Checking the Squash Hives and Adding Supers

On July 9th, we inspected our hives at our Squash Yard. One of the hives already had two supers on it. The other one would most likely need supers added to it.

The homeowner at our squash hives put a bird bath out for the bees. She put rocks in the water so that the bees would not drown.


It is a really beautiful way to provide water for the bees.


Here we are beginning the hive inspection. Bethany is looking in her hive’s supers. They had not done much in the supers yet. Abigail is still putting her gloves on.


Abigail’s bees had quite a few frames to build out. That is why they did not get supers put on as quickly as Bethany’s hive got supers.


Bethany’s hive had lots of young pupae. We know they are young because of the light colored cappings.


Both Bethany and Abigail inspected the bottom boxes of their hives. Both queens laid lots of brood.


The squash hives were building up nicely. We added two supers to Abigail’s hive. We decided to add two supers at once because the supers had filled out frames. Because the bees do not have to make beeswax, they are able to work harder at making honey.


Fun Fact: Before Bethany straps her hive down she takes of her suit. She does this because she gets really hot in her suit.


The squash hives seemed to be doing really good. We were excited to see how they would continue to grow.


Cleaning Up After EFB

Upon the State Apiarists suggestion, we euthanized my hive and one of our nucs that had EFB. We talked about why we came to this decision in our blog post Inspecting the Hives with the State Apiarist. We euthanized the hives by taping up all the entrances to that the bees could not leave their hive. After a couple of months, all the bees had died and we were able to clean up the equipment and decide what to keep and what to throw away.

Bethany and I went through the super together. The super was clean enough that we decided to freeze the frames and use them again. This did not risk passing the EFB on because EFB is a brood disease. It is not normally in the super.


Here is what the top of the deep looked like. It also smelled of EFB and dead brood.


Here is a brood frame. As you can see, it is slightly moldy. We decided to throw out the brood frames.


Here is Bethany and I looking through more of the frames. The smell was so bad you could smell it from our front porch.


Most of the dead bees had fallen onto the bottom board. Small hive beetles had invaded the hive and were eating what was left. In order to make sure the small hive beetles did not make it into our other hives, we threw the larvae away.


We then looked in the nuc. The nuc frames were also really gross. We threw the nuc frames away as well.


The nuc frames had a lot more mold then the deep frames.


There is dead brood on this frame. The nurse bees must have died before this brood emerged.


Here is the bottom of the nuc. We threw all the gunk on the bottom away.


In order to ensure that all the traces of EFB were eliminated, I scorched the boxes, bottom board, inner and outer cover, and nuc. We now can reuse all this equipment. I also scorched the hive tool we used to clean the equipment up.


Here I am scorching the inside of the deep box.


Cleaning up equipment is a very unpleasant task, but must be done. We were glad we were able to keep some of the equipment.


East Side Library Hive Inspection Presentation

On July 2nd, I gave a Hive Inspection Presentation at the East Side Library as the CIBA Honey Queen. First, I introduced myself. Then I explained what a beekeeper wears when inspecting. I explained that different beekeepers will wear different amounts of protection.

Next I explained a beekeeper’s tools. In the picture below, I am pretend smoking the hive entrance. A beekeeper smokes the bees to calm the bees down and mix up their attack pheromones.

East Side Hive Inspection - July 2nd, 2019

After I removed the outer cover and inner cover, I explained the difference between a super and a deep. A super is where the honey bees store the honey and the deep is where the honey bees raise the brood. In this picture, I am removing the super so that I can “inspect” the deep.


Here I am showing a real frame that has honey in it. I also showed a frame that shows the life cycle of honey bees. Finally, I talked about how the bottom board is the bees entrance.

East Side Hive Inspection - July 2nd, 2019 (3)

After my presentation, all the kids and adults were able to make a rolled beeswax candle. This picture shows all the colors they got to choose from.

East Side Hive Inspection - July 2nd, 2019 (4)

Here are some of the kids making a candle. This craft is a favorite wherever I do it. Everyone also got to plant pollinator friendly seeds to take home.


This was such a fun program.


Checking for Eggs in Early July

A few days after we put a queen into a hive, we had to take the queen cage out and check for eggs. Because she is a mated queen she will lay eggs right away after being released from her cage.

We fed Olivia’s hive because we gave them lots of empty frames to build out.

Here is a frame of old larvae and pupae. Notice our dad is observing the scene.


In this corner, you can see larvae and capped brood.


Another frame of old brood. Because they did not see eggs, Mom and Olivia checked the queen cage.


This is what we found in the queen cage. A queen! She had no way of getting out of this cage so we pulled a staple out of the end and put the queen in a new plastic queen cage.


With the queen safely back in a cage in the hive we went to the next hive to look for eggs. This is Mom with a frame with some fresh, white comb.


If you look closely at this frame you should be able to see eggs and larvae. Again this frame has very fresh, white comb. By the the time these eggs and larvae are adults the comb will be brown instead of white.


We packed up both hives and on the next day Olivia and Mom took out the plastic queen cage that the queen had emerged out of so it would not get covered with wax.