May 04, 2009

Second Inspection Checklist (primary goal: to see bees emerging)


Inside a Daydream
During our First Inspection we panicked and moved the Queen Includer to the honey storage area w/o first checking for brood. The next day, looking through the observation window, we saw yellow cappings! So in our Second Inspection, one of our objectives will be to check on that brood. We're wondering if any drones were laid here, since it's cooler on the periphery.

Contingency Plan:
We don't have one. PJ Chandler/The Barefoot Beekeeper says, "The time to make contingency plans, should something unexpected be found, is before you lift the lid." Makes perfect sense, except there's no way a beginner beekeeper can truly anticipate the unexpected.

Besides, from casual observation through the window everything's going well. The new combs are straight and growing by about an inch a day. There are no swarm or supercedure cells visible. The feeder is dropping steadily but doesn't need to be refilled just yet. The foragers are coming back with lots of pollen, so there must be lots of baby bees. Technically we don't have to go INTO the hive, but we're super curious to see bees emerging from their cells.

Weather permitting, our Second Inspection will occur in 3 days. The original package bees are dying off so the colony population is at its lowest. As beginners, it is our best bet for seeing cool stuff like bees being born or the queen laying eggs. The longer we wait, the more bees – and intimidating – it'll be.

Per Beekeeping for Dummies, we'll be evaluating Queen performance by analyzing her egg laying quantity and quality. Basically, we're looking for an egg in each cell and a centralized brood nest. There are 11 combs to inspect.

Checklist by Bar Position
Look For:
# 11 : newest comb
check alignment
# 10 : brood comb moved here
brood alive?
# 9 : new comb
Look for eggs, larvae or capped brood.
# 8 :
Look for egg, larvae, capped brood and food stores.
# 7–5
emerging bees?
# 4–3 : new combs
eggs? DON'T FORGET THE MAGNIFYING GLASS! 
# 2
emerging bees?
# 1 : new comb
what are they using this for: brood or honey?

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