I began this post > a week ago and have been so wrapped around the axle I haven’t had time to finish it… enough is enough – I’ll update and complete it now.
Springfield Al stopped by our place Saturday afternoon while he was out on his bike ride and his timing couldn’t have been better: I was just readying to head out for a little hive maintenance.
During lunch with Fuzzy on Friday, I determined that I’ve been doing ok on my maintenance and hive management, but I needed to add a “next level” of maintenance to my efforts. So the plan was to:
(1) Perform a normal hive inspection
(2) Separate the boxes and reverse their order: the bottom box goes to the upper position and the upper goes to the bottom. Why? To encourage the queen to distribute eggs more evenly between the boxes. While we’re in the order-changing process, we also check the frames in the boxes for good pollen / honey distribution.
Being a lurking beek, Springfield Al grabbed a spare baseball cap, beek veil and pair of gloves and headed out w/me (in full Michelin Man-meets-The-Day-The-Earth-Stood-Still attire) to take a peek. Being a sunny, mid-60’s, low-wind day, there was plenty of traffic @ both hives… lots of inbound, loaded w/pollen and outbound gonna get me some nectar or pollen bees in flight.
We began with FreddieRay (sounds like something out of Deliverance, doesn’t it? If only Freddie Mercury knew – he’d be delighted!) and popped the outer cover, then pushed a little smoke down in to the inner cover opening. I waited a few seconds, then removed the inner cover and pushed several rounds of smoke down inside.
Voila! It was as busy as a bee hive in there. TONS of pollen being carried in, lots of activity, several frames of honey, nice pollen, fresh eggs and larvae, as well as a light population of covered brood in the upper box. I removed the upper box and inspected the lower (while Al ran to grab the medium super I would install on the top when I buttoned it up.) LOTS of covered brood, pollen and honey – all good things in the bottom super. In ~5 minutes, I’d completed the inspection and reversed the brood boxes – what was on top, was now on the bottom – installed the fresh medium super, inner and outer covers and I was outta there.
Bingo. Bango. Bongo.
Next it was Fuzzy’s turn. Not nearly as populated as FreddieRay, Fuzzy appears to be in good health, too. Fair amount of brood, pollen and honey in the upper box; when I removed it and inspected the lower, I found a higher concentration / population of everything – including several frames of nothing but honey (Ok, I confess: I stuffed my finger in the honey… man, it was great. Shoot Me for bad manners and BeeAbuse.) When I removed the upper, I found the same as I did with FreddieRay – Stronger population on the bottom with an excellent supply of pollen and honey to feed the kids. OH, Al and I also saw a drone being attended by a couple of pretty hot babes in gold’n’black striped outfits… man, he must have BIG eyes 😉
Anyway, we inspected both boxes, then reversed them and installed a medium / honey super, inner and outer cover… easy peasy… except that bee that somehow managed to crawl inside my pant leg… apparently it didn’t feel like stinging me, so we both got out of it alive 🙂
It’s been raining like hell since then, but that’s in the next post.