Isn't she beautiful? A very long dark native queen. It took me a while to find her within the three brood boxes. After twenty minutes I finally did and I managed to mark her with green paint which represents 2014, although she is a 2013 queen and should be marked with red paint.
This was a task I was dreading. Finding one bee among thousands can be a problem. Now that she is marked, it should make beekeeping for the rest of this season much easier, as I make nuclei in the coming weeks.
I was sorting through old frames and I cut out the old wax from them to use the frames again. I am moving towards foundation less frames this year. This means that I will no longer be adding frames with wax foundation to the hives. This will allow the bees to build their own comb using their own cell size.
To ensure that they build the comb with in the frame, I checkerboard the foundation less frames between drawn frames.
This is a bucket of bees wax that I harvested. I need to heat and filter it before storing it for use later. I use the beeswax for balms and salves.
It was my first open hive inspection of this year. Both hives are doing well and I was hoping to take a nuc from one. I changed my mind as I realised that there wasn't any drone brood and the hives themselves were not strong enough yet in numbers for this. I will check again in two weeks. I am eager to establish nucs early in the season, the latest by the end of May. This will give them a reasonable chance of establishing for winter.
I took out some empty drawn frames and put in foundation less. This will encourage drone brood in the first frame or two as there are no beekeepers in my area to rely on for drones.