A closer look into the hive

Sunny, but only 57 degrees Fahrenheit today, but I decided that I had to get into the hive enough to see what food stores were like. So off came the quilt box and the frame where the candyboard USED to be. It’s completely gone just as I thought from my hasty 20160116_134032peek the other day. Since it was rather breezy, I pulled only a couple frames and didn’t open the bottom hive box, didn’t look for the queen (except on the top of the frames), didn’t look for queen cells, or anything like that.

What I did find when I removed the quilt box was an empty candyboard frame. Not a crumb left, and the bees were building comb in the space left when the candyboard was devoured. I certainly was not expecting to see that. Since it was cool and breezy, I decided not to attempt to clean away the burr comb (brace comb or bridge comb are apparently all the same thing) on the top bars–I just wussed out and put the candyboard frame back on. It looked as if there was brood, and capped honey in the burr comb on top.

There wasn’t a sign of clustering–bees were spread all over the middle and upper boxes just going about doing what bees do. I just wasn’t expecting to see them actively building 20160116_134426comb at this time of the year. The two outer frames in the upper box, and the middle box are being drawn too–even though bees seem reluctant to work on those–they like to go right up the middle.

When I lifted the upper box, I found some more burr comb between those two boxes–and bees spread out doing their thing. (Not the best pictures, but I didn’t spend a lot of time taking them.) There were pupae in the brace comb between the boxes which was a surprise, but I still didn’t pull frames to locate the brood. Maybe I’m overly cautious as a “newbie”, but I didn’t want to chance chilling the brood that was on the frames.

I think the weather we’ve been having is confusing the girls–I know they are confusing me–and I’m glad that the “bee school” starts Monday so I can ask 20160116_pupae and burr comb_134800some questions of experienced beekeepers. It’s been a strange season so far.

Those “white bees” that you see where I’ve disrupted the burr comb are the pupae–they would have started to darken like the girls and would have chewed their way out of the comb soon.  I guess overall it looks as if I have a thriving hive here–and more bees on the way though the weather forecast is calling for cooler weather soon with daytime highs in the upper 30s and low 40s for the next week. Nighttime temperatures in the teens and twenties for about the next week.

After looking in the hive today, I think there is enough honey for the next bit, but I need advice from an experienced beekeeper on whether to feed–and how to do it in cold weather.

I was happy to see pollen being brought into the hive today though I don’t know where they are finding it–maybe on the Third Fork trail which is close. There was a fascinating array of colors–orange, reddish-orange, deep yellow, lighter yellow, greenish yellow, and some that could be called green or maybe chartreuse.