Monday, May 12, 2008

The Less than Perfect Third Inspection

Just about the time I was getting cocky about this beekeeping activity, the bees, gravity, and an uninvited guest taught me better.

My first mistake today was probably not waiting an hour or two before opening my hives, I guess. It has been unseasonably chilly for May, even in Minnesota, but I still decided to open the hives at 10:45 this morning. It was sunny and in the 50s, some foragers were out, and I had other things that needed doing so I went ahead with my inspection. In doing this, I broke my number 1 rule of sustainable beekeeping: Do things to the hive according to the bees requirements, not the beekeepers! My second major mistake was opening up the hives when I wasn't fully there mentally. I'd been working on an assessment report earlier in the morning and was still "stewing over" that process.

I opened the top bar hive, Metpropolis first and began a battle with some cross comb. Overall, I handled that pretty well, and the bees were fairly cooperative. I am beginning to understand the benefits of the top bar hive. The bees seem calmer and less disturbed by my observations and small manipulations. However, I experienced one surprise. There on the corner of one comb, quietly resting, was a wasp!!!! It seems that the bees and I discovered the intruder at just about the same time. They began attacking the intruder about the same time I tried to flick the creature off with my pocket knife. The creature disappeared ( I think out of the hive!?!) with some bees hanging on to it.

Overall, except for the cross-comb problem and the uninvited guest, Metpropolis looks to be doing very well. I did not see the queen but I did see capped brood, and larvae. I added three new bars to the top bar and closed it up.

My time with Bee Glad..., the Langstroth went less well, though, like Metpropolis, the hive seems well. I even saw the queen busily at work, but I did have some difficulties getting the inspection done. I had some difficulty separating some frames and a piece of comb on one frame fell to the ground as I took it out and inspected it. ...yes, a real mess, though, I am happy to report that all adult bees escaped alive! The small section of comb contained some capped brood and larvae of different ages which were lost. I had to close the hive up after this. They were not in a very good mood because of my clumsiness (My sting index went up by 4!)

Overall, Bee Glad... is also healthy, drawing comb, and raising brood. I will need to put a box on top of that hive soon.

1 comment:

Gerry Gomez Pearlberg said...

Nice post! Sounds like you're having a good time, squid and stings notwithstanding.