Even though I’m on day 10 of this nasty cold, I really didn’t want to wait another week to inspect the hive. Austin is bursting into bloom right now, and I didn’t want to be caught unprepared if the girls were preparing to swarm. So I donned my bee suit for the first spring inspection of my second year as a beekeeper.
The girls are pretty thirsty after hanging out in the hive for several months. We keep a bird bath partially filled with water that gives the bees a nice landing area to walk up to the water.
I took off the outer cover to see the girls looking up at me from the notch in the inner cover.
The top most super of the hive was all honey which I expected based on my last quick look a few weeks ago.
What I didn’t expect was the next super down to be pretty much all brood. Here is a frame that is partially filled with brood, but the other 7 frames had an even tighter brood pattern and filled the frames.
It was at this point that the girls started getting a bit disturbed so the photography unit had to retreat to safety. I went on to inspect each frame all the way down to the bottom of the hive. It was here I discovered Large Marge on the 8th frame of the 1st super. So it good to know that she is still alive and laying well. I saw excellent brood patterns as well as eggs which means she is still going strong. I also didn’t see any queen cells which means, at least at this point, the girls aren’t planning on swarming.
I did notice that the bottom super was pretty much drawn comb without anything in it. Bees move up the hive during the winter so I was expecting this. I decided to swap the position of some of the supers to encourage them to use all the available space, and it is also supposed to discourage swarming. I also added a 6th super to give them more room to grow.
By the time I started putting the hive back together, the girls were really worked up which is not surprising since I had basically disturbed every section of the hive. At the point I was adding the 3rd super back onto the hive, my worst case scenario came true. Somehow, a bee had made its way under my veil and was buzzing around my face. I started moving away from the hive to a place where I could try and remove the bee, but she decided to go ahead and sting me behind my right ear. I got into the house to have the stinger removed and to make sure I didn’t have any allergic reaction. This is officially the first time I’ve been stung by anything in my life, so I wanted to play it safe.
After a few minutes, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to drop dead, so I put my veil back on and finished closing up the hive. This was a very memorable inspection, but overall, the hive appears to be strong and ready to take advantage of the spring nectar flow.