Honey Bee Colony

Honey Bee Colony

My main mission if I’m going to look into
a hive is to make sure have a good laying queen and there’s ways later on
that we can sample for pests and disease but I don’t always have to find the
queen when I look through a hive because obviously a large hive with seventy,
eighty thousand bees we may not find her but we want to find evidence that she’s
there and has been laying. We want to find healthy brood and eggs and larvae in
various stages. Here we have the queen excluder. This grid allows workers to
pass through but not the queen, therefore we have a brood nest below it and honey
storage above it. There”ll be honey below it as well but this prevents the queen
from laying eggs in the supers that we may potentially harvest and it’s really stuck down. So when you lift your queen excluder, she
can’t be on this side but she could potentially be walking on this side, so you definitely want to inspect that. You’d hate to have your queen on this side and set her off in the grass. I rarely
remove the frame on the wall – the wall of the hive because a lot of times it’s bridged
to the wall and when you pull it you’ll break come and have honey running and
probably crush some bees on the way out. So I usually go for the second frame in.
You can use the hive tool here to pry and separate those frames. That creates space for you to lift that first frame. I’ll lift one edge. I have my fingers on it. This is a little more challenging with gloves but most folks will start by using gloves.
As you gain experience it’ll probably be the first thing you’re happy to leave behind
because you can feel your hands and you’ll be much more careful. I’m coming up nice and straight with that frame. These girls have a nice bunch of honey up top
here. So we’ll show you what we’re looking at. All this is a band of capped honey. In here
we have mostly empty cells, but there is a little pollen and we mentioned drones. There’s a
drone right there at my fingertip. Notice the large eyes on the front of his head.
Compared to the worker he’s blunt, he’s wide, has the very large eyes and then these are all workers around here. There’s the drone. It stands out quite a
bit. Drones don’t have stingers, so if you want to impress
your friends, you can pick up a drone without getting stung. See those large eyes, and he has large eyes because he has one purpose in life and that’s to find the back end of a queen with those big eyes. Now on the other side, we got a lot of workers, a lot
of capped honey. Here’s another drone here. And then in here, I don’t know how well you can see it but there’s a lot of pollen stored in here. Okay, the honey is the bees’ carbohydrate or energy source. That’s what allows them to generate heat in the winter, to survive
the winter when they’re clustered. It allows them to produce energy for flight but
the pollen is what they need, that’s their protein source. That’s what they need to
generate brood food and feed their babies and fatten themselves up for winter as
well as a protein source. So I’ve removed one frame and I’ve
glanced over that to make sure my queen’s not on it, because if she was there I wouldn’t want to set this frame down. I should have brought a perch. There’s a thing called a
frame perch and you can hang this frame on the side of the hive. I just didn’t bring one up so I’m going to carefully rest this frame beside the hive. Now that I’ve created space
here, I can move frames apart and there’s lots of room to lift a frame without
crushing bees are rolling bees on the face of the come. As you pull a frame, if it
gives you a resistance sometimes there’s a bulge in the comb and you’ll role and
crush bees on the face of that. So now that I’ve created space, I can use my tool to pry this frame over into that space and it’s stuck down below so it’s going to
take some work with the tool to pry it up. I’m careful how I place the tool not to crush a lot of bees as I do that but it’s it’s really stuck to the next box below and I can see down in here we’re going to get some brood on this one. So I come straight up
with the frame, nice and deliberately and ok what we’re looking at here – lots of worker bees. We have honey in the corners and
this is where brood is. What you’re seeing here compared to the capped honey – capped honey is very waxy. Capped brood is a little more papery or leathery looking. The
color will vary. On a young come it’ll be real light tan like this. On an old comb
it may be really dark. If they’re bringing in certain kinds of pollen, that may
affect the color so you can’t really go by color on this capped brood but then I
want to look down in these cells. We’re in a shady spot right here but you want the sun coming over your shoulder say from the direction of the camera and
you tilt that frame and get the sun to shine down into the cells and with the sunlight shining down the cells, you should be able to see eggs or larvae and with the angle I’m turning this
frame to get the angle right and I can see that as that capped brood hatched, the
little bit of capped brood we see, the queen has gone in and replaced all those cells
with eggs. Every cell in there’s got an egg in it. So this would be a very good
frame to find the queen on. Very likely you’d find her here because the frame is
covered in eggs. If you see the bottom of the cell there’s it’s a it’s a very tiny
little egg down in the bottom of the cell and then just keep the camera and as we turn this side, the queen was here a little sooner. You know maybe a day or two before, three days ago because there’s a lot of young larvae. We call that milk brood because you can see the jelly
down in the cells. For my purposes I’ve found what I need to find. I know I’ve
got a queen that’s laying well. It’s a robust hive of bees. It’s made almost three
supers full of honey… close to 250 pounds of honey and she’s laying but we’ll go
on to the next frame and see if we can show you a little more. Workers are
raised horizontally; queens are raised vertically. This is not a queen cell so
to speak, but it’s a cup. It’s where they would place an egg and raise a queen
down here. There’s another one on the other side. It’s a little more developed. Right here – you can see into the end of it. Now if that was had an egg or was full of jelly, I would know these bees were replacing
their queen. Either they’d swarmed or they were replacing the queen for some reason. Maybe just a
really really vigorous hive like this is going to send the queen out with a portion of the bees to start a new colony and the raise queens back home to replace her.
That’s where that tool is really useful. I don’t have the finger strength to pull
that frame up just on its own. Here we really going to see something. This is a really nice frame full of capped brood. So this area here, all this light
brown, that’s all capped brood. That’s at nine days after she lays that egg, they put that capping over it and that’s when the bee pupates. That’s when it goes from a worm to pupa which eventually at 21 days hatches and becomes a bee like
you see here. Honey in the corners, a band of pollen around the top of that brood
which may be kind of hard to see but they store the protein for making brood food
right around the brood. Let’s see what the other side has to show us. Lots lots more
capped brood on this side. This queen’s really doing a nice job. Lots of capped brood – some of it’s starting to hatch.
Lots of food around the brood good population; however, this is
deceiving. It’s the time of year when this massive population that made a
large honey crop is susceptible, greatly susceptible to crash in from
these varroa mites. The best hives who makes the most honey, it takes a lot of bees to
make a lot of honey and varroa mites reproduce down under these brood
cappings. I guarantee if we cut some brood open, we’d find mites down under
some of this brood and once that mite population reaches a peak your best
colonies by raising the most brood and having the strongest best honey
gathering ability will be the first ones to crash from mites because they
produced the biggest mite populations. So it’s kind of a sleeper situation. You
think, ‘Oh well they made all that honey and they did so well all season I don’t
have to worry about them’ but they’re the ones you have to worry the most about and so
we’ll be monitoring mite populations and determine if these girls need to be
treated to reduce mite populations at this point in the season.

6 thoughts on “Honey Bee Colony”

  1. if bees have colonies then why aren't they named
    new jersey
    north carolina
    south carolina
    rhode island
    new hampshire
    new york

    also i wonder why they haven't formed into countries yet

  2. Thanks for the comments on capped brood!!! Texture is the key rather than the color as I have seen both and thought capped brood was only the rusty brown. Great video!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *