Honeychick Homestead

Homestead, Health, and Happiness

Hive Check with Pictures of Lorde!

11 Comments

Last Sunday I finally got the chance check my hive! This was my first time opening it since I removed the top feeder, and I really didn’t check much that time. I’ve been reading more about beekeeping, and one book recommended not disturbing the hive for more than ten minutes. Umm, that’s not much time for this newbee!

My goal for this hive check was to look for Lorde, make sure there weren’t any ants in the hive, check the brood, look for eggs, see how much comb they’d built, and feed them. Over all, things went well. My skills working with the hive are improving…I only killed two bees this time! Injuring, and killing bees is part of being a new beekeeper, at least that what the book said! I have to move much slower than I realized when removing, and replacing the hive boxes. Those boxes are already heavy, and they aren’t even full of honey!

There was lots going on in the hive, and thankfully there were no ants, or mites! I was surprised that very few bees had moved up to the top box, it was almost empty. I saw some eggs, and some capped brood. Capped brood have larvae in them, and soon new bees will hatch. There was also a little bit of honey, and possibly the start of a queen cell. I’m not really sure if that’s what it was. Next time I check the hive I’ll see if it’s still there.

Here’s pictures of the process, enjoy!

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Smoking the entrance, so they know I’m there. A bit more smoke than I wanted came out!

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A little more smoke on the top, just to let them know I’m coming in.

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Here’s some bees at the entrance

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I’m removing the top box. There are usually bees on the bottom, so I have be very careful when I set it down.

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Here’s the bottom box

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I’m using my hive tool to move the frames for easier access. There is extra comb they’ve built in the middle of the hive.

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Slowly removing one of the middle frames. The queen is typically on the middle frames, so it’s important to be careful.

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A almost full frame! The upper right corner has honey! If you enlarge the picture, there are a few larvae. They are next to the right edge of the frame, near the honey, about midway down. They look like little white worms.

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Lorde, the queen is in the lower left corner. She’s the big bee, with the green dot on head. You can also see how short her wings are compared to the other bees. This frame also has honey in left corner, and you can see some capped brood to the right of the honey.

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Here’s another picture of Lorde. That dark spot is a bee that flew onto the camera lens!

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Another shot of Lorde, my camera man is good!

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Another pretty full frame. Yep, that’s my Epi pen in my pocket!

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A frame near the edge, much less activity. I’m sure they’ll fill it up soon. A tiny bit of uncapped honey in the left corner.

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I removed the excess comb, and this bee didn’t want to leave. It’s important to remove excess comb, so it doesn’t seal the two frames together.

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Replacing the top box. This is how I smashed two bees 😦 Even though I moved slow, they were underneath the front edge when I put it down.

I was very excited I got to see the queen, and all the other activity going on inside. My excitement was replaced with a bit of disappointment when I realized I’d smashed two bees. When a bee is killed, it can sometimes release an alarm pheromone. I definitely think this happened after I smashed them because the activity, and sound level of the bees increased. There were also a few bees checking on the smashed bees. I felt so bad! Based on the mood of the hive, I decided it wasn’t the best time to feed them, and I’d been out there at least fifteen minutes, so it was time to go! The next day I was able to install the entry way feeder without any issues.

My nuc should arrive anyway now, and then I’ll have two hives! So far beekeeping has been easier that I expected, and I encourage anyone interested in the beekeeping to try it!


 

Author: Jen @ Honeychick Homestead

Honeychick Homestead is about more than urban homesteading. Here you'll find a mix of diverse topics, about health, real food, Lyme Disease, and my newest adventure, urban homesteading!

11 thoughts on “Hive Check with Pictures of Lorde!

  1. Gabrielle Choo Says :
    This post was VERY interesting ….. Bees R so important to the balance of nature ❤

  2. Hey Jen! I’m so glad you’re doing this for others to follow. My husband and I are very interested in beekeeping but I am wondering if you would be willing to share some ballpark figures for initial cost?

  3. I’m loving this Jen! Super informative and very interesting!!

  4. And what happens if the queen bee dies? and Do you have to feed the bees yourself?

    • Hi Sudi,

      They will make a new queen if the existing queen dies. As she ages, the bees can sense this and they will make a new queen. Here’s info from Earthsky, that explains it in more detail. http://earthsky.org/earth/can-a-bee-colony-replace-its-queen

      Yes, I feed the bees myself 🙂 they eat roughly a quart of sugar syrup a day. It’s fairly easy, there are several feeder options. So far, my preferred method is a large mason jar placed on top of the inner cover opening. I put a hive box around it, add the top cover, and it’s protected. That keeps their food from getting hot and spoiling. I also think this method is the least disruptive to the hive.

      Would you consider keeping bees?

      • Very interesting. Do the bees only feed on what you give them, or do they venture out? I guess if they don’t, nature is missing out on the natural pollinators. Definitely want to come visit you and Trevor and check out your setup,and not just the bees, but other things part of your homestead =).

      • They feed with I give them, and forage. They are very busy foraging during the day. Since it’s been a dry year, the nectar flow was short, and our area usually has a short nectar flow compared to the inland Bay Area. If I don’t feed them while it’s warm, they won’t make enough honey to survive the winter, and the hive will die. This hive was started from a package of bees, that had virtually no immune system. They need to be feed a lot to help build up the health of the hive, and feeding helps them make comb so the queen can lay eggs. We’d love to have you visit!

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