Saturday, March 20, 2010

Inspection 3/20/2010

72 f

A perfect day for an inspection. Lots of activity as I opened up the hive. The bees had chewed farther through the styrofoam insulation in the vent box. Its debris was scattered on the inner cover & looked like sugar. I may need to change to a different product next year.

After the inner cover was taken off I could see that the bees were not eating the pollen substitute I had left them. It had flowed/melted down the frames some. So that's it I'm done with it. I scraped it all out and chucked into the woods. Maybe they don't need it after the Maples bloom or I'm making it wrong. Either way they won't be seeing it anymore.

Unwanted Pollen Patties

Looking at the frames was good. They are beginning to store pollen and nectar next to the brood frames. It's mostly from the Maples and is consistent in color.

Maple Pollen & Nectar

Since the population is less than in Summer it's easier to look at individual bees. One thing about Myrina's girls is the difference in colors between them. Some are dark & others are brighter. I figure the instructors at Bee class can explain it. I hope.


The bees were mostly in the top box. The brood was still only in 3 frames, like the last inspection, but occupied 1/2 to 3/4 of each frame. My reading glasses made seeing the eggs much easier. Lots of little eggs expanding outward on the frames. The larva looked great too. The bees had loaded them up with royal jelly. I never realized how much of that stuff goes into a cell. The capped brood was plentiful and in a solid pattern. I also saw several drone cells.

I pulled an empty frame and replaced it with a Pierco Drone frame. I only have one per hive right now. I'll pull them out, freeze them, then place them back in the hive. I may get one more per hive so that I can replace a drone frame 'with' a drone frame. As long as I don't forget to change them out I should put a big hurt on the Varroa Mite.

Overall, such a healthy colony is a beautiful sight after such a bad Winter. This next image is for every beek still waiting to get into their hives.

Eggs, Royal Jelly, & Larva
(click for close up)

Myrina is sure doing her job. I tried to get a blue queen marking pen yesterday but Dadant was out of them. I did buy the queen plunger which I can't wait to use. Right now it's easy to find the queens. A month from now it will go back to be almost impossible. Neither Myrina or Mary are marked; both being children of swarms. Until then I hope to see lots of this.

Queen Myrina on frame #3, with pollen & capped honey

So the top box is where all the action is. This means it is time to reverse boxes. Not a difficult task. It will lessen the need to swarm and contribute to build-up. I get another chance to clean off the BB. It wasn't very dirty at all just cappings mostly. The top box gets switched to the bottom and the former bottom box is now on top. Where I can now pull it's frames to see what is going on there.

This box has really gotten away from me. All but one of the frames are the old farmers frames. A bunch of old and black crimped wire wax frames. I have culled many new Plasticell frames that are drawn out and with some honey & pollen left over. Those will replace these soon. Though old these frames currently hold a good bit of honey & pollen. Bees in this box are occupying the frames that were beneath the brood. Frames 1 & 2. The girls have started this year on the Eastern side of the boxes.

Other than the old frames propolis is a slight issue right now. What the girls are doing is adding a layer of propolis to each spacer on every frame. This increases the space between the frames and leads to more bur comb. I scraped all 20 frames in this hive. Put them back in the boxes and squeezed them tight toward the East side. I hope the bees get the idea now.

Old Propolis on a Old Frame

After all that everything went back together. With the addition of the Hive Top Feeder. I had made a shim box to put it in but I found the Vent box does the same job. I'll drill holes in the shim boxes and turn them into Vent boxes too.

HTF with Syrup

The HTF was filled with a gallon of 1:1 syrup with a Tbs of apple cider vinegar. The inner cover & T-cover went back on and the day was almost done. I checked the lean of the hive. It had settled back some. I added a couple of shims to the back under the Bottom Board. Now it has a slight lean forward again. After about 30 minutes the bees came out in force for the rest of day. I believe they found the syrup and had at it.

The Event-log was updated (here)


Jared said...

I have not posted on your blog before and figured today I would.

Sorry about that previous post right here. I had a lot of typos.

The reason the two bees look different is because they are. They have the same mother (your queen), but different fathers. Queens can mate with 20 different drones when they go on their mating flight (male bees). This provides a variation genetics within your hive

Hemlock said...


Glad to Welcome you to the Creek. I have your site in my reader which I try to run through every day.

I should have known that about the multiple mating. I may of heard it before but it didn't stick. Maybe a third of the bees in Myrina are dark to black bees. But they're all mean. Thanks for the info.