We have been taking more of a hands-off approach to the bees this year, and since our inspections have been so simple and quick, I hadn't been taking photos. Now, I miss having the photos, so I'm back to it.
Both of our hives are doing well. The queens have been making great patterns and there is already some capped honey in the hives. Below, you can see an excellent coverage of brood comb. We look for not too many empty spaces. To the left, which is actually the bottom of the frame, are larger cells that hold drone (male) bees. It's normal for the hive to produce these and I will try to get a photo of a drone so you can compare.
The rightmost bee is next to a brand new emerging bee, which we know is a female because of the shape of the cap on the comb. The bee will chew her way out and start her life by cleaning the cell for the queen to lay a new egg in it. Can you imagine a bee coming out of each of these cells?
We stopped checking the bottom three supers on our hives in June, as to leave the brood undisturbed and to minimize stress on the hives. Not all beekeepers do this, but it has been going well for us so far. At this point, we just check the top couple of supers to see if the bees are capping honey and if they have enough room.
What we're anticipating right now is the honey flow, which we have heard is going by July 4. "Honey flow" is a term beekeepers use to reference a time during the season when local, major nectar sources are in bloom. We are seeing flowers all over the place here! Honey flow = nectar = honey.
These girls are likely working to turn this nectar into honey.
Once the honey has reached the bees' desired humidity, the bees put a cap on it:
Gorgeous! This is one of my favorite photos this year.
Finally, I'm posting a couple photos from my phone. I hope the resolution is fine. This is one of my other favorites:
And this is how the hives look right now: