Thursday, May 29, 2014

"First Inspection" or "I Need a New Optometrist"

I think this was an accidental photo, but I like it.
Five to six days -- that's how long Sam Comfort recommended that I wait before inspecting my new bees. Today is the 5th day, and the weather is a lovely 64 degrees and sunny. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 70's with thunderstorms. Yeah, we're doing inspections today.

The bees looked great in both hives. Pollen is coming in. Nectar/honey is being stored. Queens are out of their cages and laying eggs. Austeja, definitely has 30-50% fewer bees than Hippolyte, which makes me think that I was right about a large number of its population defecting that first day. On the other hand, while both queens are laying, Austeja's queen appears especially prolific with eggs in just about every available cell. As a result, I hope that hive will soon catch up to its neighbor.

Of course, even with the limited number of bees in each hive, I still didn't see the queens in either one. I'm even wearing contacts with a brand-new prescription, so either I need a new optometrist or I simply stink. I know you're too polite to tell me I stink, so I'm going to blame the optometrist. ;-) Maybe I should try looking again in about 2 more weeks when their populations are at an all-time low.

Speaking of hive populations, that's one thing that I forgot to mention when I wrote about my packages. I was so pleased with the number of bees in each one. A lot of people who buy a 3-lb package get a box of bees which was shaken up to 3 days before pickup and is stressed from traveling across the country. As a result, they have up to an inch of dead bees in the bottom of their box. By contrast, I was so pleased with the packages that I got. Sam doesn't use syrup cans or ship bees. Instead, packages are shaken and installed the day of pickup, so a 3-lb package is 3 pounds of live bees -- not a lot of live bees plus an inch of dead ones.


Sorry for that informational detour; back to the inspection. Each hive has comb on 5-6 bars, and there is festooning happening on an additional 3-4 bars in each hive. The comb is just lovely -- straight and white. Hippolyte did have a little bit of cross-comb, but that was easily remedied. I tried barely cutting into it and mooshing it into position on the bar. It didn't really want to stick, though, so I removed it.

It's hard to see the cross-comb because of the bees.
However, you can see where it is.
Just look at the comb on the left and follow the line of comb down until it starts upward again.
You''ll see a "furrow" of bees that denotes the right edge of the cross-comb.
The bees themselves are just wonderful to work with. Very gentle, very calm. Or maybe it's just me. Maybe in my second year, I'm the one that's more calm. In any case, I was able to work in just a veil, t-shirt and jeans. The veil has a relaxing effect on me because I don't think about getting stung in the eye, but the bees really were mellow. I didn't need gloves, smoke, or even a spray bottle of water/syrup.

I'm so delighted to be back in "bee-siness."

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