Monday, May 17, 2010

First Inspections on W1, W2 and W3

I decide to rename my hives as Lx for Langs, and Wx for Warres. W1, W2 and W3 are the three hives on the property. L1 is in Gold Bar, L2 in Sultan. The new swarm is L3 for now, but will be re-hived into a Warre as W4 as soon as I have it built.
Yesterday's inspection was the first inspection on the Warres, 1 month after hiving. This was also Kristen first taste of beekeeping, and she did well, as we will see in the next pictures.

W1 was the most troublesome during hiving, and a lot of bees were lost in the process. Consequently, it is the smallest at this time. I was pleased to see the straight combs, with not a single cross comb. Here is a view after removing the queen cage that was encased in wax:

Here is a view of the whole colony, using 5 out of the 8 top bars:

Now on W2. Kristen saw how I was manipulating combs on W1, now its her turn on W2, and she is excited about it:

W2 is obviously doing a lot better than W1:

There was a lot of buildup of black mold on the inside walls. A lot of honey already stored. This colony is doing good, having already 8 combs well advanced. Here Kristen carefully removes her first comb:

And here is the comb fully removed:

Holding her first honey-comb, but not loosing sight of her son playing nearby!
View of the second comb from the South side:

And the first on the North side (or 8th comb):

Her Majesty (on the lower right corner):

This is the first time I was able to spot the queen, it was an exciting moment!

Next on to W3, which was doing even better than W2. Kristen manipulated most of the combs, except the one with the queen cage and the one next to it. These two combs were loosely attached and fell by about 1 to 2 inches while we were trying to separate them. Although the bees got excited, they remained amazingly calm. Here is Kristen manipulating a good sized comb:

Overall the hives are doing excellent, with combs well aligned to the top bars. The bees were VERY calm, and I felt I could almost work bare hands, although I am not ready yet to feel the bees crawling directly on my skin. Spotting W2 queen was great. Kristen did very well and wants to take the beekeeping class this Falls. We will probably have more Warres next year.
My next priority is to build a Warre for the swarm. The design modifications I made appear to work, particularly the thin top bars. Stay tuned!

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