Today we were able to get to Inverness and do hive inspections on the three hives located there. The Hive Sponsor was out there with us, asking all sorts of great questions about what was going on in the hives and what Mike was doing. Talking with her and showing her all the amazing things going on in the hives made our day even more fun. Here are some of the cool things we were able to share with her.
This frame is an excellent example of a pulled out frame that bees are just starting to work on. It started out as a foundation-less frame meaning we didn't put a base in for the bees to build on. All the comb in there was made by the bees which is why it is wavy and irregular looking. The white / waxy looking part is capped honey, the puffy parts are drone cells (male bees) and the other covered part are brood cells (female worker bees).
This hive also had a lot of burr comb, or comb that the bees had made in places that we didn't want there to be comb. We found burr comb on the lid, and attached to the inner walls of the hives. The dark spots in this comb are actually pollen stores, and on top the covered cells are full of honey.
Mike showing our Hive Sponsor one of the frames. Notice the top of the frame, how it is white and waxy. That is capped honey. The bees are starting to make their honey stores.
We found the queen bee in one of the hives! She is the one whose abdomen is much larger than the others. We don't always see the queen every time we inspect the hive. With thousands of bees in a hive, she is sometimes very hard to spot. So we typically look for other signs that the queen is present and healthy, for example, day-old eggs, and good brood pattern.
We also got to see a bee being "born." As soon as she was completely out of the cell, she was ready to start working as a house bee, doing work inside of the hive. As she ages, she may get promoted to a forager bee or guard bee. There were actually three or four bees on this frame who were in the process of being "born."
Just Bee Cause
Mike is the bee-keeper, Joanne is the photographer / record keeper, and Dale is our trusty mascot!