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Beginning Beekeeping Hive Tour with Blake Shook

probably taking one of our classes with
Jana row or James and Sheri along and we
wanted to make this video because
sometimes folks can't always make it out
into the be or they don't have a time or
doesn't work with their schedule or if
it's a rainy cold day when we do the
classes or like right now we're in the
middle of the 19 so we can't always take
folks out into the B yard so we wanted
to make a video where we walk you
through a beehive urgently so you can
have hopefully a similar experience
without actually being in a group and
going out into the bi so we're gonna do
this just like we do in the class and
take a walk through a real beehive and
show you guys hopefully the queen eggs
larvae bees etcetera and if you have any
questions you're welcome to reach out to
us and we're sorry that you couldn't be
in one of our class walks or the BR so
when you go into the Beehive you always
want to have your smoker and you've
taken the class we talked about the
importance of make sure you got your
proper gear on
make sure your smoker is lit and puffing
well before you go into a mistake a lot
of beginners make is not lighting their
smoker properly and by the time they get
to the bee yard the smokers not lit
anymore and then they try to go through
the Beehive anyway
unfortunately no matter how even the
most gentle breeds would be in the world
still be decently defensive don't you
smoke so it's always important to use
your smoker no matter what to make sure
your smokers lit well and I always like
to look at the entrance to the hive
first this is a little dark so may be
hard to see but I like to just watch the
bees coming and going for a minute and
you can often see pollen on the bees
legs you can see to be standing if it's
warm you can see guard bees and it's
it's pretty fun just to sit and watch
the entrance of the hive and what's
going on and the bees coming going but I
usually watch that for a second and
see what's going on there and then I
give it a gentle puff of smoke usually
five or six puffs of smoke you don't
want to over smoke them you just want to
get those guard beads of interest to go
inside and it starts I starts calming
the hide down next we're gonna take off
the lid
this particular hive has two boxes but
it doesn't then you often have bees on
the inner cover you may have a few bees
on the lid that's okay I usually just
leave them the lid makes a pretty
convenient seat
I usually utilize that so the bees on
the inner cover aren't much of a problem
you're probably going to need if your
hive is especially if it's a year old or
a few months old these are gonna build
all this baroque home is what we call it
to kind of glue everything together and
that's normal you can scrape it off I
usually just leave it unless it's unless
there's so much of it that it's in the
way because if you scrape it off the
bees are gonna build a pack I mean these
are these are their ladders and so they
build this Berk home in between the
frames and between the lid and the
frames in between the boxes and these
are their ladders to get up to the next
area so if it's excessive I remove it
but otherwise I typically just leave it
you can see on the edge of this box this
is actually propolis to be the glue and
the Beehive you can see that the bees
have added quite a bit of propolis to
stick everything together and again
that's that's perfectly normal
so users might use my hive tool and I
crack open the inner cover and lift it
off you're gonna have some bees on this
inner cover I don't knock them off or
anything I usually just take a quick
glance at it make sure I don't see the
Queen and then I I just lean it up
against the high and let those bees day
next that gives a high of a puff of
smoke to get those bees to start going
down a little bit and I clear the bees
off the top bar so you can work without
squishing any of them I always start
with the second frame in the hive so I
use my hive tool and you're gonna kind
of pry these frames apart and give
yourself some space and then start with
the second frame now this is a good
example of why we usually recommend
frames frames you can see how the bees
have kind of widened all these frames
and they've added they've added quite a
bit of burb home to these frames and
wide and amount of blacks and if you
have 10 frames it can just be really
hard to pull these frames out you can
see it's gonna be hard enough just nine
so we pry them apart as best we can to
give ourselves a little bit of room and
then we pull out I usually stick my
finger in to kind of keep my space keep
some space in between the frames I don't
get them too close and they use a-prayin
of my hive tool to pry up on this frame
and then I get a grip on this side get a
grip on this side you want to lift
frames straight up straight out you
don't want to pull them out at an angle
all these so just very gently lift it
straight up take your time so you can
see there there's so much going on on
every single frame but there's a lot
going on here so this is its cover of
bees of course so this is worker bee
brood in the middle of the frame and so
this is a captain so you've got capped
worker bee brood and clear some of the
bees out of the way so you can see this
capped brood right here now these down
here these this is drone brood so you
can see it's much larger much larger
kind of more bullet shaped much more
irregular and that's the drone brood
this is your worker bee brood these are
Queen cups so that doesn't necessarily
mean you can see if we open it up
there's nothing inside of it these are
just what we call emergency Queen cups
and so they've got them there in case
something happened to their queen they
can start raising a new queen inside
these Queen cups so nothing to be
worried about you can always kind of
open them up make sure there's nothing
in them but you know it's they just got
them there in case of emergency right
here you can see the pollen see that
yellow it can be any color yellow orange
white but you can see the bees have kind
of stored a ring of paul and in this
whole frame and that's what they used
for us to feed the baby bees you should
be able to see what will find a better
frame but there's actually larva have
that they have not kept yet around the
perimeter we'll find a better frame and
show that to you
we also got let's see what else we have
we have some drones so here's a drone
right here see this guy look at the eyes
of two of them actually you can see how
big the eyes are on a drone compared to
the worker bees and they're quite a bit
bigger than the workers you'll see lots
of lots of drones in your hive that's
perfectly normal
you've got just a little bit of capped
honey up here you can see that if we on
cap it you can see it's kind of liquid
hunting underneath and this I this frame
doesn't have a whole lot of honey but
you can see since we smoked to the hives
you've got these bees and they're all
drinking that honey because we gave them
a little bit
you know smoke causes bees to drink
honey again you can kind of see this
beautiful ring of fresh pollen around
the outside and a little bit of honey in
the corner so the bees can make their
food so you can see on this side pretty
much the same exact picture the beads
have kind of run off the frame but you
can see this beautiful capped brood
around the edge
you've got eggs and larvae around the
perimeter you've got some pollen and
honey on the outside of that and I'll
find a frame that has more eggs in
larvae and we'll try to get a shot of
that so what I usually do is if I have
to look at this frame if it's uh if it's
if I'm fairly sure that the Queen isn't
on here that I'll often set it aside and
I don't have to worry about crushing
bees so then I kind of go back to that
first ring and pull it out take a look
at it so this is a fresh frame the bees
have just gone out and they've already
got brood in it you can see it a lot of
route around the outside the center of
the broods already hatched out and
they've got some pollen there
the Queen has it looks like she hasn't
played any eggs yet inside there
here the bees are just starting to draw
this foundation out you can see this
bright white fresh wax and the bees are
just now starting to draw that out
you can also kind of see if you can you
can see on the outside here they've got
some excess comb drawn out that's really
normal again you can smoke it and smoke
the bees off and scrape it off if you
want to but I usually just recommend
that if it gets excessive so I put this
this frame back in and and kind of keep
working
I typically have enough room now to
access everything so and you can just go
through the hive one frame at a time
seeing what what else you know how much
brew they have this is another frame of
brood you've got some cat brood and then
you've got eggs and larvae mixed in and
lots of lots of these lots of brood and
this is a really really strong hive I
mean this is a hive that needs to be
split quickly because they're on the
verge of swarming so don't don't be
concerned if when you get your bees they
don't quite look like this this is a
overwintered hive that is two boxes full
of bees and brood and as again ready to
ready to swarm so this is not something
you're typically gonna see your first
year and beekeeping right when you get
your first high so we keep going through
the frames one at a time and you know
the biggest thing I'm looking for is I'm
usually looking for bee population you
know how many peas do we have in the
hive roughly and then I'm looking at how
much food they have and that's a pretty
good gauge of the strength of a hive you
can see this frame us a little bit more
honey on the outside edges and the
others just a tremendous amount of
pollen they're bringing in and sometimes
you can see they start filling pollen in
and empty holes where the Queen didn't
lay and that's that's normal so you've
got a lot more brood here's a drone that
is actually just hatched you can see how
white and
hairy and white is and that's very
normal these are kind of white and hairy
when they first hatch out and then you
can see compared to like this drone for
example he's much door has lost a lot of
that hair so that's just an older drone
compared to one that is just recently
and if the beasts are kind of bubbling
up you can give them a little bit more
smoke to drive them back down this this
hive is not doing that so so we've got
still more brood eggs larvae in the
middle looking to see if we can find the
Queen the Queen is always challenging to
find she's a little bit bigger than the
other bees so that helps a little bit
but even if you've been doing it a while
so we do have a worker bee emerging
right here let me see if I can hear the
bees away you can see actually there's
two of them that are emerging from their
cells right here that's always a lot of
fun to watch you see that in the hive
then it's a just take a second usually I
help them out a little bit in the class
so that you can take them a while so we
don't always want to sit for 10 minutes
and want to be emerged but uh but I
usually just wide there she comes
see she pulls herself right out she's
kind of you know a little bit groggy and
cares a little bit white on her back but
she's out and about ready to go to work
you want to move the high through the
high fairly quickly you know you don't
have to rush it but you also don't want
to spend you know I would say more than
15 20 minutes
ideally I mean 30 minutes at the most
going through a hive just because that
could start really disrupting the high
this brain we've got again tremendous
amount of cat brood in the middle you
got some honey on the outside
lots of drones about 10 percent of the
bees and a high of our drums and that's
normal and okay so you should expect to
see a fair number of drones so now this
is a frame mostly of of just honey so it
doesn't have a whole lot of a whole lot
of brood on it this is you know getting
to the outside frame so that's often
that's often just honey usually your
brood is going to be in the center of
the frame in the center of the hive
excuse me and then as you go towards the
outside you'll get into more and more
honey
so I'm gonna skip looking at those last
frames it looks like they're primarily
just honey when I'm done looking through
the box I give them a little bit of
smoke get the beads off and then I scoot
all the frames and then I add that frame
that we had out back in one thing that
is important to keep in mind is that you
always want to keep the frames push it
tightly together so when you're done
push them tight from this side push them
tight from this side if you leave a gap
the beans are just gonna add Burcham to
it and they're gonna forever widen those
frames and it's gonna get too hard to
work so always push those frames back
together and it's okay you know really
hear the bees buzzing around and see
some bees buzzing around that doesn't
mean that they're upset it doesn't mean
that they're defensive they're just
probably 60,000 bees in a hive and so
there are gonna be some bees buzzing
around you know it's getting a little
bit more smoke but you don't want to
over smoke if you if you smoke too much
then it's really almost gonna upset them
more and so just give them a little bit
of smoke we're gonna go down to the
second box and see if we can see if we
can find the Queen and crack those two
boxes apart when I when I take a second
box off a high I usually just stand it
up on the end just like that and that
way they don't crush newbies and
now there are several things that take
notice of in this hive in the bottom box
and if you have a really strong hive and
at two boxes tall you're gonna see some
of this eventually you can see all this
bird hole on the top and that's again
kind of their ladder to get up to the
second box you can also see all this
white larva now this white larva is this
is all drone brood and these often
raised drones between the frames and so
when you crack those boxes apart you
kind of have all this exposed larva and
then over here you've got some pupae
again that's all perfectly normal if it
gets it to be an excessive amount you
can scrape that off otherwise you can
just we also have the beetle trap in
here and leave that in or pop it out
depending on what you're doing to the hi
we're just going to leave it in so I'm
gonna start
again I'm gonna I'm actually gonna look
at the third frame here and I'm gonna go
through this bottom box fairly quickly
we don't actually find this
so one thing you wanted to actually
here's a lot of a great friend to show
you you can see it larva on you can see
these glistening white larva in those
cells you can see it sunlight it's just
right
see those larva and they're kind of
white early white that's what I'm gonna
want to see and the bees are about the
capital is over you can also see just a
tremendous amount of pollen over here
that yellow pollen that the bees are
bringing them so I don't see the Queen
on this ring I'm gonna set this frame
aside and we're gonna keep looking one
thing one little trick I found it that's
helpful is when I'm frying these frames
apart when I pick this frame up before I
look at the frame in my hand I look at
the frame that's still down in the Box
facing me and oftentimes I'll actually
see the Queen because once she sees the
light she often turns and starts running
down and it's kind of an easy time to
see her looking at that imposing frame I
don't see you're on that opposing frame
then I'll look at this frame in my hand
and you know you really can't look at
every single bee
would take hours but you kind of just
have to scan the frame and and try to
notice any irregularities or gob that
looks different or bigger this is when
having a mark queen is really helpful
yeah obviously really jumps out if you
have her mark though it's really
important to note that you know a lot of
people think that well every time I
every time there she is every time I
look at my hive I should buy my queen
you don't have to find her every time
in fact when even commercially you know
we've virtually never look for Queens
all we do is look for eggs and larvae
and if we see eggs and larvae then we
know that we've got a queen attacked in
Italy so so you can see she's a little
bit bigger than the rest of the beasts
picking stalker she's a little bit
bigger but not tremendously so for
abdomen especially longer Queens can
have different coloring some of them can
be dark some of them can be light can
have stripes on their abdomen others
don't her thorax is usually really shiny
and smooth and
you know again her thorax or abdomen
it's just so if you practice enough you
can get pretty fast at finding Queens
but you know having a mark certainly
goes a long way as far as being able to
it's pretty rare to see a queen laying
egg in the hive usually she's disturbed
enough that she doesn't lay eggs but
occasionally if you watch you'll
actually see the Queen lay eggs while
while you're watching you can kind of
see as she moves along the bees often
turn towards her because they can they
recognize her pheromone and they know
they know that she's so when you've
finished looking at her you can just
carefully put that frame back into the
hive they return the rest of the frames
back in the same order that they came
out in back into the hive give them a
little bit of smoke if there's a lot of
bees
and we certainly try our best not to
crush bees but don't be heartbroken if
you accidentally do it's there's so many
bees and hives that it can be
challenging not to basically
accidentally crush your feet once you
get all the brain is back in give them a
little bit of smoke and then you're
gonna want to keep those frames tight
back together
they're all tight back together you can
add your second box if you have a second
box backup
put your inner cover on and you're all
done
do you guys have any questions feel free
to reach out and let us know we
appreciate your time we sorry we're
sorry you couldn't make it to our class
but hopefully you can come back to a
follow-up class to take the real life
experience in the meantime let us know
if you have any questions and we
appreciate you taking our classes thank
you
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