1 D.J. Haverkamp and Carlos opening the new hive, which was created by splitting the one next to it. These are native bees, grown right here on the farm.
2 After removing the outer and inner hive covers, D.J. used his hive tool to loosen the honey frames in the upper super. The upper super is for honey production. The lower super is where new brood is formed.
3 Being a brand new hive, the honey frames were still rather empty, but there was new honeycomb being built. The honey in this new hive is not for harvesting, but will be for the hive to use as food next winter.
4 Carlos lifted and removed the honey super so that they could monitor the bee activity in the lower brood super.
5 Using his hive tool again, D.J. carefully loosened one of the frames.
6 He lifted out the frame to begin his inspection. It always amazes me how fearless beekeepers can be.
7 D.J. was checking this new colony to see if there was a queen and if she was laying eggs.
8 At the peak of the summer season, a healthy and productive hive may have a population of about 20,000 to 50,000 bees.
9 These bees are busy building wax comb on the frames. Newly formed comb is a pure white, like this one.
10 As it ages, the comb oxidizes, turning a dark brown.
11 This is a very good sign. There are eggs and larva inside the comb. The eggs hatch after 3 or 4 days and nurse bees immediately begin feeding the larva for a total of about 5 days.
12 You can see collected flower pollen in these cells. Pollen is used by the bees as food and is fed to the developing larva.
13 When feeding stops, worker bees seal the cells with a wax cap. Inside the capped cell, the larva transforms into a pupa and then becomes an adult.
14 There is good evidence of that capping over on this frame. Capping over each cell takes about 6 hours.
15 Miraculously, how and what a larva is fed will determine what type of bee it will become, whether it be a queen, a worker (female bee), or a drone (male bee).
16 Worker bees live between 4 and 6 weeks during the active season. Drones are only present during the spring and summer and die immediately after mating with the queen. Any drones remaining in the colony in the autumn are evicted from the hive by the worker bees.
17 A queen can live for 1 to 3 years. Her body is longer and narrower than a worker bee and her head and eyes are smaller.
18 The queen also has a shorter tongue and never drinks nectar from a flower, as she is always fed by her attendants.
19 Finally, D.J. spotted the new and healthy queen. This one fertilized reproductive female is the very heart of the colony. She spends her entire life laying eggs in these brood cells and is constantly fed by the worker bees. She takes no part in the building of comb.
20 After closing up the new hive, D.J. wanted to check this hive. During a prior inspection, the queen had been accidentally trapped in the upper honey super and he wanted to see if she made her way back down to the brooding box.
21 This narrow top super is called a honey super and this will eventually be for human consumption. You don't want the queen laying eggs here.
22 The queen did, indeed, lay her eggs here, but those bees are emerging. D.J. saw no new eggs, which means that the queen is back where she belongs.
23 And, you can see that the empty cells are being filled with honey, which is made from flower nectar.
24 After the bees make and fill the comb cells with honey, the cells are capped with a layer of wax for an airtight seal, which preserves the honey.
25 D.J. and Carlos then looked for the queen in the lower brood super.
26 These are empty queen cells. A hive can have only one queen and as soon as the first one is born, she finds all the other queen cells, rips them open with her jaws, and stings the others to death, establishing her dominance.
27 This hive is working well and it seems like there will be an abundant honey harvest. After closing up the hive, Carlos placed a large stone on top, preventing heavy winds from blowing off the top and disturbing the colony.