We had a break in the rainy weather yesterday and made haste to do our first inspection of each of our hives. We rushed through the South hive but did really well with the North Hive. We saw eggs, larvae, pollen- and nectar-filled comb, and a lot of working bees in both hives.
The sound of their buzzing was awesome and slightly intimidating, but once we were in there, I felt like I was in my element.
|Mr. Bee, About to Open the South Hive|
Beekeepers use smoke because it drives the bees down into the hive. Their survival instinct upon sensing smoke is to fill their stomachs, which makes them a bit more calm during inspections.
Here is a shot of those busy bees crawling all over the frame while I was taking a look for eggs and larvae. Seeing eggs and larvae means that the queen is laying, which is exactly what we were looking for in the first inspection.
|A Frame From the South Hive|
Did you know that pollen comes in all sorts of colors? We've seen shades of yellow & orange coming into our hives, but I've seen photos of pink, blue, and green pollen.
|Pollen-Filled Comb from South Hive|
My little girl had a special job - manning the squirt bottle. All the dandelions were thoroughly watered... and also her dad. She was very serious when she ran up to me and said, "Mom, I am a beekeeper, too." Soon we'll have to invest in a bee suit for her.
The North Hive was simply wonderful to observe. The brood was being developed right in the middle of the box, there were tons of eggs & larvae, and there seemed to be more bees.
All the beekeepers we have met have told us that they are continually learning and that bees, though they are studied and observed, can be unpredictable. Though our hearts are set on helping the bees succeed, we are learning to embrace that we are working with wild animals, and it seems we will be learning some life lessons from these tiny but intricate creatures.
I can't wait for the next inspection!