Beginner Beekeeping: New Hive Inspection

My first beehive is two weeks old, and now that temperatures have greatly increased, it is time for a thorough inspection. I’ve looked in the hive two other times, but this will be my first time going in with expectations of seeing some comb, brood, and pollen stores.

If you would rather watch than read this information, check out the video I made!

Smoker at the ready to open the hive.

I grabbed my smoker and opened up the top of the hive. My hive is very peaceful, so I don’t have to use very much smoke. Using smoke encourages the bees to eat their honey stores to prepare for a swarm, and it causes a great amount of stress. Using as little smoke as possible allows the bees to return to their normal business more quickly.

Not much activity in the top brooder.

I have two brooders, and due to the activity in the hive, I have determined that I should remove one for now. As you can see from the photo below, there are only a few bees on these frames. The lighter portion in the bottom middle of the frame is where the bees are drawing out comb. They will be more productive working in the bottom brooder than they will now because they won’t be splitting the work.

Only a couple bees and very little drawn out comb on a middle frame in the top brooder.

Moving down to the bottom brooder, there is a lot more activity in the middle frames. I was happy to see the bees happily working. Again, I didn’t use much smoke at all. While inspecting the frames, I found a lot of larvae in the the middle comb and a decent amount of pollen around the edges. I got a good look at the queen as well.

There were a few things that piqued my interest.

  1. The interesting burr comb pictured above is something I hadn’t seen before. The bees had drawn out and filled comb and then drawn out more comb on top. The light comb color is due to the sugar water I’m feeding before spring picks up. After some research, I determined there was too much space in between my frames. Next inspection I will push them all together, and that should keep them from making more of it.
  2. There were a few large ants on and around the hive. I’m working on a solution to keep them out. I am leaning towards an oil moat around the structure and/or bait traps.

That is all for today! I can’t wait to watch the bees build and fill more comb. Thank you for visiting!