Mackay and I snuck into the hives on the Fourth just to see what was going on. I was out of town for a week on vacation, and that would have meant almost three weeks without an inspection during swarm season. No thanks.
Our primary goal was to make sure they had enough room, so I’m happy to report that all five hives are now fully supered! I also expect to do an initial harvest this coming Saturday on Hive 4. It was pretty full.
Hive 1 got its last super and otherwise was looking good. It was probably a touch early to super, but better early than late, right? We did NOT go deep in this hive (or any hive really), so that’s it for the report.
This hive was fully supered some time ago, so our inspection was mostly confirming they had the room. They were still a bit short on bees, which is about right for the timing of replacing the queen. The hive is still quite strong and healthy, so no big concerns.
Also fully supered a little while back, this hive is doing well enough. I don’t think this hive is nearly as strong as the others. Last night, I watched the hives for a few minutes while they were bearding in the heat, and the other four hives had a healthy number of bees across the face of the hives. Hive 3 had a few sitting in the entrance. I think they are fine, but they are not growing as fast as the others.
Easily the strongest hive I have and still going strong. I really like this queen, though I could pass on the propolis. She’s pretty propolis happy. Like I mentioned earlier, I do think we will get a harvest off this hive come Saturday. I may even pull the first honey super just to get it and harvest it. Then again, if I’m going to do one, why not all? I find harvesting so time consuming that I’d rather just get it done….
Something to think about.
This hive also got its last super. I’m not sure what I think about this hive. Part of me thinks it is doing just fine because it has the biggest beard on the front of any hive AND it often has the most activity in front of it. However, it was also among the last to be supered and something just feels… off. Not sure. Something to watch, and maybe this Saturday I will resolve my concerns by digging deep.
On other news, dad lost a queen out of his top bar last week or so. She’s bee replaced now, but that is one of those times where I look forward to someday figuring out exactly what happened. Did she leave? Was she killed? Did she swarm? (doubtful by the way.)
Mackay and I tried our inspection another way this last week as well. Normally, we each start at one end of the yard and work to the middle. We talk through what we are seeing so that we both know the full extent of what is going on. Doing that, though, takes a lot longer than you would expect because we keep going back and forth to consult. This last time, we just stayed together, which actually sped up the process a lot. Like half the time.
Instead of spending all that time consulting each other, we could just talk as we worked. We also could handle two things at once. While I pulled the top cover, Mackay could work on the inner cover. While Mackay lifted and moved the super, I could dive right into the next box. We could also inspect two frames at a time.
About the only thing that could make it better at this point would be to finally see Mackay get stung. At this point, he’s convinced he’s some sort of bee whisperer….