Lenora Hive Share: Month Two -Notes from the Hive

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Hive Split

Our hives have been in place for a month now and we are looking forward to seeing it’s progress and how the new bees are doing. We sit down for tea and Chelsea hands out some notes and goes through some of the general duties in month two. “Now that we have controlled spring build up as much as we can, it is time to do a split.” smiles Chelsea. This sounds like a delicate process and we are grateful to have her leading us every step of the way. A hive split, she explains, is done for a few reasons: to prevent swarming; to expand the number of hives in your apiary and in the years to come, increase honey production.

Hive Check

After our tea it is time for our hive check. We head to bee headquarters the Lenora van which houses everything members need to suit up for the hive checks. Richard who dabbled in beekeeping last year has his own head cover and jacket sent to him from England. I am reminded to fasten every zipper and velcro latch to avoid any unforseen possibilities of stinging. Chelsea shares a story with us about not doing up her velcro and a a bee flying in through the gap and buzzing around inside her suit! I double check and triple check that they are all fastened.

Smoking

We gather the smoker, some burlap, a bucket of sugar syrup and head towards the south end of our garden.

We stop and observe the land of the bees and Chelsea points out our bee highway. “Always keep clear of their entrance way” she explains “approach from the sides, but never directly in front.” Makes sense. She gently puffs smoke into the entrance way to calm them for our inspection.

Hive observation

She opens up the hive and shows us how to use the top as a platform on the ground. Initial hive observations are good. Our outer frames are empty as expected for our late hive start. One by one she uses her tool to inspect the inner frames pointing out our queen and her distinguishing appearance. “Hive looks great” Chelsea announces and we are filled with joy. There are full circles of brood in all stages. We identify the egg, larvae and pupae stages. We see drones and the workers coming in and out with sacs of pollen. We even witnessed a remarkable sight, trophallaxis, the sharing of liquids between the bees. Lots of honey, lots of action. She is very pleased with the progress of the hive. This is a far cry from where we were last year as bee amateurs where approaching the hive felt tense. Opening and inspecting a whole other story. I barely ever accompanied Richard to the hive fearing the bees sensing my hesitation and stinging me. Bees smell fear was what I always remembered as a child. Hive check with?your beekeeping tutor is a truly rewarding experience.

It begins to lightly rain so we swiftly inspect the other frames and shift the empty ones to closer to the middle to give them some space for production. With all those capped brood frames we have to feed them so Chelsea carefully replaces the top and pours the sugar syrup into the frame feeder in the hive. She makes notes into a notebook about today’s inspection and leaves it under the lid for next time. “Do we have any homework?” I ask wondering if we have to inspect the hives in between her visits. “ Nope” she smiles “ When we are both fully confident that you are able and ready to handle the frames yourself then we can talk about that, but for now you can just leave them and we will do the inspections together.” Fine by me. In fact it is perfect.

For more info on Lenora Bee’s hive share program www.lenorabee.ca

 

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