1st spring inspection year 2
This weekend was amazing! The sun was shining and the temperatures were hovering at a balmy 13-15 Celsius (59 F) perfect weather for doing the 1st spring inspection and cleaning. The weather here lately has been miserable. If it wasn't raining or trying to snow, it was cold and windy. For this inspection my partner/photographer was unavailable so there are only a few pics. I find it very annoying having to keep taking off my gloves to take a photo. I still have not been able to shed the leather and go glove-less and doubt that I will in the near future.
The blue hive was a hive that swarmed twice last season
, combined once
with the 2nd swarm and still produced a nice surplus of Honey. Starting the inspection around 2pm the bees were flying and foragers were bringing in tons of bright orange pollen. There was so many bees at the entrance reducer opening that when it was removed the traffic was reminiscent of a busy summer day last season.
After the top was removed I got a good look at the frames in the top box and there was bees, a whole lot of bees. I pulled up a few frames and they were covered with bees, in fact every frame was brimming with bees.
[caption id="attachment_702" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="blue hive top box March 25 2012"]
The top box contained some frames of capped honey , 2 frames off capped brood some emerging and some close to emerging, a frame containing young larvae with some eggs and the rest of the frames were drawn but empty. I expected more brood and eggs. There was fresh white wax comb being laid out on some of the frames near the brood.
It was time to inspect the lower deep. The top deep was covered with the inner cover and moved over and placed on top of the outer cover on the ground. I was expecting a few bees and a lot of empty drawn out brood frames not as many or more bees than the top deep! I have been reading about reversing the boxes in the spring, the theory being that the brood nest is moved down and the queen has room to move up the box and expand the brood nest. Most of what I read says the bottom box will be almost empty but this is what there was.
[caption id="attachment_703" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Bottom blue box March 25 2012"]
Checking the frames they consisted of a few frames of capped honey, some pollen on a few frames and the rest was drawn out brood comb from last season all of these frames were covered with bees. So many bees that when the frames were pulled out, they just spilled out onto the top of the box while still having the frame covered in worker bees. Not one drone to be seen but there was some fresh drone comb being drawn out around the edges of a few frames. I decided to leave the bottom box where it was after cleaning the bottom board The bottom board was fairly clean with not many dead bees, I guess the caretaker bees have been doing their job.
Here is a close up of the bottom box. These bees look fairly young and fuzzy and they were very calm. Click on the image to see them in wonderful Hi-def.
[caption id="attachment_704" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Fuzzy bees March 25th 2012"]
I will have to watch this hive closely as it looks like it could be one that might swarm early. I am planning on doing a split but was going to wait until the drones are flying or I can purchase a queen.
So excited to have the bees make it through the winter and be back into the hives.
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