Blogging About My Adventures as a New Backyard Beekeeper

First Inspection: Success! May 10, 2011

Filed under: bee smoker,beehive,Beekeeping,fear of bees,Honey,Queen Bee — beekeepingbug @ 8:50 pm

So Sunday was another big day in our young beekeeping careers! My mother and I did our first full inspection of the hive. We had to wait almost 2 weeks since we installed the bees to do this, which was killer! After installing the bees, you must do absolutely everything in your power not to disturb the bees for the first week, or they may kill the queen. The worker bees will likely blame any disturbance on the queen that they are only just getting acquainted to and kill her. Not the brightest thing to do, but it happens.

So, we already knew before the inspection that the queens had been released, thanks to our quick peak in the hive the previous Sunday. Our mission for the first inspection was to establish whether or not the queen was alive and laying eggs by looking for new eggs and capped brood (larvae). Now, in our beekeeping class, our teacher had urged us not to look too hard for the queen because she is hard to spot and it can be a waste of time. As long as you see eggs, she’s been around recently. Thankfully for my mother and I, we were lucky enough to see the queen in both hives! We were so lucky. In addition to seeing the queens, both hives are doing very well. For equipment, we are using 8-frame medium supers, and 7 to 8 frames had drawn out comb in each hive. Drawing out comb on foundation is essential because the hexagonal comb is where bees store food (honey), nectar, pollen, and grow young bees. Because all the comb was drawn out, we got to add a second super, doubling the size of the hive.

Since the beginning, my hive has clearly been bigger (in terms of bee population) than my mother’s. With more bees constantly in and out, my hive seemed far more productive. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find that although my hive had more bees, my mother’s hive had drawn out just as much comb and was happily buzzing along. Clearly, the bees in my hive are a little lazy like me 🙂

It was amazing to look at the inside of a working hive. While I am somewhat afraid of bees and get very uncomfortable when they buzz near my head, I completely forgot to be afraid while I was looking at the frames in my hive. It wasn’t until I was on smoker-duty, while my mother looked at her hive, that I remembered bees make me uncomfortable. I couldn’t believe how at ease I was when I was inspecting my hive.

So, all in all, it was a very successful trip into the hives. We managed to light the smoker (essential for calming the bees), see the queens, add on a super to each hive, and see the inner workings of our hives. I also took a big step in getting over my fear of bees.

Next time I do an inspection, I promise to take pictures of the inside of our hives.