On 5/11/2013 we opened the installed the package. Below are the pictures we took during the process, is the photographer. Punk #2, future keeper, helped and you can see her doing some of the work with the frames.
We picked early in the morning, but after the hive was active to open it. The idea behind this is to allow some of the hive to go out looking for pollen so that there are not as many in the hive. But we also wanted to take advantage of some of the cold weather was well. You can see that the are active in the picture above. They are coming and going from the front porch.Before we got stated, we wanted to make sure that our smoker was up and running. If you ask keepers, you will find that there are a lot of different ideas on what is best in the smoker. We just put some pine cones and some pine needles in the smoker and started them. It seemed to work pretty well, and I like the smell of burning pine.
The first thing we noticed before we opened the hive, after removing the feeding bucket. The feeding bucket is a way to supplement the bees until they get enough food to maintain themselves. Notice that the bees have started to build out, or create comb upwards towards the feeding bucket. This is a good sign, it could indicate that the hive is close to full and the bees are getting ready to expand.
This is what the hive looks like after we removed the lid. We will work from one side towards the middle and look for several things. We will be looking for comb filled with pollen, some comb filled with honey, but most important, we will be looking for comb with brood in it. And we will be looking for new brood, and cells that have newly laid eggs in them. If we see that, we know that the queen has been accepted and that the colony is now in a good productive state.
The first frame was not drawn out. (We are working form the outside towards the middle) But the second frame was drawn out, both sides have empty comb that is getting ready to be filled with either honey or pollen.
We move onto the forth frame to see what is happening with the brood. The goal here is to get the queen cage out to verify the candy plug has been eaten, and the queen is free in the hive and generating new brood.
With our hive tool, we remove the comb that they started to build up towards the feeding bucket. Punk #2 is holding it here. Notice, comb when it is first created is pure white, it colors over time depending on what the bees use that cell for.
We then get ready to add a new box. The rule I was told is that if the current box is 80% filled, then you add another box to the top. In the process I was also told it is a good idea to move the emtpy frames one or two frames in so they get drawn out quicker.
Put a rock on top to keep it from moving. The higher the profile it has the easier it is for the wind to push or disturb it.