My first solo hive inspection today. Nice, warm day (about 23˚C) and no clouds, and the girls were buzzing merrily. My other girls had been making some noise, so I think I’ll find some cackleberries there – but I digress.
Some lessons today:
- I really need some white painters overalls – my blue ones apparently annoy bees, and they smell of EP90 (diff oil from a landrover).
- The gloves I used are really not suited for this. They are for welding. You cannot feel or grab things with those gloves. Next time I will try my NBC gloves I bought for $2. If they stop nerve agents, they may stop bee stings.
- You can’t operate a smart phone camera with welding gloves.
- A long screwdriver works OK as a hive tool.
I found the queen, and there seems to be a pretty good pattern of brood, with few gaps. On the other hand, I really don’t know what I am looking at yet.
The queen was in the middle frame, just visible in the photo, taken by my darling Wife, with a large zoom lens. I only have one hood and even that was just a mosquito net. No stings today, but my gloves copped about four, mainly because they are so fat and brutal.
I can’t see much honey and they have not yet begun to draw out the top box. I guess I can wait a few weeks before putting on a super (that is the top frames that they will put the honey in). I found out recently that one of my students is works for a beekeeper – actually for the largest apiary in the South Island. He may come in useful some day for a bit of advice.
I found out recently about the pheromone which bees use as there alarm signal, enticing them to sting anything which moves, called isoamylacetate, or 3 methyl butyl ethanoate. I can make it by the beaker full in about 30 seconds in the lab. I probably shouldn’t though.