Today I Participated in an Inspection

Today I have found a mentor!

: a trusted friend, counselor or teacher, usually a more experienced person. (Wikipedia)

A trusted friend and an experienced beekeeper is how I would describe my new friend John.

John is also a member of the EMBA, and has been keeping bees for several years.

I contacted John and told him I'd like to start keeping bees in the spring, and would love to watch him during an inspection. He said he would love to help me out, and invited me to his house for one of the last inspections of the fall before the weather got cold.

Today was the day we decided to meet and inspect his hives. The weather this morning was cloudy and the weather reports were calling for rain. Thankfully, the weather held out long enough for us to perform our inspections.

John had a full Dadant suit, and I (who don't have any gear yet) borrowed John's extra veil. I was really afraid to be so close to the bees without a suit of my own, but it worked out just fine.

The bees were in a good mood today, John said, and our inspections went great.

John currently has 8 hives, one of which is a swarm hive that he had caught previously.

Today our mission was to make it to the bottom of the swarm hive box and determine if there was capped brood, or if the queen was missing (the last inspection there was no brood in the hive), and while we were in the field, to replenish the syrup for the other hives (if needed).

We began by lighting the smoker, putting on our gear, and heading up to the swarm hive.

We opened the hive, and bees filled the air. As my first real up close encounter with the bees, I stayed a few feet back from the hive carefully watching as John opened it up and started removing frames looking for brood.

Finally I worked up the courage to stand right next to the hive and get a good look at what the girls were doing. The first several frames we looked at were full of honey/pollen, but no brood. We (John) kept digging deeper into the hive.

Finally we pulled up a frame that had several dozen cells of capped boood! Hurray! There was definately a laying queen in this hive. We put things back in order and closed up the hive.

Capped BroodThis is a generic (not from John's Hives) picture of capped brood.

In the hive the color of the capped brood we were seeing was a slightly darker brownish/red color. It  was very easy to spot, as it was in the lower/center portion of the frame.

The other hives were all doing very well. Some were taking the sugar syrup, some were not. We replenished syrup where we felt like they were a little light, and left the others alone if we thought they were heavy enough.

As we finished our inspection, I thanked John for the opportunity to visit with him, to see his hives, and expressed how happy I was to establish a new friendship that I hope we'll have for years to come!

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