My First Hive Check

We got our bees just over a week ago. I gave them a little time to settle in before disturbing them with a hive check, but yesterday it was due.

I got my smoker going and suited up.

The weather was perfect – sunny and warm enough for the bees to be comfortable and for me not to die of the heat in my suit.

I started at our hive. My neighbor Rita also got bees but doesn’t have the tools or knowledge to tend them so I would check on hers too afterwards.

After a little smoke, I popped open the lid to find lots of busy workers in the top box. I pulled the frames out one by one, looking to see what was in the comb.

I love the different colors of pollen; looks like stained glass!

The top box had only honey and a bit of pollen so I decided to add a Queen excluder when I reassembled the hive. This will ensure she only lays eggs in the bottom box and the top remains just honey and pollen.

Next I got into the lower brood box. I was looking, most importantly, for the queen. I needed to ensure she made the trip safely.

Queen spotting can be challenging when the frames are covered in bees! I didn’t get a good picture of her. Hard to take pictures with goat skin gloves on.

We got our hives from a friend of Rita, who was splitting several of his hives. He delivered two brood boxes with a queen, lots of workers, some drones, at least a half box of frames with honey and pollen and some brood. But they had come here in the back of a truck and you never know what might happen to the queen in her travels. I needed to make sure she didn’t get squished and was still laying eggs in a good pattern.

As I went through the frames, I found more honey, some capped brood (larvae near adulthood), younger larvae, lots of pollen, lots of workers and finally… the queen! She looked good and healthy, moving along one of the frames of larvae, assumably laying more eggs. It was challenging to see the eggs with so many bees on the frames though.

Happy that the hive was in good shape, I stacked the boxes back up and went over to check on Rita’s hive.

I made a little sticker I can add to my farm notebook whenever I check the bees.

Until next week, everyone seems well…

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