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Hive work

On Thursday (May 30th for my records) I opened up the hive to do some major work. The bees were not building comb down from their top bars as some crazy hippies said they would, so I replaced single top bars with full frames, still without starter foundation but with cardboard strips covered in beeswax to jumpstart the process. I did this for two frames in the hive body and eight frames in the super. (The rest of the space in the hive body is working comb, and the extra space in the super is holding the sugar feeder.) If this doesn't make any sense to you that's fine, I'm only trying to keep a record for later years so I can look back and laugh, "What on earth was I doing??? I was the worst beekeeper in the world!"

In my imagined future I have an increased level of competence and/or humor.

The part I was most worried about was scraping off the ill-placed comb that the bees had built up rather than down. You can see it as big mounds in this picture.

Leah in her beekeeping suit removing messed-up comb from the hive

what are you doing, any of you?>>

The good news is that beeswax is rather soft, and the comb came off with the sharp end of my hive tool. You can see it cutting in the next photo. What you can also see in that photo is smoke pouring out of my smoker. One of the reasons this hive inspection went so much better than the previos one is that 1) I didn't drop my smoker, and 2) I did it on a hot sunny afternoon. There were way fewer bees in the hive and they were way less angry at me than the last time I came.

a close-up of the comb, many bees, and some smoke from the smoker

smoking makes them calm

So theoretically the bees should be doing what they should be doing now, making comb correctly and filling it with honey. Though what they're really doing inside there is anybody's guess. Today what they're doing in the 90 degree weather is pouring out of the hive onto the running board and buzzing around like they're absolutely crazy. Which is basically what my kids have been doing, so I'm not going to freak out about their behavior YET. (I saw some of them sleeping outside this morning and confronted Dan in bed, at 6am, asking whether he thought I should buy another hive body for space. He looked at me like you should look at a mad woman holding a baby and asking for fifty discretionary dollars at 6 in the morning. He told me to calm down and wait until the heatwave is over.)

I'll do another inspection in about a week when I get a new fancier sugar feeder and another super. The cost of these bees has just jumped by $100, to $450 so far. They'd better give us A LOT of honey.

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