Bee inspection March 2012

I don’t know if I could rightly call this a real bee “inspection” because it was getting dark and I was in a hurry (hey, when you’re juggling two little people you don’t often get to pick your own time windows). But I was pleased enough to get both hives cracked open and peek inside a bit.

Lady Grey looked fairly anemic, with almost all the activity exclusively in the bottom brood box. She had a few frames of capped honey (probably mostly the sugar syrup I’ve been feeding them) in the upper brood box; I may open her again to slide those honey frames to the sides and exchange them for empty frames to encourage more brood instead. In any case her queen exhibits a good lay pattern and it may just be that they’re not amped up to full springtime bee production mode yet. I slapped a queen excluder and honey super on anyway.

Darjeeling’s top box was swarming with bees and looked like a normal hive should, but that was as far as I got because by that time it was nearly full dark. (It’s just dumb to go messing around with bees in the dark because they think you’re a bear and they will straight out try to kill you). So I need to open Darjeeling again soon just to see if she needs her brood boxes switched (bees like to build up rather than down, so while the bottom box may be empty, they may still feel too crowded and elect to swarm, which will divide their forces and mean no honey for us again this year. So I’m eager to keep that from happening!)

I guess typing this I’ve just realized that I didn’t accomplish much beyond satisfying myself that they are healthy enough for now and unlikely to swarm in the short term.

But hooray – both colonies survived the winter and look well-situated to start collecting honey as soon as the nectar starts flowing. Cross your fingers that we’ll get a honey harvest this year!

5 Responses to “Bee inspection March 2012”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Can’t wait!

  2. erin Says:

    Not sure why I sometimes come anonymous??? Anywho still can’t t wait!

  3. Heidi Says:

    I want to try your honey, Honey! hope you get some this year.

    Erin, Diana told me that since she switched programs or computers or something, you have to start from scratch again: putting in your name and your e-mail in the correct boxes. Once there, you won’t be “anonymous”. I had the same problem and had to ask her.

  4. Sam Smith Says:

    Bees will build in whatever direction is open, they tend to like honey above them, they Will build down, the warre system uses “under supering” to provide space for them to expand. In a natural feral colony they build from the top to the bottom (depending on the size of cavity). Sorry if I sound like a smartass :)

  5. Diana Guillermo Says:

    I LOVE your comments because I don’t have contact with many beekeepers and I love getting new information! You’re right, I hadn’t even remembered the Warre hives. And I did wonder about how wild bees did it. :) It is all such a big mystery (and at the same time so simple and natural) – feels like there are so many different methods and opinions, aren’t there?

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