the hives at Old Frog Pond Farm, I headed over to check the Healing Garden Hive. This hive is only about five minutes away from the farm. It works out well that the two locations are so close to one another. It may also come in handy if I need to share resources between the hives.

This colony looks good too. They bees are very active and bringing in lots of pollen. While I was inspecting the hive this colony was mostly calm, but they were definitely wondering why I was there digging around in their house. Their buzzing was a bit louder than the other colonies, but they were not at all aggressive.

The Healing Hive colony also started with eight bars. They had two bars with full combs and capped honey. All six of the remaining bars had new comb on them, two of them had small pieces of comb and the other four bars had mostly fully drawn comb on them. They only had a small amount of the capped honey remaining, but all of the comb now has nectar on it. The bees have been putting pollen into three of the combs.

My big question today is where are the queens? I have inspected three hives today and I have not seen any queens. I am not at all worried though because I found evidence of each queen in their hives. It was the same in this hive, there were two new combs that both had eggs in the cells. Today I put in two more empty bars for them to continue to grow.

All three inspections today went really well. The bees were mostly very calm and easy going. The one thing that I didn’t do today was take pictures! I am not sure what happened there, but I will be better about that. This time I did not inspect the Meadow Hive. I have actually been in the hive a few times now to try to convince them to eat the syrup, so I decided not to bother them today. I will check in on them soon and write a separate post when I do.