This past Tuesday we gave our hive its second photo-inspection, snapping a picture of each side of each frame/top-bar. It worked quite well the first time and we were eager to compare the new shots with their counterparts of a month ago. Unfortunately we took up our same positions without considering that in the afternoon that placed the sun in front of the camera while the previous inspection, having been in the morning, placed the sun behind. As a result the pictures of comb are not quite as good. We will upload them anyway for our readership after we finish organizing them but the depressing first impressions are:

  • We saw little change except for somewhat fewer bees.

  • We have not yet spotted the queen this time.

  • We are still too blind to see eggs.

More encouraging thoughts are:

  • We did see capped worker rather than drone brood.

  • We did see larvae.

  • We saw brood being capped.

  • We saw a new bee emerging.

  • We saw mostly worker bees not drones.

  • They are still bringing in pollen.

Overall we are concerned. Especially when at that night’s meeting of Ann Arbor Backyard Beekeepers we heard from several first timers (including other top-bar hive keepers) whose hives were just exploding with bees and honey. Why are our bees merely surviving but not thriving?

In other news:

  • The bees had gone through about 500ml of syrup so we gave them a fresh jar.

  • Drier lint (mostly natural fiber) is an excellent smoker fuel. Easy to light and reluctant to go out.

Added on 2011-Nov-03: So far, contrary to the first paragraph, we have not uploaded these pictures and will probably not bother after all.