Well I attempted a full inspection today.....
background; Both were packages installed in early April.hive 1
:2 deep bodies/ 2 supers (1 full, and one they are just playing around on...) this is my stronger hiv
e and has dramatic orientation flights on some days...I took 2 frames (our first!!!!) of honey off about 12 days ago - This hive may have experienced some robbing when I returned the scraped frames back to the hive, (I reduced their entrance) but overall shows no sign of robbing, or attack by yellow jackets or the pesky wild honey bees... hive 2 :
had to be re-queened about 12 weeks after the package was installed. So after being queen-less for a while, they have only been queen-right since the end of June. They have 2 deep bodies. (one is about 80% drawn - with just 50% or less in the other) this is my weaker hive.
I feel good about the progress they've made, and there is a good bunch of bees/eggs/ honey/ pollen happening in there, but the yellow jackets and wild honey bees have made a regular practice of pestering, invading, and fighting with them.
There are brood and eggs in both hives. And believe it or not - i saw both queens today!!
One of them is not even marked, but she was noticeably larger and had a very plump abdomen. What a treat.
Hive 2 was easy to inspect. Even though they are somewhat feistier (fighting yellow jackets all day is sure to make ya cranky) I was able to quickly go through each box, and there was no big rush of thieves.
But on hive 1, I was getting into the lower super, and deep (the upper box with the queen in it, is sitting in the lid, uncovered
) and it started to reach pandemonium with the crazy wild black honey bees
and the cursed yellow jackets
all thinking free lunch.
I was afraid to go any deeper because already there were too many intruders. I closed it up; I was happy I'd seen the queen and I held comfort in the good space they have above, and the knowledge that they had nice stores and some
space below when I checked them two weeks ago....Will I have to wait until November to inspect?
SO-QUESTION: When is the latest in the day that is ok to perform an inspection?
The worst of the robbers all head home at dusk, but even the last few hours of daylight they are less prevalent. I live literally in the forest, and the wild honey bees, and yellow jackets seem to be a real issue here. I have been able to help fend them off from the weaker hive; reduced entrance, i put out tons of traps, and I kill them near the hive every morning when they are the worst. (a dead yellow jacket is great yellow jacket bait BTW) my husband also claims to have found a nest and is going to do some sort of death mist on them after dark....
I would hate for those wild black bees, or the yellow jackets to start/continue their wild robbing frenzy aided by my opening the hive all the way up. Can I wait until say, 7 or 8 at night to inspect this time of year?
P.S Did I read on here somewhere that you can cover the boxes that are off during inspections with a towel? or something...?
PPS. What was another beautiful sight, was the way they had cleaned up the frames that i'd returned after scraping off the comb for a mini harvest ( 8.5 lbs!) they removed everything from it so impressively!! - I had left an edge of uncut/slightly crushed comb for them to start off, and for the most part they had completely removed it
and started over. Those frames are all redrawn with beautiful new comb and have eggs/brood etc in each of them...they liked the room i guess!)
PPPS. I know
i should probably take brood eggs and bees from my butt kicker hive, to give to my weak one. i am getting up the nerve. i do understand the need. I am just nervous...