May 24, 2012 Hive Check

Things did not look good this morning when I took a look at the bottom board of my hive.  The first thing I noticed was an accumulation of debris sprinkling the floor and about ten dead bees (at least they weren’t moving and looked to be dead at the time).  I took a long stick and slid it inside to rake them out into a plastic cup.  All but one were drones.  I was also surprised by the lack of attention I got from any guard bees.  No one came out to take a look.

My morning schedule didn’t allow me to linger, so I decided to open the hive when I returned in the afternoon and about 1:00 p.m., I got my smoker going.  The sun was warm overhead and as I put on my beesuit, I thought perhaps I might try going without.  It is hot and the hat is cumbersome.   I left it on though and gave a puff of smoke into the entrance before opening the hive top.  Since the bees seemed really calm, I set the smoker down and removed the inner cover next.  I could see activity towards the top part of the frames and gently removed one of the outer frames, so I could slide over the others and take a look for brood comb near the center.

Here is what I saw:






Since I’m a “new-bee” beekeeper, my first thoughts are that I saw more drones than I wanted to see. The drones coming out are really fat, so fat that they can’t fly.  I am finding them on the ground where the ants are taking them away as fast as they can catch them.

My queen isn’t marked, but I think I saw her when I was inspecting the hive.  There were capped cells, uncapped cells with larvae inside, and cells with new bees exiting.  The ones I saw coming out were drones.  I suspect that my next step will be to requeen, but may take a second look tomorrow and examine things a little more closely.  Intuition tells me something is off though!



I love beetles and keep bees! In my free time, I enjoy photography (mostly bugs) and documenting insect species found on San Juan Island. I have limited availability for local, onsite beekeeping consultation and hive inspection, honey bee removal/swarm collection as well as phone/skype consultation. Contact me at Member Washington State Beekeepers Association
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One Response to May 24, 2012 Hive Check

  1. Harry Kuheim says:

    I can’t see any eggs…seems like a lot of Drone cells. Stop by my place and take a look at my bees to get a view of more bees…bring a veil.

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