Inspection of Hive #1 and evidence of a fight

I’ve been a bit behind in my posting. The pictures and info I am posting now are actually from last Sat. The week before that I had done a inspection of hive #2, and now it was time for hive #1.

It was a bit cooler when I did this inspection. We had finally gotten some cooler weather instead of unseasonably warm 95 degree weather. I think it was probably mid 70’s when I checked on the bees, but it had been dropping down to the 50’s for a couple of nights. I still had the screened bottoms open ( and still do). I haven’t decided when I will close them up. Some people keep them open year round, but I am not sure I will do that. The first thing I noticed was though there were a good number of bees coming and going, there wasn’t the normal pile of bees hanging out at the front door. Its about time, they have been doing that all summer. 🙂

I gave both hives some sugar syrup, and proceeded with the inspection. The first surprise I ran into looked like evidence of a little bit of a fight. Luckily, it looked like my girls won.

I picked this dead carpenter bee off the inside of the screened bottom. I looked around a bit, and came to the conclusion that the only way she could have gotten in was through the entrance. I can only assume there was a fight and my girls defended their home. I wouldn’t have guessed a carpenter bee would try to get in, but it appears thats what must have happened. I didn’t find any evidence of the carpenter bees trying to nest at all (I wouldn’t want them drilling holes in my hive). As I went on with the inspection (I start at the back top-bars and move forward, I found another inside, and even one outside.

The one on the inside was dead, but the one on the outside was still alive (but moving too much). Interestingly, the bees were completely ignoring it. After taking the picture of the one hanging on the bottom, I gave it a good poke with my hive tool (I figured I was safe wearing a jacket and veil. It dropped to the ground buzzing, and I got another surprise.

Its a drone. As I noted earlier this year when I found an area with a bunch of nesting carpenter bees (and lots of drones), you can tell the drones from the females because of the yellow patch on their foreheads. Here’s a picture of a female for contrast (taken earlier this year).

Although I really don’t know much about their mating schedule, I am surprised that the drones would be around this late since they were out in force in April. I think that maybe this guy smelled the dead females and was there to check them out. Just to see, I checked hive #2 quickly and found on dead carpenter bee. So, between the two hive there were three dead females inside, and one live drone outside.

As for the bees, they seem fine. Hive #1 is about in the same state as hive #2. There is a little capped honey and more uncapped. The population of bees seems good for the time of year and weather. There are still capped brood, and I was able to see larva in various stages. I even ran across the queen who seems fine. All in all, the bees seem to be doing well. I still plan on feeding them a bit to make sure they have the stores needed for winter.

Today, I added some more syrup and checked to see if there were any more carpenter bees (there were none). Other than watching them coming and going, I left them alone however.

4 Responses to “Inspection of Hive #1 and evidence of a fight”

  1. John Says:

    Just curious as to the stores of honey in your two hives. How much are you guessing you have? What’s the recommended amount needed to over winter a hive in your area? Any sign of small hive beetle?


  2. kawayanan Says:

    I have seen a few SHB in the hives, but not many. I haven’t seen any evidence of damage from them yet. As for the amount of honey stores my hives have and what needed, I can’t give a good answer. Only one comb had capped honey, but a number of combs had uncapped stores. I think by dimensions my combs are larger than a langstroth deep frame (I’ll have to double check that though). I am also not sure how much people like to leave here for hives to overwinter. The winter is reasonably mild here though, and I think I can probably feed for a good while yet. I have to check with some local people to get a better idea of what stores a hive needs.

  3. Mark Says:

    Glad to hear all is well. I was wondering if the girls got the best of you!
    I like to have a minimum of 40lbs of honey for a 10 frame deep langstroth. For me, that’s one medium super of honey, plus some back-filling they do into the deep. Several frames of pollen are needed as well for the late winter biuld up. The nice thing about mild winters are the days they will take feed between the cold snaps. It seems to me if bees starve here, it is in Feb-Mar. Pollen becomes available then, build up is well under way, and there are more mouths to feed, but no flow yet. It really pays to keep up with them on warm winter/early spring days.

  4. nitacools Says:

    Lovely picture of the spider. I was wondering is you got any pics of the family on that walk. Would love to see them.
    Love, Mom

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