Last weekend I opened up the hive to inspect everything for the first time since May. The weather has been getting warmer for about 3 or 4 weeks and I made sure the day was at least 15 degrees as per the research I’ve done on temperature to open your hive at. I had everyone involved to assist and observe, I figured the more eyes looking, the better chance we had of seeing anything untoward. Obviously as this was my first ever Spring hive inspection after winter, I kind of didn’t know what to expect and my untrained eye was just carefully looking around for anything. Bugs, mites, etc. There was a redneck spider and web in there which we took care to get out of the hive. All though I’ve read that’s quite normal and shouldn’t bother the bees too much. If I were a spider, a bee hive would seem a pretty good place to hang. I worked quickly as I was conscious it wasn’t outrageously warm and once I had found the Queen (very easy) on frame 3 I didn’t end up looking at all the frames. The central number 4 frame was left and in retrospect I wish I had looked at that one. I was particularly looking for queen cells but totally forgot by the time I had closed the hive back up. Queen cells are when the hive is getting ready to welcome a new queen, and can be an indicator of the hive about to swarm. They are bulbous and peanut shaped. You can consider splitting the hive at this point, allowing a new queen to hatch with half the colony. However I’ve only had my nuc since January and believe the colony has a way to go. Again – still learning and feeling my way through.
I have booked into a beekeeping course in November with one of Australia’s most famous “urban” beekeepers – Doug Purdie with the Sydney beekeeping club. I can’t wait , as apart from all my books and videos, I am flying a bit blind at the moment. I picked up a new hive from Bathurst recently (just in case I have the need to split or put a swarm in) – it’s a traditional Langstroth hive, as I want to eventually learn the traditional way of honey extraction so I can compare and learn to the Flowhive. I’ve also read it’s handy to have two hives going so you can compare colony’s.
The other exciting news is I have started a bee garden. We have a big bit of concrete slab left over from an old shed, at the back of our yard and have decided to turn it into a container garden, with flowering plants year round. It will slowly build up as I buy more plants, but am pretty excited about it. The first few plants are already attracting some bees.