Our third hive inspection was done a couple of days ago, exactly 9 days after the second inspection. The bees have really grown since we first installed the nuc. They have more than doubled in size, so I assume that we have well over 10,000 bees in there now. We didn’t pull out each comb this time or look explicitly for the queen, but did check out the five combs from the back of the hive. It still looks like they are focusing on brood development and we’re wondering when they will start filling combs with honey.
We had assumed that the brood nest would be only 6 – 8 combs or so and we added 1/4-inch spacers between the last bars we put in during hive inspection 2.0, thinking that they would be starting on honey combs soon. (Honey combs are generally fatter than brood combs, so spacers can be put between the top bars for honey comb to give the bees a little more space.) Since this wasn’t the case, there were some new combs started on the spacers instead of the triangular part of the top-bars, so we removed the spacers that we could and just went back to plain top bars in the hive. Two spacers were firmly waxed together with comb, so those are going to have to stay. Ah well, lessons in beekeeping.
The bees also seemed to be a little more agitated during this inspection even though we didn’t examine every comb. We did use the smoker at the beginning a small bit and didn’t seem to have too many problems getting buzzed by guard bees, but the hive as a whole was buzzing a lot more loudly than they have during the two other inspections. It was a nice, hot, sunny day for this inspection, but it has been raining all week, so we may have just caught them on a grumpy day after being cooped up for so long.
Today we’ve noticed that there is a fair bit of crowding going on at the entrance. We’ve added a lot more bars, so they have a lot of space to work with in the hive and we’re not yet concerned about swarms (nothing unusual during the inspection), so perhaps they are trying to work on ventilating the hive? It has been a very hot day today and our entrance is quite small. With the wet weather, we also have noticed some moisture damage on the inside of the hive. If any of you hobby beekeepers have some thoughts, please pass them along. We may need to add some top entrance wholes for better airflow.