Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Beeladee: Spring Inspection 4/14/15

I went into my hive in March for a quick inspection. The hive was still full of bees, but the queen was laying in a very spotty pattern. The brood was spread over several combs instead of in a tight cluster. I also noticed several dark combs that needed to be culled out.

I went back in for a more complete inspection on April 14th. I saw larvae, capped brood and a few pupae, although they were quite sparse. I did not find the queen, but saw there were several very young larvae, so she had to be present.

During the past two inspections I noticed empty queen cells. Each time I crushed them so in future inspections, I could distinguish whether there were new queen cells or the same ones I had already noted. I am hoping the hive will requeen itself. I would think that most any queen would be better than the one that is there!

Both times I inspected I noticed one very small black beetle. I panicked thinking it might be small hive beetles. After reading up on this, I think the beetles I found were much too small to be small hive beetles. I will keep a close watch for more in future inspections.

I also saw a wax moth larva in the last inspection. This is a sign I need to get that old, dark wax out, as that is what the wax moths are after.

During the last inspection I spread the new comb throughout the hive and started moving the dark comb to the back. I will wait until all the brood are hatched, then remove the dark comb. 

I will need to open the hive at least once a week for the next few weeks until I see evidence of a stable queen. If the hive will not requeen itself, then I will order a new queen. I would prefer a wild queen for genetic diversity. My last two queens have come from swarming and natural requeening.

For a description of my note taking process see Beeladee: Hive Inspection 5/3/14

Photo by Bethany Henderson


  1. Thank you for sharing your beekeeping adventures. We just got our first hive a couple weeks ago. I will be sharing your post with my husband and son so they know what to look for when they are opening up the hives to check on the bees. I've got our first beekeeping post scheduled for next Monday. It is pretty funny. Hope you have a great week!

    1. Looking forward to hearing how your hive progresses. There are lots of variations and ideas about beekeeping. There are different types of hives, different ideas about frames (wax foundation, foundationless frames) and different strains of bees. Then there is the debate about treating the hive, allowing or preventing swarms, etc. I'm still a fairly new beekeeper. My husband has kept bees in the past and introduced me to the hobby. I enjoy reading and learning along the way!