Beekeeping Bees Hive Maintainance

First Week of April~Update on the Beehives

A fellow beekeeper’s hive with a healthy brood pattern
(center of frame-each cell filled with a new baby bee waiting to emerge)

As you read in my last post a few weeks ago, both beehives survived the winter and both underwent a bit of spring maintenance.  Today, it was sixty degrees outside and the sun was shining brilliantly in the sky.  Both hive entrances were bustling with activity.  It was time to do the first spring hive inspection.

First I opened up Briar.  The bees were abundant.  The had not started building out the 10 new frames of foundation but there were bees checking out the new addition of space.  I removed the candy board.  Today, it was time to convert the bees over to a 1:1 sugar syrup with Honey B Healthy.  This hive was still booming.  The bees were returning loaded down with pollen.  I scraped off the IPM board (Integrated Pest Management).  There was lots of pollen, hive debris and a few Varroa Mites.  This is the first time I found them in this hive. Their numbers are very low. I will decide if I need to treat them in about a week when I make a full inspection.

Since December 2012-candy board usage until today.  Both started with 5 pounds of sugar each.
Willow (L) and Briar (R)

Willow was next.  I removed the candy board.  This hive’s population has dwindled a bit.  The bees were confined mostly to the lower deep.  I needed to take a peek to see evidence of the queen.  I removed the extra uppermost deep that I had placed on a few weeks earlier.  The bees did not need the extra space.  The frames in the upper deep had a few bees and glistened in the sun with fresh new nectar.  A bit dripped off as I flipped the frames.  I removed this deep, set it aside and went into the bottom most deep where the majority of the bees were at that moment.  One by one I inspected the frames looking for signs of the queen.  The bees were a bit unsettled.  They started flying at my face.  One by one they bounced off of my beekeeping veil.  They were protecting the hive.  It is what comes natural.  Once I reached the inner most frames, I saw signs of a queen.  She has begun to lay again.  Pearly white larvae were curled up inside the cells.  Once I saw this, I put the hive back together.  There was no need to look further for fear of crushing or injuring the queen.  There is a queen present.  I am unsure if the original queen is back from a laying hiatus or if the hive re-queened itself. Hopefully the numbers will increase. Willow’s IPM board had about the same amount of Varroa Mites as Briar.

A new bee emerges and larvae are seen in the background. Photo Credit
Lots of baby bees in various stages. Tiny eggs and larvae. Photo courtesy of gardenweb.com

Once I closed up the hives, I brought in the candy boards and removed the remaining sugar.  I weighted the collected sugar on the scale and ran the calculations. I made a 1:1 sugar syrup for feeding.  I strained the syrup with a mesh strainer to remove any lingering debris in the melted sugar-paper, dead bees and the like. I filled a bucket feeder for each hive.  After the sugar syrup cooled completely, I removed the top lids of the hives and placed the feeders on top.  I am hopeful that the Honey B Healthy will help the smaller hive’s numbers.  Next week, I have a date with my bee mentor.  We will open the hives, assess the Varroa Mite situation and look for a growing amount of bee brood (babies) in Willow.

To read about my adventures in beekeeping from the very beginning click here.

Photo Credits unless otherwise stated:  Tilly’s Nest

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