The first thing I do when I get there is walk in front of the hives and watch the activity from each one. You can tell quite a bit just by looking. You can see how much activity and what they’re bringing in.
The first hive, a new one this year since the original didn’t make it through the winter, worried me quite a bit when I walked up. I didn’t see much activity at the entrance, which was a definite concern.
Hive two, a second year hive, was showing a ton of activity with most of the bees bringing in nectar with some pollen here and there. Overall, a good first look
Hive three, another new hive that replaces a winter deadout, looked reasonably active. I wasn’t too concerned.
Clearly the big priority was to check on the first hive. First year hives can do crazy things … rejecting queens is a surprisingly common problem.
I quickly opened up the hive and found that despite my fears they were building out pretty well. Not quite where I wanted them to be, but they’re not too far off. Overall, doing reasonably well for a first year hive.
I then skipped over to hive three and opened it up. It’s was also doing well, arguably a bit worse than hive one, despite the additional activity at the entrance.
One interesting thing I noticed is that both of these hives didn’t really do much with the pollet patties I gave them right after hiving the packages. Normally they’ll eat it right up, but it would seem that they found plenty of natural pollen available. Always a good thing!
Finally, hive three. I was looking forward to pulling this one apart. I had supered it earlier in the year since it was going gangbusters. Sure enough, two deeps and a medium super full of bees awaited me when I opened up this hive. Overall, they had about 3/4 of a super full of uncapped honey.
Since this was about halfway through the blackberry flow in the area, I was quite pleased with what was there. I’m hoping that I’ll end up with a couple supers full of honey. At 40lbs of honey per super, that’s a nice amount.
I’m hoping to get up there again in the next day or two and pull whatever I can off. We’ll see…