Yesterday we did our first inspection of our beehives of the year, now that it’s warming up enough to open the hives.
We started with the Yellow hive:
A frame with some honey:
A brood frame:
The deep frames in the bottom box were all empty; sometimes the bees move up to an upper box, but they don’t usually build downwards, so we swapped the boxes so they could expand into the empty one:
Next was the Turquoise hive:
A bunch of bees on top:
A frame with new honey glistening in the cells:
The Purple hive didn’t look so good:
As we suspected based on activity, the bees were all dead:
Same story on the Orange hive, which we had also suspected was dead… very dead. They may have starved over the winter:
The Hot Pink hive was a bit different — there were several full frames of honey (and signs of robbing, so would have been more over winter):
But no bees; it looks like they had absconded, for some reason; weird, since they had plenty of supplies:
Finally the Cedar hive; it was doing the best of all of them:
A frame with old honey (blackened from being walked on for a long time) and a few drone cells:
A brood frame; if you look closely, you might spot some new bees emerging from cells:
Another brood frame:
We also wiped out and refilled the top feeders with 1:1 sugar water syrup, to help supplement what flowers they can find at this time of year.
We didn’t spot the queens of any hives, but we didn’t look closely; we just wanted to see which ones had survived, and looking for signs of brood and recent laying. We’ll take another look in a few weeks time, weather depending.
So we ended last year with six beehives, but started this year with only three surviving. Not ideal, but we had a feeling that would be the case. We had some concerns about some of the hives, that were a bit weak heading into fall, and we could tell based on activity that it looked like some hadn’t made it. We couldn’t be sure until we opened them up, though.
Here are the remaining hives: Cedar, Turquoise, and Yellow:
Finally, a picture of Jenn in her bee suit: