Yep, that's the song for this inspection.
I opened Hive#2: Big bee with the help of some of the kid's friends (after getting OK from parents). Since we are +29 days since the install, and the average lifespan being 40 days during this time of the year, many of the original bees have most died and have been replaced with new bees. These new bees are definitely a little more offended by my intrusion. No one, got stung, but it was a noticeable difference from earlier inspections and the other hive.
Hive#1 Busy Bee is the stronger of the two and I added a second deep brood super with plastic frames last week. During the week this week, anytime I would "check under the hood" and lift the cover, I noticed the inner cover was completely covered with bees. The population has definitely increased.
We never saw the queen in either hive, but we did see a lot of eggs, thus we know they have been there in the last 3 days. Since we are on our major nectar flow, the bees have not been taking the sugar water in the baggie feeders. They have also been "backfilling" a brood cell with nectar or pollen as a new bee emerges, thus reducing the effective number of brood cells. Adding another super will hopefully get them to move the nectar/pollen stores above the brood area.
I have read that one of the major factors in swarm prevention is to prevent backfilling. Essentially, these newly hatched bees job is to rear young larvae. If the overall number of brood cells are reduced because of backfilling, then the new bees are sitting around saying "hey there's nothing for me to do". . . and another factor for swarming is added. Adding a brood box will hopefully give these new bees a place to build more comb for stores and brood rearing.
My goal is to build as large a population as fast as possible. . . for two reasons . . . for a strong hive will have a better chance to survive the winter and second . . to possibly get some honey this year.
Here is a link to the pictures:
Here is a quick rundown of the +29 day 4th inspection:
- One hive definitely stronger than the other
- Added second deep brood box to weaker hive
- Bees were "boiling" onto inner cover on weaker hive (also more aggressive than the other hive)
- Somehow, I knocked one of the frames to the ground that was leaning against one of the hives . .. they got a little stirred up from this!