Like Christmas, but with bees

The bees have had four days to do their bee things, so today was a great day to open the hives up, check for the queen and release her if needed, and fix any cross-comb issues. The sky was overcast but it was warm and sunny enough that the hives were relatively quiet as Madeline and I approached them.

We had to release the queen in the first hive that we opened, but the bees had three partial bars of comb ready for her. It got a little buzzy at various points–especially while I was trying to remove the queen cage from some messy comb–but the bees quickly settled back in once the hive was back together.

The second hive had already released the queen so I spent most of my time trying to avoid disturbing the front of the nest while removing the queen cage and filling up the feeder.

4 responses to “Like Christmas, but with bees

  1. Miguel Lezama

    That hive looks great! What’s the “sugar water only” for?

    • Jennifer M. Dodd

      Spraying them with sugar water is supposed to make the bees start cleaning themselves while I’m working on the hive. Opinions differ on whether it works or not, but I figured it was worth trying out. The bees were fairly calm through the whole operation and it was a nice option to have in addition to smoke.

      • Miguel Lezama

        cool! that’s was my first thought, have you tried with smoke before? did you notice a difference?

        • Jennifer M. Dodd

          I have kept bees for about five days now, so pretty much everything is something to try. 🙂

          I found that smoke can be hard to direct (and sometimes the smoker runs out of fuel or extinguishes at the worst possible time), whereas the spray bottle lets me quickly distract the portion of the hive that I’m working if they start getting annoyed.

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