First Beehive Inspection
Time for our first inspection of the new Casa Rodriguez Beehive
By Cesar Rodriguez
Our bees have been making themselves at home for the past few weeks and we decided it was time for our first inspection of the new Casa Rodriguez Beehive to see how things are progressing, or not.
Our good friend and beekeeper mentor Terry came over to help us take a look. Since our bees have been showing good temperament so far, Terry was comfortable leaving the full suit in the trunk and rely on our smoker to keep things calm. I was a little nervous being a newbie but Terry threw me a veiled hat to wear so we’re all good.
Firing up the smoker seems easy but I’m sure the eight-plus years of experience have something to do with it. Mine is scheduled to arrive tomorrow so I’ll have to practice to get it going well. We’ll see. But now, time to open that lid!
It’s been a little over a couple of weeks since we caught this swarm and they are now feeling well at home. We removed the lid, the roof so to speak, after blowing a few puffs of cool smoke up the entrance. This blocks the pheromone signal to defend and allows us to take a peek without harm to us. We now have to make sure we don’t harm them by moving the frames around.
It’s early in the morning but assuming that a lot of foragers are out and about doing their thing, it looks like two frames are full of bee activity and they are getting started on the third frame. Our goal is to spot the queen or at least make sure there is queen activity like eggs laid, full brood, etc.
I did some research ahead of time and I already know that you have to start pulling frames, carefully, one at a time starting with one closest to a sidewall (never stand in front of the beehive entrance!). Since we could tell right away that only a few frames have bee activity we started with frame number one full of bees. the bees are happily buzzing and Terry tells me that you get used to “read” the sound among other cues to know when you puff them with some additional cool smoke.
The first frame was full of activity with capped brood and pollen and nectar nearby ready to feed the baby bees (or larva I suppose in this case). Overall we didn’t find our bee but we did see indication that she is alive and well and noticed eggs being laid. The first two frames are pretty active and they are starting to move into the third. Terry seems satisfied that they are doing well and it’s a matter of monitoring to determine our next steps.
We felt like the mission for the day was accomplished and the beehive is on its way to start growing. At this point it doesn’t seem like we need to supplement them with any syrup or pollen substitute. However, as we prepare for a second inspection in a couple of weeks I will do some research and see what I can learn about how to best help our young bee colony. I think I will also start gathering information and photos to put together some informative articles about bees. What do you think? after all might as well share the knowledge I’m finding out there about our bee friends.
Until then, stay tuned for more info from Casa Rodriguez Bees!