#008 A Shift in Focus

img-0514.jpgThese days are pretty hot and inspecting with a full suit on, knee-high boots and your hair in your face is a quite the task. Last time, I forgot my Wellington boots and had to complete the inspection with just socks over my ankle cuffs. This time, I left the boots behind on purpose because I couldn’t bear the thought of my feet roasting in them. In fact, it felt so good working with less gear, I am thinking of making it a habit. Maybe even slowly cut down to only the upper half of a suit…

Let’s not get too excited, I won’t be cutting the suit down just yet, I don’t think I’m ready for that.

As previous inspections, the smoker was used minimally because the bees were so content. Once I took the roof off, warded some of the earwigs away (I think they will be a permanent fixture of my hive now), I noticed how many of the bees were checking the supers out. Could it be? Are they finally thinking about storing extra honey in the upper floor? I checked a couple of the frames up there but they are pretty empty, no comb, nothing. Nevermind, I just hope they know what they are doing; winter is just around the corner.

img-0515.jpgI went on to remove the super and boy were there loads of bees! They appear a little more protective than usual, they all rounded up the top of the frames making sure I know they are there. As if that didn’t make the inspection difficult enough, they had somehow managed, in one week, to use all the propolis in the world to glue the frames together.  Well, to glue the super to the brood box, the queen excluder to the frames, the frames to the frames, the frames to the brood box, it was one massive lump of hive! Nevertheless, with a little patience and my trusty J-tool, I was able to complete my inspection gently and methodically.

Other than their behaviour change, I noticed a shift in their goals. It is not a big change, but could be a trend. The total number of frames that they occupy has not changed, 14 frames (7 seams). However last time, the ratio was 9:5 (brood:honey stores) and this time it was 8:6. Could it be that they are slowing down the colony growth preparing for the end of the season? Or is it perhaps that the nectar available is so abundant that they are filling the cells before the queen can get to them? I believe it is the former, a shift in focus from colony size to colony stores. This is one thing to look out for next week.

Inspection Results: The queen, must not be a large queen, because I was not able to see her, again. Once more, I am not alarmed because I saw lovely eggs, fat larvae and a healthy pattern of capped brood. Their honey stores look great with lots of fat comb with capped honey. Pollen stores were low, but I hope that next week this will look different, because there isn’t much I can do about it…


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