Back In the Beek Saddle

I went out to check the hive this morning with more than a little trepidation. Even ever stoic Neil seemed a little concerned after last week’s double whammy of back to back stings with massive reactions. My eyes are just now back to normal even though the sting site on my nose isn’t quite healed. The sting on my arm is still clearly visible and itchy.

Despite is already being near 80 degrees, I made sure my veil was cinched tightly down around the neck of the jacket I’d borrowed from Neil. It was a super breathable white tennis thingy that was loose enough to stay away from my skin and full enough in the cuffs to prevent anyone from climbing into my glove (like last week). I had the smoker billowing like a steam engine and I was wearing my running shoes. I sure wish that sweat didn’t feel so much like bee feet….

but the check was uneventful.

After some thinking about it, I realized I’d probably gotten stung because (a) it was hot and they were cranky and (b) new brood was hatching daily and they were taking their first flights.  Though the sting on my nose happened  when I wasn’t particularly close to the hive, I guess they wanted to make sure I didn’t get any ideas.

This time I made sure that my morning check took place well away from their afternoon business and here is what I saw:

This little sister was emerging

photo 3 (3)This one was also getting some help so she could fly today:

photo 4 (2)

Her Highness is still busy – the hive is full of larvae and capped brood and there are even a few new capped drone cells for some reason.

photo 2 (6)

The cross-combing problem near the doors seems to have slowed down (dare I call it a win for me?).  I still had to cut out some, but it was much less than in the past weeks. This weeks cross combing:

photo 5 (1) versus last weeks cross & double combing:

photo (1)


All the bars have at least two inches of capped honey across the top.  A few are completely full of honey or a honey/bee food combination. About half have some amount of capped brood or larvae in them, and a couple have something that is capped but has been there too long to be brood (though it looks like brood cap, it is much darker yellow).

I love to see bars like this one….

photo 1 (6)

but I’ve decided to not harvest any honey this fall unless something dramatic shifts in the next month. I just don’t feel like the bars are full enough to share. I am hoping for leftovers in the spring!

Last night my neighbors came over to have a look in the hive and much to my relief were completely fascinated and excited. Neil even broke the unspoken rule that we wouldn’t disclose that this was the first year of bees on the property. (We’d thought that if there was a problem we could just act like they’d been there all along).  They were thrilled to have the bees help in their gardens and loved the idea of doing “our” part to save the bees even without the bribe of honey! They even offered to take care of the chickens and watch over the bees while we are in Ireland next month.

Now to find some Irish top bar bee keepers I can visit…..



2 thoughts on “Back In the Beek Saddle

  1. Glad all went well on this inspection. We had some friends and fellow beekeepers here today for our inspection and the girls were frantic. Don’t think they like the smell of their clothes. They are usually so docile but not today. One of our friends got stung. So did I but I was totally at fault.

    This is the first year for us as well and I have read that seldom do first year hives produce enough to take any honey. As a matter of fact I will definitely feed my hive as they overwinter. They have been hard at work but starting from scratch takes a lot of effort.

    I am really enjoying sharing your journey as we continue ours. We are using Langstroff and not top bar but otherwise there is much in common.

  2. Cindy – one of the greatest things about beekeeping is the opportunity to meet other people passionate about bees! Even though we don’t go at it the same way, we still want the best for the bees in our care. Love hearing from you!

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