Saturday, March 3, 2018

First Hive Inspection of 2018

Okay, y'all. Here we go. Spring is busting out here in Tennessee and the weather was finally fine enough for me to pop the hives open this week and take a peek. We had super cold temps in January a long with everyone else. Five degrees and several days when the mercury doesn't rise above freezing are pretty unusual for us so I was a bit concerned about how the girls were faring. On the other hand I wishing an icy death to all the pests that plague them. February brought record rainfall. Of the 28 days in the month it rained 21 of them! We broke a rain record set in 1948.

Enough with the weather report (being a beekeeper means I pay more attention to the weather than a normal person).  Let's look at the bees!

I went into last summer with 7 hives but a couple were struggling and I combined then in the fall. They morphed into a super strong hive that came through with flying colors.

In the photo above you can see a gorgeous brood pattern. Each of those little brown circles is a capped brood cell which means they contain baby bees! This is the thing that makes a beekeeper's heart go pitty pat, or buzz, buzz or something. Anyway it's a very good sign.

When I opened this hive I noticed that the outer cover was rotten and needs to be replaced. Flaky wood is just the kind of place the dreaded small hive beetles would love for a hiding spot.

More bees and beautiful capped brood. The stuff on top is called burr comb and will get cleaned off when I do more thorough inspections.

The one dead hive had two small clumps of bees on the frame so I think the cluster was just too small to generate enough heat to stay warm and they froze during a sudden cold snap too far away from their food source. I'm starting this season with 5 healthy looking hives and enough extra equipment on hand to make splits if the bees build up and look swarmy as the weather warms.


  1. The survivors must be tough to get through all that rain! You surely deserve some sunshine now.

  2. Yes! And we rarely ever had the cold temps we had this year. One morning it was 2 degrees! Lots of the beekeepers I follow on SM up north were very worried about their bees and reporting temps of -35F. I'm seeing now that many of them had huge losses.


Let's put the social back in social media and continue the conversation on Facebook! Check out the Pen and Hive Page.