So 2 weeks ago I installed my package of bees and since then they have been busy, the weather has been fine, there is plenty of nectar and pollen and I have been topping up the frame feeder regularly. I have of course gone in and had a quick check to see that the comb is being built straight and that everything is going OK but not had a thourgh frame by frame look.
So last Monday, I got kitted out, lit the smoker and went in to do my first real inspection. I was looking for the following:
- Eggs or Brood on the comb as proof the queen was laying
- Confirmation that all the comb was being built straight
- General progress in terms of any stores, so I could guage when to stop feeding
There was comb on all 6 bars infront of the follower board, with the most complete being 2/3 complete. I had deliberately restricted space in the hive to encourage the bees to fully fill each frame – they were doing well but there was still a way to go.
I found it very difficult to view the comb carefully due to the number of bees on the comb and as the comb was still very fresh and delicate I really did not want to “knock” the bees off or disturb things too much. I was able to find capped drone cells and what I believe was capped worker cells however the cappings were smoother and less yellowy than I had expected. I did see larvae but could not make out any eggs through the veil and the bees!
There was also a sealed supercedure cell on the bottom of a developing comb. I believe that this kind of cell is common in a newly installed package but it did concern me that I might be over-crowding or over-feeding the bees.
There was a quite a lot of pollen and capped “honey” stores ( though it ws probably mostly syrup ) on the comb.
The conclusions I reached is that the queen is present and laying. The comb was near perfect. The existance of a supercedure queen cell did concern me but I chose to leave the cell there and trust the bees to do the “right thing” for them. I did however decide to try influence the decision by moving the follower board back to make more space and inserted one empty bar into the middle of the brood nest, to “open it up” and another at the back of the hive. The presence of capped stores, means that I should probably stop feeding now but the addition of the extra bars meant I wanted to continue “stimulating” comb development a little longer, so I anticipate removing the frame feeder next week.