On a hot and muggy Sunday, I opened up the hive for my week 7 inspection. Time has flown by quickly, and I’m amazed how quickly Large Marge and crew have built up the hive. The 3rd super I added last week had a lot more comb on it than I expected which is great. I was a bit worried that I might have to put the feeder back on since sometimes bees are reluctant to draw out comb on new plastic foundation, but the frames are progressing nicely. This tells me there is still good nectar flow around Austin.
The 2nd super is where I placed the Beetle Blaster. You can see me below inspecting the trap and noticing the lack of blasted beetles. Either the jingle has lied to me, or I don’t have enough beetles in the hive that need blasting. I did notice a few running around which were promptly squished, but hopefully the girls are keeping them under control.
Bees store both pollen and honey in cells. Below is a good shot of cells filled with pollen surrounded by uncapped honey. Technically, it is not even honey yet but nectar that hasn’t been cured meaning the water content is still too high to be considered honey.
I also thought I found a swarm cell, but I believe it is just some burr comb which refers to bits of random wax combs built basically where you don’t want it to be built. I scraped it off my handy dandy hive tool. This is also a great photo showing a frame of capped brood which are baby bees in their final stage of becoming a worker.
After pouring down rain all day Friday and early Saturday morning, the weather finally cleared. With a threat of thunderstorms on Sunday, I figured I should take advantage of the break in the weather to perform the inspection.
The girls were exceptionally non-agressive this morning except for the one below. You can also see me installing the Beetle Blaster (click the link for the best jingle ever) between two frames that will hopefully catch any pesky small hive beetles lurking about. I did not see any evidence of them on the frames which is awesome and hopefully it will remain that way.
I also finally have a good shot of Large Marge. She’s the larger bee with the green dot on her back for easy identification. The dot colors are actually standardized by the year the queen was hatched so it easy to tell how old your queen really is.
I also added a 3rd super to the hive. I did find one swarm cell in the 2nd super so I decided it was probably a good idea to add the 3rd even though I would have rather seen a bit more comb drawn out on the frames. However, I would say a good 5 out of the 8 frames were drawn out, so adding an extra super is not causing me a lot of heartburn. Next week I’ll check the progress on the frames in this super since they all have new plastic foundation. I may have to put the feeder back on to give them an extra boost of wax production.
My beetle blaster arrived last night from Brushy Moutain, and I will install it in my hive this weekend. Per the picture below, it rests between two frames, and the small hive beetles, looking for a dark place to hide, will enter the trap. Inside the trap is a tiny sarlacc, and the beetles will then discover a new definition of pain and suffering as they are slowly digested over a thousand years. If sarlaccs are not available in your area, I hear mineral or vegetable oil also work well.