Well, my gear came in the mail late this afternoon and I lost my head. I knew my baby would be waking up any minute, but I had to get out there and see my bees! I put on the veil, lit the smoker, put on a long sleeve shirt, a lab coat, nitrile gloves, a pair of yoga pants and my husband's jeans over them with wellies pulled over top, and raced out there telling my three year old to stay back and hold the chickens for a few minutes (his favorite pastime) while I checked on the hive. The first bar had a narrow strip of wax and it was all uncapped. The second and third were stuck together and when I got them apart I injured a bee.
It looked like brood comb with mostly drone cells (If I'm identifying correctly). The third and fourth were stuck together with a wavy comb. The pulled off top revealed some honey in the top of it. I couldn't get it out of there it was so crooked. I probably should have pulled some more bars out to look at them, but my cell phone rang as I was trying to put another bar back and I jumped and squished at least 4-5 bees.
All I could think was "Oh, no...what if one of those was the queen?!"
At that point I could hear my baby crying on the monitor and my three year old yelling for me so I put the bars on and the lid back and walked away. I learned nothing except that they are at least building comb the right direction. They'd eaten all the sugar water and I hadn't made any more for them. Now I'm thinking I should, but would it be too disruptive to go back out there and put it in this evening?
I'll be gone all day tomorrow at Purdue University for a bee seminar. so I can't do it then. I'm really hoping I gain a lot of insight tomorrow because I'm feeling out of my depth right now!
By the way, the bees all looked different from each other. Most were normal striped, but some looked more solidly yellow and others more solidly black. I didn't see any that I thought might be the queen, but I could have looked right at her (and hopefully didn't squish her while doing so!)
I wish someone around here had a top bar hive who could show me the ropes with their hive or come take a look at mine. The few people I do know keep Langstroths. I guess I could learn what the different combs look like by helping them but I'd love to pick another top bar owners brain!
I didn't like killing bees. I hope I get better at maneuvering without that horrible crushing sound ever occuring.