Tuesday, June 16, 2009

First inspection

My friend Deb took the photos, and I took video. But my video came out all blurry (grrrrr) and Deb wanted to clean up her pictures a little. But she was willing to give me these for starters, so I can ask other beefolk about what I'm seeing. (Click the photos to see them larger)
This was bar No. 7, which is as far as I got (it started thundering and the bees were getting anxious). In other words, there were six bars closer to the front of the hive that I didn't get to. Bars presumably full of brood. I hope! (Twelve bars total were built out.)

But really, I can't tell what brood is supposed to look like. And when I look closer at the bees, as below, I still don't know what I'm seeing.
See that one bee close to the center with her kiester in a cell? Is she a new bee coming out? Or is she a worker laying eggs (my main fear)? She doesn't look like a queen. Or does she?

Beefolk, what do you think?

Edit: The consensus from the Organic Beekeeping group is that the top photo is indeed a good, solid pattern of capped brood (babies). Which means I do have a queen! Hooray!


  1. well i must have terrible eyes, cause i can never even see the eggs when i inspect my own!lol your pics are good and everything looks okay in beeland to me. what beautiful capped honey! don't the uncapped cells just look like liquid amber? gorgeous! i don't know why that one had its butt end in the cell. if the second pic is just an enlargement of the first, it didn't appear as if there was brood on that frame, and the bee itself, didn't have that fuzzy look of a newborn. wish i were more help, but it just all feels right to me.
    okay took a second look using a magnifying glass, and wonder about the cell to the left of the butt bee. i never trust my eyes, but does that look like 3 eggs in that cell to you? don't mean to be an alarmist at all, and if anyone has a magnifying glass, do a look and see what you see. thanks for sharing with us! hugs :)

  2. I only see honey in that comb. Even the cells at the bottom of the picture are reflecting light the way the honey above is. No that's not the queen, once you recognize her, you'll never mistake another bee for being the queen again. She's quite different.

    Eggs are hard to see when you are wearing a veil. If you are braver than ordinary, get yourself a pair of safety googles, the kind that completely protect your eyes with soft silicon rubber around the sides so you don't get stung in the eyes. You can see much better. However with practice you can learn to see fine details with the veil on.

  3. Thanks, Leslie and E! I am super glad to know that the first picture is normal capped brood, so I am sure that I've got a queen. The second one just had me confused!

    I am hoping to get more photos from Deb later today. I need to make a top-bar stand so I can take my own pics, too.

  4. I don't know anything, but it certainly is pretty. I saw a queen in a museum hive a few times. She's bigger than the rest.

  5. I'm in my 2nd year, so don't take my word for the bible, but that looks like nectar at the top of the comb and capped brood. Capped honey - especially on a brand new comb - s/b PURE white. I also see a larva, so that indicates to me that this is a brood comb. It's in the middle (from L to R) where there are 3 cells in a row, at the bottom of the honey strip/top of the brood nest. I bet it'll be capped in another day or so; the grub looks pretty big.

    Your queen has a pretty tight laying pattern, which I'd be very happy with. Just a few missed cells is ok.

    I've got 15 combs, 13 of which are brood. During a strong nectar flow, some colonies with use the first 1 or 2 bars closest to the entrance as a dumping ground for nectar. Stop, drop, and get back out there!

    As for the queen, usually she has a shiny thorax. That makes her a standout for me. Looking for the elongated abdomen is good, but some workers have long abdomens that'll make you wonder. Until you've seen Her Highness, that is! Good luck on your quest... you're off to a great start.

  6. I'm overwhelmed when I look at this because I'm not sure what I'm supposed to see -- but it's amazing. So cool that you're doing this...

  7. YOU are my hero!!!! Wow. I'm simply amazined. I've always been fascinated by bees.

  8. Betts and HB, yeah, she should be somewhat bigger and, well, different looking. If I'd been thinking, I would have asked Deb to take a close-up of each comb front and back and might have found her that way, but she's not on any of the comb I do have pictures of.

    But that's OK. I know she's there now.

    Thanks for all the hints, HB! I will need to go back in soon, because I'm seeing some side attachments through the window now. Need to cut those.

    Kelly, I'm only just learning myself what to look for! It's a whole new world there.

    Thanks, Jaden! It's really pretty cool, and not as hard as I thought it would be.