My first inspection and naming the queen

I've been a beekeeper for one whole week and tonight was my very first inspection. I have wanted to have a sneak peak inside all week but have adhered to strict instructions to not raise the roof. As the weather was good I thought I would cycle to my bees after work. I had an amusing thought that I'd cycle in my bright orange bee suit – that would be a sight to behold and would probably distract a few drivers. However, my husband arrived home in time and offered to drive me. I secretly think he came home early on purpose. He is very interested in the bees and even checked on them while I was away this weekend texting me that the Beehaus was a 'hive of activity'. I think I've turned him into a bee geek too :)

I had arranged to meet my mentor Nicky and friend Di who were going to partake in my inspection. We arrived in Sarah's garden with the sun shining down on us – perfect bee inspecting weather. From Omlet's online shop I had bought a liquid smoker. It works in the same way as a traditional smoker, making bees calm when you are working with them, but you simply spray the solution. It smells lovely but then I love the smell of burning.

Lifting the roof I was a bit nervous as I didn't know how the bees would be but all seemed pretty calm down below.

Hello bees

As per my Omlet instructions I had put the five frames of bees in and then added three frames closest to the entrance so the bees could draw wax out. The great news is that in just one week they have already started drawing wax and creating new cells on one of the frames.

As Nicky points out to me there is loads of activity on the new foundation frame that I had put in
On the next frame I noticed that the bees had started building comb in the space underneath the frame. The nucleus frames are shorter than the Beehaus frames so there is a gap from the end of the frame to the floor below. In the Beehaus manual it says this is normal and in most cases these will be drone cells. They can be usefully removed as soon as they are capped as a means of controlling Veroa mite. But as they aren't capped yet, I've just left them there.

The bees have built comb underneath the frame in the gap between the frame and the floor of the brood box
Whilst looking for the queen on this frame we saw a bee hatching out of a cell. It was amazing to see a little bee emerging and to be honest, I felt a little bit emotional about it. But soon got over it because although birth is a miracle of life when you're talking about an expanding nucleus colony of 10,000 this is par for the course.

Then on the next frame I had a bit of a fright as I thought I saw a queen cell. I've only had my bees for a week, please don't tell me they are thinking of swarming already! But Nicky said that it is most likely a queen or play cup. In other words, the bees are just practising at building a queen cell. If there are any professional beekeepers out there, I'd love to hear your opinion on this. (Comment below or email me)

A noticed what I thought was a queen cup on a frame. I did scrape it away just in case
On the next frame I spotted the queen. She was in the middle scuttling around. It was great to see her but I didn't want to disturb her for too long so had a quick look round and put the frame back. I then had a scan of the last two frames before scooching all the frames back together and closing everything up.

Nicky said that I seem to have a really lovely colony of bees, which made me feel a bit like a proud mom. She also suggested I should name my queen just for fun. Hers is rather appropriately called Lizzie. After a few moments the husband piped up with 'Freddie'. 

So, that's it – long reign queen Freddie!


  1. Well I am learning so much about bee-keeping, its fascinating stuff!! I cant bee-lieve how many there are already! When will you get your first honey!! Just bought a jar of local honey to help my daughters hayfever, £3.95 but now I can see the work that goes into it! Keep up the blog, enjoying it x Tracey K x


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