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!

View the pictures →

This gallery contains 0 photos


Leave a comment

Ant Attack!

My bees in Verbena colony are still alive, and they didn’t swarm while I was on vacation, YAY! I added another box before leaving, to make sure they had plenty of room. I also added an extra barrier method to make sure ants didn’t get into the hive. I put Tanglefoot on each leg of the hive stand, and I put it on the trunk of my fruit trees too.

Tanglefoot is a very sticky, organic product that is applied around tree trunks to help avoid insect infestation. Any insect that attempts to climb up the trunk gets caught in it. It must be reapplied periodically, so first I wrapped the legs and trunks of my trees with plastic wrap, then applied the Tanglefoot on top of the plastic wrap. This method will allow me to easily remove, and reapply the Tanglefoot.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Busy Bees!

We are leaving for two weeks and I’ve been debating if I should add another hive box to Verbena. I asked the guild members, and most recommended checking the box. If it was 60-70% full several members recommended adding a box.

I decided it would be a good idea to check on them. The last thing I want is a swarm while I’m gone!  Yesterday was my first time I working with them alone. I took several deep breaths before approaching the hive, envisioned things going smoothly, and said a quick prayer of protection for me and the bees. Thankfully, everything went smooth, and I didn’t get stung! The most difficult part was removing the top feeder, that thing is HEAVY!

I’m trying to use very little smoke when working with them because they can become desensitized and its becomes less effective. I always have it ready to go, just in case. I have a soft bristle brush that I use to gently move them.

After I removed the top, feeder, and inner cover I was able to peek at the frames. They were at least 70% full, those bees have been busy! It’s amazing in three weeks, how much comb they’ve built. I didn’t remove any frames, or look for the queen because I didn’t want to disturb them more than necessary.

I added a new eight frames deep box to the top of the first one, and then replaced the parts I had removed.. Overall, I accomplished my goal, however, I did kill a few bees 😦 The top feeder was so heavy that I wasn’t able  to move as slow as I wanted before I had to set it down, and few bees were underneath. Once that feeder is empty, I’m going to use a different one that’s easier for me to handle.

I’m excited to check them out when I return. I’ll have more time, and my “assistant/photographer” will be able to help me look for Lorde. We’ll hopefully be able to see how many eggs she’s laid. There may even be new baby bees being born!