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Inspection of Honey 1 – The Queens Great Escape

Checked the weather forecast and it looked good until tomorrow, it has been predicated to rain tomorrow. Started the inspection at 2:30 PM.

Started the inspection by taking off the roof, no sign of comb or Bees in the new “Kiwimana bee hive roof”. Looks like the bees don’t see the roof as an extension of their hive and are not building comb in it. It was great to see no condensation or dampness in the roof area.

I removed the two supers, Top super was not too heavy, second one was very heavy. We can probably extract this box soon.

Did a trial today and recorded the inspection on an old MP3 player that I have, it certainly helps you remember what is on each frame. Unfortunately the batteries ran out before I finished the whole inspection. But I managed to record the upper brood inspection part.

There was extensive Burr comb between Brood (B2) and Super (B4), will need to look at this when box is in workshop. I suspect that the box has too much bee space at the bottom.

Upper Brood Inspection of frames from Back to Front (Back being furthest away from the Bee Garden entrance). Some of frames are numbered to help us track the genetics of our bees.

Frame by Frame Breakdown

F12 – Capped honey both sides, this is the bees winter stores.
F14 – Honey one Side, lots of propolis on frame lugs (Removed)
F13 – Capped Honey Both Sides
(Not Numbered) – Partial Honey with brood on bottom
(Not Numbered) – Extensive Brood, both sides mainly worker size brood * See Photo “Nice Frame of Brood
(Not Numbered) – Mainly honey with some brood at the bottom
F10 (Half frame Drone Comb) – Comb built by Bees is half drone and half drone * See Photo “Half Drone Comb
F15 – Frame self-built by Bees, lot of Pollen at top and drone cells at the bottom.
F17 – Drone comb at bottom, some sunken cells. Investigated cells are no sign of AFB.
F16 – Frame self-built by Bees, Honey at top, Mainly Drone cells in bottom with nectar.

The rest of the inspection

This is where my batteries ran out on the MP3 player, but the rest of the inspection was good. I didn’t spot any new eggs or the Queen, but plenty of week old lava. We did spot the Queen later on in the inspection. But not where she is meant to be.

The brood in the lower box seems quite patching to me, so will keep an eye of this Queen who is heading into her second year in this hive.

I have removed the Drone Brood from the half frame drone comb frames, most of these were built out with worker comb. So looks like the bees have slowed down making drones, will look at removing these next inspection.

The escaped Queen

Well when we were packing up I spotted a cluster of Bees on the ground, a few metres from the hive. It was a location that I had been inspecting the drone brood. Who should be in the centre of this cluster but the Queen from Honey 1? She must have fallen off a frame we were inspecting, we were very lucky we didn’t stand on her.

We must be more careful when we remove frames from the hive location that we also don’t bring along the Queen. The hive is overflowing with Bees at the moment. So it was very hard to locate her among the crowded frames.

We also spotted a Cicada sitting nearby the hive; he didn’t seemed to be bothered by all the buzzing going on (See picture). Cicada make a lot of noise in the New Zealand summer, you can hear them in our Sugar Shake video on YouTube.

Talking about Sugar Shake, we also Sugar Shook the hive, Shake three of five. Martin from the Bee Club commented on our blog that its better to make your own Icing Sugar by grinding white sugar in a coffee mill or blender. We took his advice, but the sugar still had a few grains in it. So we need to look at getting something better to grind it down. Icing sugar you buy from the shops contains Maize Cornflour which may not be good for the bees.

I have also created a Sugar Shake Calc spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel, to work out the dates to do the shakes. If you would like a copy of the spread sheet, click HERE to download it.

Thanks for reading…Gary


Gary Fawcett

Gary enjoys designing new kiwimana products which we sell through our on-line shop.He is passionate about saving the Bees and encouraging urban beekeeping.Gary loves to write about issues that affect the Bees and our environment.He is also into tramping/walking in the beautiful New Zealand bush.

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