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First and second hive checks complete! This is fascinating!


So we put our package bees in April 22nd, then had terrible weather for about 10 days. Then on May 4th we did our first hive check, could see capped brood, larvae, honey and pollen but couldn’t see the queen. We did the check at dusk so there were a lot of bees around, but apparently ours are friendly because it went fairly well and they didn’t really seem to care that I was there. I was really careful and tried not to crush anyone!!!

It was fascinating to see that they had already filled the drawn out comb and were starting to draw out their own on the foundationless frames.

Today we went back in again because I wanted to ensure we could find the queen and also I’m going to need to add the second brood box at some point here and we’ve had really warm weather since the first check with lots of things blooming.

Today we found the queen :slight_smile: Found lots of capped brood, couldn’t see any larvae this time though but lots of honey and pollen and those little geniuses are filling out the comb on the foundationless very quickly. I’m fascinated by this!!! Today’s check also went very well, bees were totally fine and I only gave them a couple puffs of smoke as we started.

I’ve added some pictures, I couldn’t see any queen or swarm cells, I don’t THINK I see queen cups but then there was one picture were I wasn’t sure up in the corners. I see what could potentially be drone cells but they weren’t sticking out as much as it described in my book so I thought I’d get confirmation.
In this one I could see the larvae (our first hive check)

Their first frame of foundationless!!!

In the bottom right hand corner, are those little red things that look like rice the eggs? I thought they would be white, but they were the only things I saw that looked egg like.

Drone cells in the corner? Or regular brood? I’d read that that’s where I would find them, but they don’t look like I was expecting.

capped brood right?

Pollen and nectar I think

And the I think the bigger, darker one in the middle is Elizabeth, our queen :slight_smile:


I don’t see any eggs - I see what you mean, but they are too fat to be eggs, and they have a shiny layer of honey over the top, which bees don’t do to eggs. Could be a trick of the light making shapes in the honey - you really need it to shining directly into the cells to see the eggs properly. However, there is a queen on that frame. I have circled her, note her dark shiny thorax.

If you mean over the wood of the frame, they are the right diameter, but they wouldn’t build real drone cells on the frame itself. Those are empty cells, and will become bridge/brace comb if the bees finish the job - not a good place for larvae.

Right, and lots of it! :smile:


She is definitely a queen. :blush:

Nicely done, thank you for sharing.


Great stuff. I’d recommend getting that comb off the frame as it will be an issue later. I’ve been removing any burr and bridge comb (anything on the frames themselves) i see on each inspection i’ve overwhelmingly heard to do this as if you don’t they will add to it and continue building it until you cant get into the hive without a lot of issues. and like @Dawn_SD said you’re pretty much right on all accounts. its amazing to see everything in the flesh. I saw my first waggle dances last week and caught one on video this week.


Thanks Dawn!!! Always good to know that I’m actually looking at what I think I’m looking at :slight_smile:


Ohhhhh I want to see a waggle dance now :slight_smile: I’ll be looking for that next time too :slight_smile: I’ll remove that comb next time I’m in the hive then. I removed some that was welding the frames together, but that’s good to know that people remove the ones you pointed out as well.


I have a large mason jar in the freezer with all of that comb in there. You never know when you might need a bit of wax to coax your bees onto plastic Flow frames…


Good call!!! My husband saved the stuff we scraped off because he was so thrilled!! hahaha so I’ll get him to freeze it :slight_smile:


I only freeze it to kill off any wax moth eggs (or SHB if you are in a beetle area, which I doubt you are). You really only need to leave it in the freezer for 48 hours to kill the pests, but I find it more convenient to store it in there.


I got a video of one that i still have to upload.


What dies the waggle dance mean? Is that how they tell where to go for nectar? I saw one dancing tonight in my hive. It looked like in high school when someone wanted some space to do some “special dancing”. The bees backed away and gave the worker some space to shake her thing. It was bizzare to watch. If I hadn’t been in a hurry I could have videoed it.


The waggle dance is why my husband started keeping bees 50 years ago! He read “The Dancing Bees” by von Frisch, and was so fascinated that he had to keep them himself. They are one of the few animals that we know of which can transmit abstract concepts to the rest of their colony. You should read more about it, but basically the dance conveys what direction, how far and how much nectar they have found. The dance itself only gives direction and distance, but the more bees that do the same dance, the more nectar is at the site. It is really quite precise communication and very impressive. Thomas Seeley has shown that bees in a swarm do the same kind of dance to advertise a new home. Again, the more bees which do the same dance, the more likely the bees will go there - hence the title of his book “Honeybee Democracy”.

If you see it in your hive, it is one sign that you are handling your bees well - they won’t do it if you get them all upset. :blush:


The Honeybee democracy dance when they decide where to swarm to is pretty amazing- I watched a documentary about it years ago. The Bees usually achieve a consensus! Humans rarely can.

I agree about how fascinating and fun bee keeping is. They really are wondrous creatures. We had the honor of distinctly hearing our Queen ‘piping’ a few weeks ago when we extracted some flow frames.


Here’s a great video about it.