Well, Bob from the Department of Agriculture came out for hive inspections today. We knew we had one dead hive, and Bob verified that for us. He also helped us take apart our weak hive and come up with a plan to get it rocking again.
Here's a picture of Bob when he first showed up. Does he not look darn happy to be here?
Bob got busy right away on our "weak" hive. Notice how Bob doesn't wear gloves, a suit, or a veil? Bob really rocks. But Bob has been doing this a while. We have not. We still look like we are practicing for a space walk when we enter the apiary. And we will probably continue to look like that until we have 100 years experience like Bob does. Rock on Bob!
We quickly located the queen in our weak hive. Bob is pointing the hive tool at her in this picture. Look exactly below the tip of his hive tool and you will see her long body.
Here's another picture of her. Look in the lower right corner. Isn't she beautiful?
So the bottom line is that our weak hive is doing OK. We just need to feed it. So we put a gallon jug of sugar water in that hive to help it along.
The remaining four hives are really bumping right now. We'll be robbing honey from them in the next couple of weeks.
All in all, it wasn't the worst of news. In fact, it was pretty good news. We lost a hive and that's not cool. We'll know what to look for next spring. We have a better than average chance of saving a weak hive, and we'll definitely be robbing honey from the other four!
Not bad. Not bad at all.