Over the weekend, we had a chance to open up our beehive again and we were very happy to see that things are progressing nicely! We observed a good pattern of healthy, capped brood and lots of multi-colored pollen. We weren't able to locate the queen, but the presence of capped brood is a good sign that she is laying and doing her job well. The bees had drawn out comb on seven of the ten frames, so it was already time to put on a second deep hive body to give them more room to expand.
After taking off the outer cover and hive top feeder, we saw there was quite a bit of burr comb on top of the frames, so David scraped the excess comb off using the hive tool so that he could get to the frames more easily. We are saving all of the bits of comb that we scrape off along the way so that we can melt it down to render the wax for all sorts of things like candles and lip balm!
The first time we opened up the hive the bees seemed more than a little agitated at our interruption. I was really scared to be honest, so I stayed back while David did all the work. This visit went much more smoothly, and I actually got up close and checked out the frames. I was the designated smoker while David pulled out each frame for us to examine. The bees were definitely more calm this time around, probably because they have had time to get used to their new environment and also because we used more smoke. All in all, we were pleased and felt really good after this inspection!
After everything was closed up, I had a chance to reflect on the visit to the hive and make an entry in our bee book.
We thought it would be a good idea to keep a bee journal and write down our observations from each visit to the hive. As beginning beekeepers, I think this will really help us to understand our hive more and it will serve us for years to come. It will be a great resource to look back on and help us plan for future years of beekeeping.
After this successful inspection, I can't wait to get into the hive again and take a closer look. Maybe I'll even do some of the heavy lifting next time around and let David be the smoker!
PS - My friend Cindy over at Old Time Farmhouse has featured our homestead today on this month's Farm Fresh Feature! I am was so excited to have this opportunity and I think the post turned out really well. I'd appreciate it if you would hop over to Cindy's blog and check it out. You can view the post by clicking here. Thanks so much for your support!
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