Ahhh, spring has arrived! Flowers are starting to open up, trees are budding, and the bees are buzzing! A few weeks ago we went out to our only surviving hive and removed the insulated cover and sugar feeder remains (mountain camp method), but it was a bit too chilly to do a thorough hive inspection. In the meantime, I’d been going out to visit the hive and watch the bees roll in with full pollen baskets. It’s an encouraging site to see them working with such determination, and I have been very curious what’s been going on INSIDE the hive.
We’ve had several rainy and very chilly days this spring, so we had to wait until we had good weather (and enough time in our schedule) to open up the hive. Yesterday was the day! Our hive consists of two hive boxes right now, and the inspection revealed that most of the action was happening in the top box. This is where we found food stores (honey and pollen), brood (open and capped), LOTS of worker bees, and….the QUEEN! I was very excited to see the queen bee, and she was larger than other queens we’ve had. She has been very busy as we saw brood on most of the frames.
We were also keeping an eye out for pests like mites and hive beetles, of which we saw none. I also did not see any signs of disease. Whew! Beekeeping is such a gamble, and you don’t have much control over things that invade the hives. It’s always a huge relief to inspect a hive and find everything to be the way it should be.
Below you’ll see some of the pictures we took of the hive. See if you can find the queen, the open brood, pollen, and baby bees. It’s hard to see the baby bees unless you are a few inches away, but they are small and have a little more yellow “fur” on them than the older bees. Bonus points to anyone who spots drones. I was so focused on everything else that I neglected to look for them. Not that I’m concerned. I did see several capped drone brood cells, which means more will be hatching soon.
There is a baby bee in this picture. She’s near the center and is facing left. She is side-by-side with another worker — it looks like they’re telling secrets…
This picture shows capped brood (cells with brown coverings), open brood (white larva in open cells), and yellow/orange pollen packed into the bottoms of some cells.
Another great picture of open brood…
The queen is in this picture. She is extra long and is in the center/left, facing left.
A shot of the queen from farther away. Do you see her?