My first inspection of the year!
|The roof's off and the bees seem happy in the sunshine|
On Monday night I prepared myself and following my Omlet Beehaus manual closely about what to do at this time of year, I put together four new frames and all my supers. Well, I didn't exactly - that's what husbands are for :) But then following a bit of twitter chat, @sheffieldhoney scoffed at the idea that I was contemplating putting any supers on considering the crap Spring we've had so far. Apparently, there has to be seven frames of brood before any supers go on. Damn, my dreams of a honey harvest lives on.
All of Tuesday morning I felt strangely nervous about seeing the bees. They survived a terrible summer, a cold winter and unusually chilly Spring but what would I find when I lifted the roof? I had no idea. This is only my second season after all.
Well, I didn't get off to the best of starts - I almost smoked the entire neighbourhood out with my very poor smoker lighting skills. Note for next time - shredded paper is not an ideal fuel :/ So, I'm not sure whether I suffocated the bees but they seemed extremely calm when I went in, which was good because I was going in for a major Spring Clean operation.
As the Beehaus is essentially two hives in one with an entrance either end, the plan was to move all the frames from one end to the other and then sweep the floor and wipe down the sides with a washing soda solution (you can't torch a Beehaus for obvious reasons) before moving the bees back and adding a few more frames in the process. According to one of my Beekeeping books (I have a few) this should take one or two minutes. That is some serious speed beekeeping as it took me ages to get the frames out and moved over. But I did it in more like ten minutes, cleaned up and then started moving them back.
I was conscious that I had caused quite enough disruption in their house and didn't want to be there for much longer so I decided not to carry out a full inspection, scrutinising each frame. But I did look at the frames as I brought them over and was pleased to see that the bees were bringing pollen in.
|Busy entrance of foragers with full pollen sacs|
|Stored pollen with a bit of nectar too|
|Bees over the curled up larvae underneath|
As the bees seemed to be enjoying the fondant I'm leaving it on there for the moment especially as winter hasn't left us yet - apparently it's back at the weekend.
|They've munched a hole in the fondant|
|A mix of old and new frames|
|Watching my bees|