Friday, June 3, 2011

Hive Check: Week 2

The differences between the first and second week inspections for a newly installed package are remarkable. In those short days, the workers ramp up their wax production and are almost wholly focused on making comb to accommodate the brood and stores that a healthy new colony requires.

Bees.  I have them.

In the span of a week, the bees in Hive 1 (I still haven't named it yet!) have drawn out four full frames, two half drawn frames, and two frames of undrawn foundation on either side.

Hive 1

This frame was foundation last week.

Nectar, and pollen, and bees, OH MY!

Look at how lovely and white the new comb is.
Also, lookit all them bee butts.

Frame 3.  The other side is fully drawn out and is being filled with food.  Notice that even with foundation, they draw out the comb from the top center and expand in all directions from there.

There were some minor spacing issues between frames 5 and 6 (the center frames), and as you can see, they built a small amount of burr comb. I popped it off and re-spaced the frames.

Bee space.  Still serious business.

It looks like a schnoz.

Do not want.

Fixing the spacing.

The population isn't growing yet, but there is a HUGE amount of brood. Hive one has 4-6 comb faces packed with eggs (SO MANY EGGS!) The laying pattern looks solid, although it'll be easier to tell once the brood is capped.

The pollen stored in the opposing cells make the eggs much easier to see.

The oldest brood is in a small cluster on the inner face of center frames and is nice and fat and healthy looking.

OMG, those two bees are TOTALLY kissing.
They're also TOTALLY in the way.

Much better!

The stickyboard under the hive is catching no mites, but a whole bunch of wax scales. For the curious, Hive 1 went through about a gallon of sugar syrup this week.

Wax scales and dead bee legs.

Hive 2 is doing just as well, but is on a slightly different path. I let Emily take the lead on this one, so I stood back, watched and took pictures as she went through the hive.

Hive 2

Emily is brave.

The bees were in an extremely pleasant mood, so we ended up working without protective gear. I don't recommend going veil-less under most circumstances, but once you've gotten into a new hive and checked their mood, you can get away with it for the first couple of weeks. Keep the veil handy though. Bees are fickle and you'll want to pop it back on the instant you detect any signs of agitation. Facial stings are uncomfortable.

Naked beekeeping.

Hive 2 (also unnamed so far!) has drawn out slightly less comb and has laid fewer eggs, but the brood that they have is wonderfully solid and a couple of days older. They've drawn out about 3 full frames and 2 half frames, but they already have a fist sized patch of perfectly capped brood.

See the shadow?

It's brood!  Capped brood!

Covered in bees.

We spotted Hive 2's queen for the second time. She seems to be a lot less shy than the queen in Hive 1, who has yet to show her face.

Fat bottomed girls, you make the rockin' world go round.

Hive 2 is consuming significantly less sugar syrup than Hive 1, but they seem to be bringing in quite a bit of fresh pollen.

So many different pollens!  I have no idea what they are from, but they sure are pretty.

Packin' up.

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