Tuesday, August 7, 2012

07-31-2012: Quick Inspection

I haven't had the time, help or ambition to attempt fixing all the cross comb that I discovered during the last inspection of Green Hive, but I thought I would at least give them all a quick peek.  I also needed to remove the feeder from the Top Bar Hive.  Well, nothing is ever as easy as you think it will be!


Upon removing the first few bars from the TBH I was disappointed (but not surprised) to see no real progress in comb building.  There were not many bees present, although the feeder was empty.  I picked up the empty jar and this is what I discovered.

Oh crap.  I instantly thought I discovered why the hive was so weak, Small Hive Beetles!  Well, come to find out after a little research, these are NOT SHB.  These are common "Sap Beetles" or "Picnic Beetles".  They are drawn to rotting fruit or fermenting liquids.  In this case, it was the sugar syrup from the feeder.

Sadly, after dodging one bullet, I was struck with another.  I removed a few more bars to open the hive up and I noticed quite a few yellow jackets and other types of wasps flying around my hive tool and inside the hive.  As I looked deeper into the hive I saw a lot of wasps and few bees.  I worked my way up to the front of the hive to see signs of a recent battle.

You can see many corpses littering the floor of the hive near the entrance.  The hive floor was also very wet looking.  After crushing a few wasps with my hive tool, I noticed that most of critters sticking their heads into the cells were wasps, helping themselves to the undefended honey.  This hive was being robbed.  Crap.  I did the only thing I could think of at the time.  I plugged up most of the entrance holes so that the remaining bees might have a chance to defend the hive.

There were so many wasps flying around, I did not proceed to inspect the last few frames.  So, I don't know if the queen is dead or not.  Not sure what to do at this point.  I don't think much can be done to save this hive since it is so late in the year.  Especially not knowing if the hive had any sort of brood disease that weakened them in the first place.  I had not spotted any eggs either so there is no chance of them raising their own queen.  Not good.

I ordered an American Foulbrood and a European Foulbrood test kit from Dadant and the results of those tests will likely determine if I need to burn the hive (with AFB) or attempt to save the hive in some manner if the tests come back negative.

Green Hive:

This hive is going bonkers.  I wanted to just take a quick look to see if they had made any progress on the medium super I added during the last inspection and a FULL box of bees were looking up at me when I opened the lid!  I did not pull the frames but seeing bees looking up from between EVERY frame gave me a great boost after the TBH.  I wasn't prepared for this and I had to run back into the pole barn to grab another super!  Two honey supers on now and I'm thinking I have a chance of taking some honey from this hive this year!

I finished this hive by placing some bottle caps onto the top cover to prop it up a bit.  This is suppose to allow for additional ventilation in the hive.  I really should have done this back in July when the weather was in the high 90's but I kept forgetting.

I also keep forgetting to remove the entrance reducer.  It is now stuck down really well with propolis and I have four heavy boxes piled on top if it!  Hmmm, maybe I can take it off during the NEXT inspection.  If I don't forget again  =)

White Hive:

Although this hive is behind Green Hive, I am pleased with their progress.  It looks like they have drawn out about 50% of the new box I put on during the last inspection.  I am not expecting to harvest any honey from this hive this year.  I'll end this report with a nice close up of the bees.  Smile girls!!


  1. Sorry to hear about the TBH. Knowing if they've had a disease or not is very handy. I think there are several cooperative extensions around the country that allow you to send them a sample of bees (and sometimes comb too) and they'll help run tests for several causes, sometimes free of charge. I have never contacted any of them myself, but have heard about others who have with good experiences.

    Hopefully you can get them back up and running again!

    Awesome picture at the end by the way. I wish my digital camera could shoot that close. My wife tells me I need to stop being so cheap and get a decent camera if I want good shots like yours!

    Show Me The Honey Blog

    1. Chris, I just happened to find this article today all on cameras and bee photography. It might really help you out if you are serious about getting a "good" camera.


  2. Thankfully the test kits from Dadant are only around $12 each. I asked some people on the beemaster forum's to look at the pictures I took and one person said it looked like Chalkbrood. I'm doing the tests anyway. I guess if they come back negative I could send in a sample. Good thought!

    Thanks for the compliment on the picture. I practically had the camera lens on the bees for that one. My wife and I bought this camera last year and really like it. It is a Panasonic Lumix. If you'd like to know the exact model/megapixels, let me know and I can find out.