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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 18th year of beekeeping in April 2023. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

Even if you find one post on the subject, I've posted a lot on basic beekeeping skills like installing bees, harvesting honey, inspecting the hive, etc. so be sure to search for more once you've found a topic of interest to you. And watch the useful videos and slide shows on the sidebar. All of them have captions. Please share posts of interest via Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Inspection at Blue Heron: The Good and The Bad

We had our second inspection of the hives at Blue Heron yesterday. Noah, Julia's son, led the inspection and did a fabulous job. He was well-informed, could answer questions, and gave the participants lots of helpful information.

One of the nice things about having two of us at the inspection is the proof of the old adage: Ask 10 beekeepers a question and you'll get 10 different answers. In fact, Julia and I do things a little differently so when questions were asked, there was a demonstration of the fact that beekeeping is a matter of choice. We all make decisions and not always the same decision!

In the bad news column, Julia's hive was filled with swarm cells and apparently no longer had the original queen. We counted 12 queen cells on the bottom of one frame. The hive was calm and didn't have a queenless roar when it was opened, however.

This may mean that there is a virgin queen in the hive who may or may not have successfully mated but at least is not yet laying. We decided to add a frame from one of my hives to her hive.

This is like an insurance policy. If the virgin queen is in the hive and just hasn't started up yet, the frame we added would provide a jump in numbers as the eggs and larvae mature. If there is no queen or an ineffective one, we gave the bees the resources to make a new queen.

Another choice that could be made is to order a new queen. Julia will have to decide if she wants to wait for the maturation of this queen or to do that.

Either way, the hive is now behind in the middle of the nectar flow. It will take about a month for the hive to be up and running well if they have to make their own queen - which will be half way through the nectar flow. And if they have a queen, they still will be behind since she isn't laying yet, but not as far behind.

On the good news side, my hive in which the bees made their own queen was thriving. We took a frame from that hive to add to Julia's. We didn't see the queen so we were very careful to make sure the queen didn't leave with the frame we gave to Julia's hive. There were good brood patterns and lots of eggs and larvae in that hive.

On the second hive of mine we saw the queen with remnants of her red dot - the bees frequently eat the paint off in the process of grooming the queen. She had been laying well also.

On all three hives the box we added about 2 1/2 weeks ago remained untouched, so we didn't add any further boxes although we had brought them along. Since we'd like to get honey from these hives, the slow progress in the middle of the nectar flow is a little discouraging, but my hives at home are doing exactly the same thing.

Below is a slide show of photographs from the inspection. Click on the slideshow to be able to view it larger and with captions for the pictures:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your experiences. It's really great to see women beekeepers too :)


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