Today was hive inspection day! I've been anxiously, nervously and excitedly awaiting this day for almost two weeks!
ince I installed on that cold Sunday, I was a little afraid of inspecting last Sunday. So I originally expected I would do it throughout the week. However, as I thought about my schedule, I realized the earliest I could inspect would be sometime between 6:30 and 7:30 at night, as my foragers wind down and begin to return to the hive. That didn't stop me from visiting throughout the week and watch as they returned - with pollen!
So I opted to wait until today when the foragers would be out of the hive and I'd have fewer bees to intimidate me.
I approached the hive and watched as they took turns entering and exiting, realizing it was much busier during the day than in the evening. As I lit my smoker, I made a mental note to flip my entrance reducer after inspecting the hive.
In the Hive
After a little smoke to calm the bees, I was in the hive.
I first noted that the bees had built comb connecting frames in two places because the spacing was a little wider in these areas (one of these was where the queen cage started).
I nervously took out one of the further frames that did not have any comb on it and set it next to the hive to give me some space to work.
The next frame had some connecting comb. I scooted it over and gently pulled to see how connected the frames were. The comb attaching the two frames gave way without any effort, and I was able to see that was the only point of connecting comb.
I gently lifted and inspected the frame. Some dark syrup in a few of the cells, no capping.
The next frame's connecting comb gave way easily as well. I saw some capped cells and admired the worker bees dutifully performing their tasks, oblivious to the intrusion. It was then I realized that the anxiety of handling the bees and the frames had disappeared - I was enthralled by the complexity of life inside the hive.
But I still hadn't seen the queen. I removed the empty queen cage and wondered whether I'd missed her.
The next frame was the last with drawn comb. Pulling it up into the sunlight, I immediately spotted the queen! I was surprised how quickly she moved through the frame.
i tried to see if there were eggs in the cells, but had a difficult time deciphering. However, the capped brood on the frame before put me at ease.
After gently returning the queen frame, I tried to remedy my spacing problem, pushing the frames with the connected comb just a little more tightly together.
I replaced the inner cover, lid, and rock.
Hive inspection - complete!