Honeybee Inspection Day

I have been keeping an eye on my bees this Spring after the fiasco I faced last Spring. There's nothing like having a houseful of company in from out of state and looking out at your beehive that's decided to swarm. Yes, May 2010 was eventful. So much busy work getting ready for the big event of my son's graduation that I had neglected to watch for the signs of a potential swarming to come. I should have known. Spring blooming was strong and everything was nice and lush around here. That kind of activity tells the bee colony that they need more workers to collect nectar and pollen. But, I was just too busy to see it, until it was close to being too late. Thanks to the help of my dad and some quick thinking we were able to set up the second hive to attract the swarm. It was touch and go for awhile but in the end we succeeded!

In case you are wondering, I have two Kenyan Top Bar Hives. I have a lot of reasons for choosing it because of the more natural environment. I have previous posts that explain it in further detail here about beekeeping.

Being May again I am monitoring those hives like a hawk. I'm ready with the third hive if needed. 

This is a brood comb where bees are raised
The  brood comb will be darker and the wax harder. The raised cells are drones. The flat will be workers. No queen cells here.  

This is an actual honey comb that is just starting to be filled.
In a Top Bar Hive it is behind the brood combs. The wax is light and they will  add more combs as the season progresses

This is the new hive we added last year. By moving several bars of brood combs from the older hive about to swarm, they stopped and relocated to this hive which is next to the older one. See the different color bars?

Every bee has a job and these are a couple of undertaker bees removing one that has died.

The bees are doing well and the hive looks healthy. I am concerned though about another round of cross-combing in the older hive. I battled this last year and cleaned them out, checked that the hive was level and it still happened. How do you tell a bee they are building honeycombs the wrong way? I just hate it because inspecting the honey area always causes damage to the combs they are forming. The new hive is fine thankfully. I will just keep checking and see what I can do.

Honey harvesting here starts at the end of June through July. And last year's honey was delicious! 


  1. I've always wondered how much space you need to keep a hive. Living in a city I'm not sure my neighbors would appreciate/understand if I kept a hive being so close to their backyard and where their children play.

  2. There is a big trend right now for urban beekeeping. Bees don't need as much space as you would think. Here's a link for some guidelines - http://outdoorplace.org/beekeeping/citybees.htm

    A lot of people who call themselves urban homesteaders keep bees. Also, NYC does a lot of beekeeping on rooftops. They have amazing gardens/parks there and I know its because of the bees. :)


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