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My First Sting!

Weather: Nice but very windy
Time: circa 8 pm

Beekeeping in Richmond, Virginia is a definite adventure! Basically, it was not perfect timing to be sure. Most of the bees had returned from their foraging and where holed up in the hive. You’re supposed to check them between 10 and 5, when all the gals are out working. The wind supposedly makes them cranky, but I have no idea about that. Regardless, I had some real tasks to perform and I could not delay (or so I thought.)

Hive 1
Queen: Check
Frames: 6-7 (some just being drawn out)
Spotted the queen, great brood pattern, drawing out frames 5 and 6 now, with a little work done on 7.
I did not keep track of how much brood vs nectar vs pollen (I forgot!), but it looked really good. In addition, since I had seen several training flights at this hive, I was definitely expecting good news. In fact, I had brought a second brood chamber along just in case. I may have jumped the gun, but I went ahead and put the second box on top and refilled their feeder. I had to brush the bees off of the top board with some straw but I finally got the feeder to sit directly on the box (the new brood chamber that I installed.)

All in all, I am happy with this hive and will probably only spot check (no frame withdrawal) a couple of times over the next month.

Hive 2
Queen: Did not see her
Frames: 3-4
Different story here. Did not spot the queen, but did see a lot of good capped brood. This hive had just started to use the feeder (I noticed the first use of it when I took off the top.) These gals were really not even on 4 frames. I have to hope that the problem is not that my queen died (no sign of any queen cells). I will have to keep an eye on this one, perhaps checking it again in a couple of weeks to see if there has been any progress. I am happy to see that they have at least started to use the feeder.

Of note, they were balling something on the top board when I went to brush them off. I have to say that these gals were pissed about me brushing them off and I received my first sting (on the pinky!) of my beekeeping career. I removed the stinger, just like they say, and all was good. In truth, I was stung at the end of the examination (when I was trying to get those fools off the top board since I was placing the feeder on top of the brood chamber.) I am not certain if this balling indicates robbing or not. I am definitely going to get an entrance reducer on these guys (and probably Hive 1 too, since I do not think it will hurt much) in the next couple of days (and try to level them out a bit more.)

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