We did our first hive inspections yesterday. And I quickly realized that my little chat with the girls about the proper way to pull out frames was apparently totally ignored. Totally.
This was what we found when we opened the Girl Power hive:
And this was what we found when we opened the Flower Power hive:
As you can see, they were both bad this week. Flower Power hive being slightly better than Girl Power.
We have to take some of the fault here. But before we get into that, let me share something with you…….. if there is only one thing you need to know about being a beekeeper, this is it………
Every single hive is different. And what works for one beekeeper will not necessarily work for the next beekeeper.
OK, so technically, that was two things. But, I don’t think beekeeping can be considered a technical undertaking, and both of those are really closely related, so work with me, will ya?
The beekeeper we got our bees from fed all of his bees by laying a freezer bag, filled with a light sugar water, directly on top of the frames of the brooder box. He put a one inch cut in the top of the bag and then he placed a 1 1/2 inch spacer on top of the frames, followed by the inner cover, and then the hive cover on top of it all.
This worked beautifully for him, and he had many extremely healthy hives to show for it. But for us? Not so much.
The girls really liked that 1 1/2 inch above the frames. So much so that they built burr comb to expand the hive.
We really want the girls to expand the hive. Only not like that. We were kind of hoping they would draw out the frames within the brood box. Then we would add another box on top and they could move up and start drawing out those frames.
Apparently, what we had here was a failure to communicate. And….. too much space at the top of the frames.
So, the first thing we did in both hives was locate the queen. Thankfully, in both hives, the queen was where she should be – in the brood box, healthily and happily laying eggs.
Then we shook all of the bees off of the hive cover into the brood box.
Then we removed all of the burr comb on the inside of the hive cover.
We removed the 1 1/2 inch spacer and placed the inner cover over the top of the frames.
We put their sugar water on top of the inner cover, added the 1 1/2 inch spacer, and then closed the hives with the hive cover.
Then I had yet *another* chat with the girls and explained what was expected of them. They argued with me for a few minutes, but finally bobbed their heads in agreement.
Then I kissed them and Bernie and I came to the house to grill some steaks and enjoy a beautiful Saturday evening.
We looked in on them today. No burr comb. They still act a little miffed at us for foiling their original plan, but all in all, I think they understand what needs to be done and will diligently work on it.
And it’s really hard to stay mad at them when they are so danged cute!
PS – All that burr comb? Well, it won’t be wasted. I’d much rather the bees use it within the hives, bbut it will be added to my existing collection and eventually be rendered into bees wax that will make lip balm, candles, and a variety of things.