Since then I have put the legs of the hive in bowls of oil, because I noticed a line of ants marching in and out of the hive.
That seems to work very well (stopping the ants), only drawback was it appears the bees either found the oil very interesting or something, there were quite a few drowned victims in the oil and sadly a few that tried to crawl out only to die in a “frozen” position on the legs. Next task is to put a screen over the oil in a manner that the bees are not able to fall into the oil, but the screen cannot be connected to the bowl so the ants do not have a bridge over the oil. Very complicated! I will take a picture when I have done it. Ants drive me nuts!
Anyway, on this visit, my goal was to have a look at the furthest back combs, the first ones they started near the follower board. I have never looked that far back in my previous inspections.
Here are some things that I noticed:
They are busy with propolis, but not nearly as much as I would have expected. I thought they might try to close up all kinds of gaps, but not the case. They were doing some inside near the roof line, but nothing out of the ordinary.
They are building new comb right on track. Last time I accidentally broke some comb that was sharing a bar, but the new comb is right on place without any coaxing on my part.
I did not use smoke this time, until I was closing it up. That seemed to be great. During the time I had the hive open, the bees were busy and a little disturbed that I was nosing around and brushing them, a few pinging off my veil, but I felt the situation was normal considering that I was all hands and cameras inside their home. THe only time I used smoke is when I was closing up the hive, putting the bars back and trying to push them together, the bees seemed to come up and congregate right in that space between the bars. I would try to brush them down, but they would just come back up to check me out. So I lit the smoker, gave them a puff, and sure enough, down they went, and I was able to push the bars back in place safely.
So attached is my photos of the two last (furthest back) bars. I was expecting (hoping!?) to see ripe honey stores, but not the case.
Things appeared very healthy and normal. I was much more calm and relaxed during this visit. I took my time and worked slowly and deliberately. I liked not using smoke. It seemed to distract me, and it seemed to annoy the bees. I did get one sting through my long sleeve tee-shirt. That is only my third since beginning.
One of these days I am going to slide out the bottom board and clean it. It seems dirty, and I should check for any “foul play”
Until next time,