Thursday, September 5, 2013

Performance Anxiety: 09-02-2013

White Hive has been closed up and left alone since the last inspection on 8/6, almost a full month ago.  The last few times I walked by the hive I have seen an ever increasing number of bees flying in and out so my hope is that the new queen is performing well!  Knowing that there were larva and eggs during the last inspection, there should have been plenty of bees that have been born since.  Going back to our trusty "bee math", an egg laid today will hatch into a worker bee in 21 days.  It has now been ~25 days and since a queen can lay around 2000 eggs in a day, that is a lot of new bees!  Well, what is suppose to be and what is are two different things.  The only way to see for sure it to open it up.

I had some help with the inspection this time when my friend Casey came over to give me a hand.  It is always beneficial to have an extra set of hands to hold frames, take pictures, use the smoker, etc.  Plus, I love teaching others about bees.  Especially when they are as excited as I am about them!

If you recall from the last inspection, I had added a second brood chamber onto White Hive.  Now it consists of two brood chambers and one honey super.  Since the second brood chamber was totally empty, I eagerly checked to see if the bees had begun to use it.  When I opened it up, the bees were covering 5 frames in the center of the box.  That is a pretty good sign right away.  I only moved in about 3 frames and spotted the queen on a frame of mostly capped brood!

Awesome!!  It is great to be able to spot the queen but even better when you get to show someone else!  I also noticed quite a few grey colored, slightly shriveled looking, fuzzy bees.  I believe those are the bees that have recently hatched.  They take a few days for their exoskeleton to harden and then they begin their first duties.  It usually takes around 22 days before a bee even leaves the hive for the first time!

Want to learn more?  Check out these links:
Honey Bee Jobs
Worker Bee Activities

If you ever see a honey bee buzzing around one of your flowers, you know they are an "old" bee!  Sometimes you can even see that the tips of their wings look shredded.  A honey bee pretty much works herself to death during her 6 week summer life span.

Back to the inspection: After finding the queen I did find a few more frames there were almost completely SOLID brood!  This is a great sign as she is doing her job and laying eggs and making more bees.  It is really important that they are producing strong numbers this late in the summer since a lot of these bees will be the ones that begin the winter cluster.  More bees = more warmth during the winter!

This early in the inspection I have seen pretty much everything I needed to.  The rest of the time I used as a teaching opportunity.  There is so much to show and often times when you teach, you end up learning too.

As I closed up the hive and talked to Casey about what he had seen, it was pretty clear that he was gung-ho about becoming a beekeeper himself!  Catch the buzz!  =)

To complete this post, let me leave you with some sad evidence of the impending demise of summer:

Nothing says "fall" like Goldenrod in bloom.  This bumble bee was taking a nap on these flowers, enjoying the sun and warmth.......while it lasts.

Until next time, thank you for reading!


  1. We've got some super busy bees here. I haven't had time to do a full inside inspection, but they're busy on the outside and when we've popped the top for a peek, we've seen slow progress inside. Not bad for 3 tiny hives at the beginning of the season. I don't know if we'll steal any honey this year, but fall is usually long here and we have acres of goldenrod, so I'll decide next month. Maybe get a few frames.

    1. I have a number of really built out honey combs that the bees decided to build all the way over into the empty frame next to it. I plan on taking those and I'm also thinking about buying a candy board to put on the hive this winter.