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Darn. Just finished my fourth inspection of my one hive, and squashed a few of the ladies, for the first time, I'm pretty sure. Previously the frames were light enough, and not so sticky with propolis that I had an easy time maneuvering them. They're Buckfasts, which are known for propolis build-up ... gonna have to get used to it, I suppose! I also got stung for the first time. Not so bad -- no swelling -- but sharp and startling.

I hope you don't mind if I share a few other thoughts ...

Those full deep frames are heavy -- I don't yet have a frame grabber (back ordered at BMBF!), so I use the hive tool to pry them loose, and then use my fingertips to pull them out and hold them. I find I really need to have a good grip, with at least one finger (sans gloves) beneath the overhang to be sure I have sufficient hold on it before lifting. (Not sure how anyone does that with gloves -- too clumsy!) Might they be five or six pounds apiece? Not heavy in the sense of serious weight, but considering it's just a frame of wood filled in with wax, pollen, honey, and bees, it's remarkably dense.

While I didn't see the queen, there's plenty of evidence for her presence: the frames are side-to-side and top-to-bottom with capped brood cells, with honey generally at at the edges. That's the way it's supposed to be, isn't it?

I'm going foundationless, and they're just terrific at drawing the comb to fill the frames -- just a tiny bit is left unfilled at the bottom of each frame so far -- from a quarter- to half-inch ... just about the standard width of bee space.

I broke some cells when I pulled out a frame, and there was a small reservoir of honey that the gals immediately clustered around, drinking as much as they could. I was envious! It disappoints me to have a screen over my face, because that honey looks (and smells) delicious. Does anyone ever bring a small jar for smearing of some of the honey for later tasting? I'm thinking of that for the next inspection -- just a teaspoon or two.

Seems to me that this spring in the Northeast has been just about perfect for bees: the occasional rain followed by several days of bright sunshine and warmth. I hope it makes up a bit for the rainy disaster that was '09.

All done! Wishing you healthy and happy hives, and excellent weather, too.


Mig
 

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Just stick the tip of your finger into the comb and get a taste! The bees will quickly repair any damage you do. Just be aware that you may be just tasting sugar syrup if these are newly started package bees.
 
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