Hive Inspection–July 16, 2011

First a comment to the Japan vs USA Women’s World Cup Final…. If you didn’t like that, you don’t like sports. I sadly did not get to watch the game (church), but you can be sure I’ll do my darnedest to catch a replay. Those ladies can play!

Now to the hive inspection:

  • Early–9:45 AM
  • Sunny
  • Warm, but not hot (probably 80 degrees or so by that time)
  • Smoker–Weeds to start with cardboard as the main fuel
  • Sprayer–Standard sugar water with essential oils

I had another friend with me at the hives yesterday, which is my new favorite way to show the hives. There’s always a sense of giddiness for me and the person. I especially like taking the first hive, showing them everything, and then turning Hive 2 over to them. I still do a lot of the work, but there’s nothing quite like that first time of reaching a hand into a hive or pulling your first frame.

Yesterday I also got to use the frame grabber tool. It was okay, but I only used it on one frame. I think they are valuable for lifting a particularly sticky frame, but I wouldn’t use it in normal work because too many bees would be crushed. I tried very hard this time around to not kill any bees, which is why I think I got stung last time, and I can safely say we all made it out okay…

… although there was a very nerve-wracking moment where I had my hands full of a frame, and I could feel a bee wondering up the inside of my pant leg. I managed to maintain my cool until I could put the frame back, and then I very carefully lifted my pant leg until the bee fell out the bottom. Needless to say, I did have a wonderfully ironic reminder of the question I kept asking myself after I got stung last inspection: Is there a worse place to be stung then on your wrist? The answer is a very strong YES! And I almost discovered it. 🙂

Now for some pictures….

There’s Myron in my beekeeping jacket. Notice the nasty lips. Like a mentioned in my last post, he kissed the table pretty good. Those are the stitches. If you really want to see more, take a jog over to Courtney’s blog. I gained a nice little testimony of the priesthood with that accident. Despite every right to cry and fuss over the injury, Myron has had scarcely a tear and almost no trouble eating, all promises made to him during the blessing. I’m grateful for that.

In case you are wondering, that isn’t a lab coat on my friend. No, that’s my Sunday shirt. Courtney couldn’t find any in my size except for Tall, so she got Tall. It works. Looking good, Mackay!

Notice Mackay’s very scientific stance. 🙂

There’s that frame grabber tool. I think it was this frame (can’t quite tell), but one of these early frames was entirely honey. The whole thing. Front and back. We almost had an immediate harvest on the spot. It looked incredible. Hive 1 has always been more productive than 2, and this was a perfect example. I will not be surprised if we get a full harvest off Hive 1.

I spoke to soon. There’s the frame full of honey. Check that out.

Still Hive 1, but look at the strong honey stores. Mackay is holding this frame as well, I believe.

One of my favorite things to do is get the bees on to my hand and watch them feed. Here’s one that I got and then gave to Mackay.

And that’s it for pictures. Courtney had to go inside with Myron, so no pictures of Hive 2.

We went through only the first half of the top brood box in Hive 1. By then, I had found eggs, larvae, and good brood patterns (still spotty, but a very strong hive). There also weren’t as many drones as last time, so I’m thinking I was right in assuming they were just making more to handle the mating season.

In both Hive 1 and 2, I made an effort to clear out some bridge comb. I had thought to leave it in there at first for the bees’ benefit, but it was making it very hard to put frames back in without crushing bees in the wax. I pulled quite a bit of comb, which I’m always sorry to see go. One of these days, I’m going to start collecting the comb for my own uses here at home (soaps, furniture polish, candles, etc.).

In Hive 2, we decided to go through the entire hive to try and find the queen, a special request of Mackay’s. I’m always glad to go through Hive 2. They are generally calmer and I think they are prettier than Hive 1. We found very good brood patterns in the top box, good honey stores, and lots of eggs. I think this hive is finally catching up to Hive 1. I doubt we get a full harvest this year from Hive 2, but I was getting worried it’d be strong enough to even make it through the year! No worries about that now.

In the bottom brood box, we found a ton of bridge comb, which I patiently removed while searching for the queen. We never did find her, but we did find plenty of eggs and larvae. Hive 2, in the end, was strong enough to handle its first honey super, which we added.

Overall a good experience. I like showing the bees to other people, and I’ve got a short but growing list of volunteers. If you want on that list, all you have to do is ask. I go out typically every two weeks, so the next visit is the 30th. Let me know if you want in.

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3 Responses to Hive Inspection–July 16, 2011

  1. Deborah Lewis says:

    This is fun, following you on your inspections…and I’m learning a thing here and there. I hope this goes exceptionally well for you guys.

  2. Lora says:

    Very cool. How much honey will each hive produce annually?

  3. daveloveless says:

    Depends. If we have a super-productive hive, we might get 150 lbs of honey (about 12.5 gallons). I’ve heard of some hives in other locations hitting 250+ lbs. I think the expectation for our area is around 100 lbs per hive, which is just over 8 gallons of honey.

    We use about 7 gallons of honey a year right now. When we get all five hives going, I’m hoping to have around 30 gallons of honey to sell and give away annually.

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