One week ago today, I became a beekeeper. I am learning so much and having fun with my new hobby!
At this point, there is not a lot to “do” for my bees. Mostly, they just need time to settle in, find their way around their new home, and build up their hive. So to encourage that, today I planted some of their favorite herbs, veggies and flowers. All told, I put in rosemary, salvia, lavender, dill, cilantro, yarrow, sunflowers, borage, zucchini and cucumbers today.
I have to say, the thyme that I planted last year (pictured below, toward the right, with the light blue flowers) seems to be the bees’ favorite thus far.
Here is a close-up of one of my girls enjoying the thyme! Super pretty, right? I love watching them work!
On another note, I did tackle my first hive inspection yesterday. All by myself.
I went back and forth on whether or not to smoke the hive for the inspection. Ultimately, I chose not for right now. Smoking causes the bees to consume honey stores, and at this point, there is not much reserve. I can always do that for later inspections, but it didn’t seem necessary this time, so I’m glad I didn’t.
First Inspection Observations
To inspect my hive, I first took the super (top box) off of the deep (lower box). (You will see what a “Nervous Nelly” I am when removing the first frame. It got much more comfortable as I went along!) While I am still so new to noticing what I am seeing, I was able to see some promising signs thus far:
- I saw a good amount of larva on most of the frames! This means that my queen has been laying well, throughout the hive, within the last 1-3 days.
- I also saw a fair amount of pollen. Pollen stores in the comb is an indication that the bees have been able to get out and find it in our neighborhood. That is super positive!
- It seemed like there were an awful lot of bees!! The large number of bees reassured me, after losing quite a few due to the disruption of their installation last week.
It will be a week to 10 days before I open my hive again to check on my babies. While it is important to get in there and see what’s going on, any more frequent than that is detrimental to the colony. Fortunately, I can observe an awful lot just from hanging out around the outside and observing behavior! (And hopefully, the next inspection will be with my mentor, Lindsay. She will be able to diagnose the health of my hive with much more precision than I’m able to at this point!)