Hive Inspection (July 15, 2018)
The morning of July 15th, we were able to get a good look inside the hive. The top two photos were taken before we actually went into the hive, at around 5:45 a.m. Our goal was to get in and get out before it got too hot. This was done mainly because it was the middle of the summer, and those bee suits are thick and hot. The next two photos show me smoking the bees to calm them down a bit. It is my understanding is that the smoke doesn’t actually calm the girls down, but it causes them to gorge themselves on honey because they since danger. While they are eating honey, they really couldn’t care less about what we are doing to the hive, thus it appears that they calm down.
It was during this inspection that we discovered that our queen
may have been, no, most likely was “honey bound.” As it turns out, queen bees don’t like to walk across honey. So she will only lay in cells that she can access without walking across honey. Apparently, our girls didn’t read the manual. They were so industrious, that they began putting up honey in what appeared to us to be a haphazard way. Now, we can’t really know exactly why the bees put up the honey like they did, but what we can see by looking at the frames in the next two pictures it that they basically boxed her in. In the photo to the left, you can see the difference in the brood and honey. The brood (baby bees) capped cells are a pail yellow and raised a bit, whereas the honey cappings are almost completely white and are really flat. In the next photo, you can see that the honey almost completely surrounds the small cluster of brood.
At this point, we called our mentor, and sent her pictures of what we discovered. She confirmed our suspicions of our queen being honey bound. To remedy this problem we moved some of the emptier frames over by where we saw her to be laying in hopes that she would have more room to lay. Healthy queens can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day, so giving her room was important. After moving the frames around, we closed up the hive and left it alone.