We've only had bees for a couple of months. We've done several beehive checks. Each time we do it, we look for specific things - the hives are drawing out comb, there are eggs, there are larva being cared for and honey and pollen being collected.
First thing to do is take off the lid and put a puff of smoke inside the lid and the main entrance to encourage the bees to gorge on the honey and be too busy to sting us.
Then we just start removing frames one by one and examining them closely.
We take two frames out and set them on edge on the ground next to the hives, leaning so that no bees are injured.
This gives us working room so that we can move the other frames without hurting any bees. Queen bees get crushed during careless hive inspections, so we take our time and move carefully and slowly.
This is Bluebell that I'm checking and they've built out comb in the top super and are filling it with pollen and brood and honey. This is a strong hive.
Lots of bees and lots of brood, eggs and larva. This healthy hive is going strong.
Buttercup is beginning to draw out comb in the second super but is no where near as strong as Bluebell.
Still, we did see eggs, larva and capped brood and plenty of all in Buttercup. We'll start feeding our bees to help them get over the midsummer nectar dearth until the Goldenrod blooms and renews their food sources.