Today is the first day I have inspected the hive on my own. It’s now 5 days after my nuc was delivered. My mentor suggested I check the hive today to see if there was activity from the queen (was she laying) – as we are concerned that there are no drones in the nuc. I was nervous and excited. My family and I have been sitting on the step of our deck all week, watching the bees go in an out of the hive. It’s mesmerizing. Some bees entering the hive are so laiden with pollen it’s like two big yellow machine guns tied to their legs. Watching the bees go about their life is not unlike that feeling of staring into a fire. It’s fascinating and immediately relexing. We’ve noticed our rasberry patch with lots of bees in it today – and wonder – are they ours?
So the hive inspection went reasonably well. The smoker was lit, went out, lit, went out. – but was smoky for long enough. I took the roof off first, then the tile from the hole, then the lid. Removed the blue folded chux cloth hive beetle trap thing. The bees were incredibly calm. A little puff of smoke only and I started checking the frames. The two outside frames with just a small wax strip at top has nothing on them yet. I found the queen pretty quickly and the middle frame, that we wired up with foundation last week, has comb being drawn. Picture of that frame below – you can see the ‘wire’ is actually my dad’s old thick brown fishing line. That was really exciting. I didn’t see any new babies (but really how would i know?!) . Texted mentor and he is going to bring down a new brood frame soon to help me along – just in case the drone’s aren’t there. [edit see below] Will check back again in a few weeks I think.
So inspection 1. Check.
I’m a beekeeper.
Edit: Next day
About two hours after the inspection lots and lots of activity around the hive – I checked in on my local newbie forum and was advised that’s completely normal – either a mid afternoon flight or recallibrating their hive conditions.
Also found out something I hadn’t realised in my research (bit embarrassing actually). That queens only go on one initial maiden nuptial flight – they mate a few drones several hundred feet in the air then that’s it. Not more mating. Millions of stored possibilities from that one flight. The drones in a nuc would only be there I think waiting for a new queen when that time happens. (at least I think that’s it.). What a wonderous world of bees to discover.