Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hive Inspection: 08-21-2012


Let us all bow our heads in silent prayer as we fondly remember the Top Bar Hive.  It was a good hive, filled with the expectant hope of new life and a bountiful harvest.  Alas, it twas not to be.  Let us not focus on how it died, but on how it lived.  <end sermon>

Well, as you can surmise, the TBH is kaput.  Deceased.  Passed on.  Gone to join the choir invisible.  Pushin up the Daisies.  It is an EX-TBH.  Sorry, bad mimicry of Monty Python's dead parrot sketch.  Anyway, I'm not 100% certain on the prelude to its demise, but something happened to weaken the hive and that allowed a bunch of wasps of various sorts to raid the hive, killing most of the defenders and the queen.

So, lets look on the bright siiiiide of life <whistle>:
  • The bees were "free", since they were won at the Spring MBA conference.
  • They added to the learning experience of the beekeepers
  • I was able to purchase and apply a disease test kit for both American Foulbrood and European Foulbrood which both came up negative  <whew!>
  • Since the bees will no longer be needing their honey, it was liberated

Opening the Foulbrood test kit

Removing a dead bee larvae

Test results.  If a line shows under the "T" it is postitive

Green Hive:

Thankfully, this hive is still going bonkers.  The bees have only barely started to draw out the wax on the second honey super I added, so at this point in the year I won't be expecting to harvest anything from this super.  Anything the bees store here before Winter, they will keep.

The first honey super I placed on this hive has almost every frame 80-90% of glorious honey capped!!  I was ecstatic to see this!  I have heard that you don't often get a harvest during your first year but it appears I will at least get a little bit from this hive!  Not really sure how much honey to expect from one super but I ordered two cases (12 each) of 9oz glass Hex Jars.  I guess if I fill them all I can always use Mason jars or some other container.

Lots of capped honey
I have also been surprised at the vast amounts of propolis the bees on this hive seem to make.  I guess I'm not familiar with the different varieties of honey bees, but the ones I have seem to make a lot!

Lots of sticky propolis

White Hive:

I am still surprised at how hot it can get in a bee suit even when the temperature is "only" in the 70s.  Since at this point in my inspection I had sweated off most of my body weight, I made this one quick.  My friend Keith was also helping me and I'm sure he appreciated the expedited inspection.  I pulled a few frames finding the first still empty of comb, but the next two were increasingly built up.  Frame 9 had about 50% comb and Frame 8 had about 80% and Frame 7 had about 95%.......and the Queen!  I've gotten fairly decent at spotting her finally!  Can you see her in the photo?

White Queen
After a short debate we decided we might as well add a honey super.  I don't really expect them to do much with it at this point in the year so any honey they store will be for the bees to eat over the Winter.

Wow, I can't believe we are hitting September at the end of this week.  Fall is quickly approaching, as is the close of my first year of beekeeping.  What a ride!

As always, thanks for reading...


  1. Love the Monty Python references. My kids hate it when I sing the Bright Side of Life song. I'm glad someone else appreciates it.

    Sorry to hear about the TBH. That sucks. I'm glad it wasn't a foulbrood disease.

    It looks like we're going to get a bit of honey, too and I can't BELIEVE how exciting that is. We made the same decision about supers. They can't fill it if they don't have it and I don't want them feeling crowded. Now that fall is coming I'm watching the supers and planning some honey recipes. It would be awesome if I could get a few quarts.

    It rained here finally and we've got loads of goldenrod. More rain this weekend from Isaac and we might have a big fall nectar flow. Fingers crossed.

    1. Hahah, I'm glad you enjoyed the references!

      Yeah, it stinks but as you said, at least it wasn't Foulbrood. I was going to send in a sample to the Beltsville lab but I had already cut up the brood comb to put in my solar wax melter.

      We have lots of Goldenrod here too at the moment. I'm very thankful that my neighbors have a wild area in their backyard full of it! Whenever I walk by it I always see the girls working those flowers.

  2. Bummer to hear about the TBH, but happy to hear the other one is almost a "fully operational Bee-attle station"! Bee-attle! Ha! You should put a miniature Space Needle on top!

    And now for something completely different...

    The Queen looks sexy! Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more!

    1. Scotty! Yeah, bummer about the TBH but there is always next year! Hehehe, in the next hive I build I will have to put a mini space needle and name the hive Beeattle just for you! You will be famous when it is featured in the blog =)

      Hahahah, yeah, the queen likes "photographs", know what I mean? Say no more!