Yesterday, morning I did my first short inspection of the year, primarily for the purpose of removing the queen cages from Plan Bee, and Lib-BEE-taria. The weather was excellent, in the upper 60s, with little or no wind. The bees have been bringing in pollen for the last week from an assortment of trees finally blooming. This had to be the first Saturday of 2009 that actually felt like spring.
I opened Plan Bee first. The bees were drawing comb on 4 bars already and were very calm as I removed one of the bars to inspect it. I removed the empty queen cage and closed the hive up. I was very happy with what I saw.
Lib-BEE-taria, the new Langstroth, seemed also to be doing well. The bees were working on two already drawn frames and drawing comb on parts of adjacent plastic frames. Yes, I know, plastic frames! Not very sustainable of me but something I felt I needed to do. I just had too many problems with cross comb last year and felt I needed to get the hang of beekeeping before I'd return to the challenges of foundationless frames. I did include some foundationless frames in this hive that had fairly "straight" comb. Anyway, these Carniolans don't seem to mind plastic frames, though, as a precaution, I did brush on an extra coat of beeswax on each to make them more "enticing".
I have noticed that I am second guessing myself and being overly cautious during inspections this year, possibly because of the dying of last year's colonies. I do not know whether this is good or bad.