The Grand Opening

1 Jun

Because the weather had been so rainy, there were few opportunities to take a peak into the hive since it made its way to Brooklyn. Normally Lovebug and I have a standing date on Wednesday nights but last week we had a date with the girls. It was the only evening that we both would be around and the weather would be warm enough to do a hive inspection. We didn’t have our hivetool so we gathered a flat head screw driver, a paint scraper, and a small crowbar to do the trick. Since Bees don’t like dark colors, I put on a white t-shirt and tucked my light-colored sweatpants in my shoes. Because I was leading this inspection I got to wear the white jacket with the veil. I opted not to wear gloves on the recommendation of Bee Keepers for Dummies since I would have more dexterity without them.

All suited up

Lovebug put on the other veil and put on the white button up dress shirt he wore in his brother’s wedding. I grabbed the Benadryl, Beekeeping for Dummies and the smoker and we marched outside.

Lovebug suited up

It was Lovebug’s job to smoke the bees. Bees communicate through smell. When you smoke the bees it interferes with their system and they begin to retreat into the hive. The bees begin to gorge themselves with honey so that if there is an emergency they will have enough to live on while they establish a new hive.

After smoking the hive, it was time to take the lid off. There were way more bees than I had anticipated and they were all very busy. The point of a hive inspection is to make sure that the queen is doing her job laying eggs. We were looking for eggs, larva and brood. The first few frames did not have many bees on them and were fairly light. Most of the action was happening in the middle of the hive, where both sides of the frames were covered in bees, capped honey, pollen, and brood. Queen Ma was in charge of writing down what was happening in each frame while Lovebug removed burr comb and propolis.

On the 5th frame, Lovebug spotted the queen! It wasn’t nearly as hard to find her as I thought it would be. Her bum is SO much bigger than her sister bees. Sadly we didn’t take any pictures when the hive was opened. I wanted to finish the inspection as quick as possible since it can take up to 2 days for a hive to return to normal.

The girls on the front porch

For beginners, I think Lovebug and I did a fantastic job. We were extremely calm, no one was stung and we know we have an egg laying queen. Maybe next time we’ll have Lovebug’s sister be the hive photographer.

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2 Responses to “The Grand Opening”

  1. Alexis June 1, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    awesome read. however.. next time maybe ill read it when im not eating lunch.

  2. CoSpirit June 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    wow! this is so fascinating, interesting and educational! i would love to hear more about this beestuff, definitely. and btw, gotta have a name for Mama Queen Bee?

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