Tuesday, June 19, 2012

When Hive Inspections Go Bad

Wow.  Today was a stressful hive inspection!

First, it is about 91 degrees outside, so that made wearing long sleeves, long pants, bee hat and gloves HOT.

Second, the bees had yet to even start drawing out comb on the super that I put on a week ago.  Granted that I did put a queen excluder between the second and third super, but I figured there would at least be a few curious bees working away.  Nope ... nothing.

Third, have you ever dropped a box of bees? Yeeeeeaaaahhhh.  I had removed the third super and was in the process of taking off the second super so I could check the main brood box.  The second super weighed at least sixty pounds (and I was all, "No way will my supers get that heavy!").  I was placing the second super on top of the third super (which I had placed in the grass beside the hive) and must have misjudged my placement because as soon as I let go the box began to tip.  As I did NOT want eight frames of brood and honey to smash into the lawn, I quickly righted to box and undoubtedly crushed several bees in the process.  I suppose I didn't "technically" drop the box, but wow were the bees angry!

Finally, I had to move the main brood super to modify my hive stand  That, apparently, was the last straw.  There were about 200 bees angrily buzzing around me telling me exactly what they thought of my hive inspection skills.  Each time a huge bead of sweat rolled down my face I thought, "Oh God they've gotten in my bee hat!!!"

Between silent freak outs about possible bees in my hat, trying to avoid crushing any bees that may have fallen onto the lawn, moving some cinder blocks and being super hot today's inspection was stressful.

However, I remained calm, got done what I needed to do, and did not get stung, so I still view today's inspection as successful.  Plus, when moving the brood super, I noticed a few beetles along the bottom board being mercilessly attacked by the bees.  This is a good sign because it indicates my colony is strong enough to fend off pests.  I still have the hive beetle traps in place, but really haven't noticed much in them which means the bees are killing the beetles before they get a chance to get too far up in the hive.

I have been reading some reports on nectar flow failure, but it appears that my hive is still going fairly strong.  They've got honey stored around the brood and at least two frames full of nothing but honey.  Now if I could only get them to start storing in the third super ...


  1. Can you place a little wifi camera with a fish eye lens to make inspections easier?

  2. Good idea, but I don't think I'm coordinated enough to steer it through the hive!

  3. Why did you need to modify your hive stand? It looked pretty secure. Was it too tall?