Our goal with this series of posts is to take you along as we (my daughter and I) establish two new backyard hives from packages! While we have access to drawn comb, frames of eggs, brood and bees we will not be using them unless absolutely necessary.
The bees were installed on 4/9/16 in 10 frame deep boxes with plastic foundation in the frames. We did add extra wax to the foundation to help the bees take to it a bit better. This is not required but seems to help.
Our first inspection was on 4/12 and our goals for the inspections were:
- Make sure the queens had been released from their cages
- Check on comb building
- Quick look for eggs
It's always good to have a list of items you want to accomplish before you open the hive. Sometimes you pop the lid and your mind goes blank! Another tip is to have a notebook with you and take notes on what you see so you can refer back later.
So we lit our smoker (always good to have it just in case) grabbed our hive tool and got started!
Hive #1 - HoneyComb Makers (They're official name for now, haha!)
The first thing we found was ants making a nest on the inner cover :( . This actually isn't unusual as odorous house ants (tiny ants you see on your counter) also like sugar water and the warm space above then hive. They don't disturb the bees until you open the hive, then they run everywhere! Our solution - sprinkle cinnamon around the top edges of the inner cover. This keeps them out and doesn't bother the bees.
- We pulled the queen cage, and the queen was out! A good sign
- Annabelle pulled out the center frame and the bees have begun building comb! Another good sign. They are actively building both sides of the center frame and the insides of the adjacent frames. There were a few pieces of wonky comb around where the cage was so we cut those out. Any cross comb, comb built above the foundation, fat comb, etc should be removed ASAP before it becomes a major issue.
- While checking the comb we saw the queen (she's marked) and eggs! It's not necessary to see the queen during an inspection but since the hive is small she was easy to spot. The presence of eggs indicates you had a laying queen in the last three days. This queen had laid two palm sized patched of eggs.
All looked good! We were quick,accomplished our goals, pushed all our frames together, and closed up the hive.
Hive #2 - Sweet Treat Makers :)
This inspection showed the same results as hive #1 including the ants. So same steps and results.
Our next inspections will most likely be this weekend as Annabelle is anxious to be in the hives watching what they are doing! We don't want to disturb them too often, but what's the point of having hives if you can't have fun watching them grow!
Sting Count - 0
Check back in a few days for the next update!