Thursday, May 7, 2009

Day 15: First Inspection

May 1rst, 2009.
Today, on Day 15, I did my first inspection since hiving the colony. The goal was to verify comb building, and to add two more empty boxes at the bottom of the hive.
Opening the hive was a little daunting, but the bees were amazingly gentle, and I quickly calm down. I first removed the top follower boards and replaced them with empty frames. Removing the follower boards exposed fresh new combs. The work of the bees is beautiful:

I am very pleased with the progress of this hive. The bees are taking a lot of sugar syrup, and I hope the many blooming trees will provide them with a more adequate food source very soon.
I am also amazed of the quietness of the bees. This is often reported by Warre beekeepers.

I will make several changes to my hive:
Remove the bee space on each side of the frames. This is wasted space. Since I use foundationless frames, if the bees want a bee space on each side of the combs, they will build their combs that way. Otherwise, they will brace their combs to the side bar of the frame. I will remove the bee space by nailing a sheet of plywood to the inside wall. This will also improve insulation.
Addition of a top cover. A piece a cloth covering the top bars of the top box will allow the bees to better control air circulation.

I was not courageous enough to remove the filled frames and check if the queen is laying. I will inspect the hive again in 2 weeks, to add the top cloth cover. I may check egg laying then. If everything looks well, I will then leave the bees alone for the whole summer, monitoring a swarm condition from the sound of the hive only.

I did not get stung. So far so good, this is awesome.

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