Hive Inspection, and winter prep.
The bees were out in force today, so I decided to give them an extracted box of honey to clean up, as a kind of present. My helper today was D – I casually said ‘I might have a look at the hive’, and within minutes he was suited up and ready to go. He held the camera.
Inside the hive, there are lots of bees, as one would expect. The top box is loaded with honey – I didn’t see any brood in the top box however. All the cells that had brood in them last time I checked are now full of honey.
I did not check the bottom box. I wanted to, but they defeated me. It was just too badly stuck together, and the top box too heavy. Every time I lifted the top box, the bottom one lifted also, even though I kept prising them apart. Now, you might imagine that if it is stuck, you just prise it apart, and lift – up she comes. This of course neglects the facts that the box weighs it at about 30Kg (about 65lb for the few non decimal speakers out there), and the bottom box is about 15-20Kg. And there are bees. And the bees don’t like you stuffing screwdrivers between there hive boxes. So, they say you should gently and patiently lift one box off – HOW? It is like slowly gently taking a plaster off a graze on a preschoolers leg without them noticing.
Anyway, so much for finding my Queen. At least they have a good feed for the winter. I also closed up the hive with a piece of wood, to an opening about 3″ long, and 1″ high. I would have made the opening smaller, but that was the piece of wood I had handy. I also wedged the top board open about 5mm, for ventillation, and placed a small batten under the bottom board, tipping the hive forward a little, to stop rain being a problem over winter. One box is somewhat rotten, and will need replacing some time – should be fun. I will wait for spring time, and possibly split the hive into a new box then, decommissioning the rotten one.