A blog originally for keeping track of my hobby of being a Beekeeper which has evolved to include Home Brewing and even more recently to follow me and my families approach to "The Good Life". Eventually I hope to include baking recipes and stories of our flock of chickens also reporting on the success and failure at the allotments.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Apiary inspection 21/06/2011

Yesterday was my first apiary inspection. It was as quick as I could be as I didn't want to disturb the Bees too much. I was unsure how much of the foundation they would have drawn out into comb so I took the frames for the super box with me just in case they needed more room to expand.

Upon arriving at the apiary I got all my equipment out of the car, which included my hive tool, smoker, smoker fuel, wind proof lighter, a couple of frame spacers and a small box for collecting any brace comb that was removed. The smoker fuel I was using was rolled up cardboard which I made sure had no glue or anything on. I put the cardboard into the smoker and using the wind proof lighter got it a blaze then set it down for 5 minutes while I put my suit on.


When suited up I entered the Bee enclosure and puffed a little smoke over the front of the hive and then waited a few minutes to allow the smoke to calm the Bees. The next step was to remove the roof and check on the feeder bucket, which was empty; unfortunately I hadn't brought any more syrup with me so couldn't add any more.  


To access the hive I then used my hive tool to prise the crownboard away from the brood box; I was surprised at how quickly the Bees had glued it all together with propolis. Once inside the hive I puffed a little more smoke over the top to encourage the Bees to go down onto the frames then started taking out the frames to inspect. 

The underside of the crownboard with brace comb. This was scraped off and collected.

Freshly drawn out comb full of sugar syrup
The next comb removed, after the above pictured, had new eggs in but were too small to photo. By seeing eggs it told me I still had a laying Queen. I carefully replaced the frame and continued my inspection. On the 3rd frame with brood on I managed to find the Queen. She is marked with a spot of white paint and visible in the photo below. I have named my first Queen Beeatrix the first!

Can you see the Queen?
When I got to the last frame provided in the nucleus hive I attached a couple of frame spacers as the frames I have are self spacing Hoffman frames compared to normal frames from the nucleus. 

The new frame with spacer added to make it hang far enough away from it's neighbour

When I'd checked the frames I put the back together as quickly as I could. I noticed something in the hive that wasn't supposed to be there.....A wasp!

Wasp feeding from a bit of leaked sugar syrup. I crushed it so it didn't tell it's friends and return!