Hive Check

My helper and I did our fall hive check the other day.
Managed to squeeze it in on a warm day, right before the rain came pouring down.

August always gets the smoker ready for me.

Can you see the dark specks on the hive boxes?  I think the bees have Nosema, a common bee illness.  It affects the intestinal tracks of adult bees and is kind of like dysentery in humans.  The characteristic spotting or streaks of mustard-brown feces tipped me off.  So I figured it wouldn't hurt to make them some fall feeding syrup and add the Fumidil-B that helps alleviate the nosema.  I am unaware of any other treatment for nosema.  I do wonder what organic and all-natural beekeepers use.....

Here I have used my hive tool to pry up the top box so I can smoke the bees in between before lifting off the top box.

Lifting off the top box.  Notice how not-heavy it looks.  It only has undrawn frames in it, a few bees and some extra wax. 

The comb you see on top of this hive box is called burr comb.  Its the extra comb the bees build to try to make sure they have the correct "bee space."  They don't like gaps or extra space.  They will fill it up.
The two bottom boxes are full of bees!  Yay!  I wasn't sure what I would find after the first and second swarm.  The top box looks to be full of honey and the bottom box is bees and brood.  Bees need about 60-70 lbs of honey to make it thru the winter.  So it looks like they are good to go.

Here I am using my hive tool to scrape the bottom board.  It slides out so you can get all the waxy, dead bugs, bits and pieces out of there.  Mine had a big slug on it when I pulled it out!  It fits in little slots so you can slide it in and out.
Our cat Boo always has to come check out what's up.

See the jars on top?  Those are the quart jars we use to feed the bees their spring and autumn sugar syrup.  Here we are going to take them off and put clean, refilled, and medicated ones back on.  The metal lids have tiny holes poked in them that the bees stick their tongues in to slurp the syrup out. 
So all in all, I think they might make it through the winter.  They look OK if we can get the nosema under control.  Only time will tell if the two swarms I had this summer were enough to weaken the hive to the point of no return.

Wish us luck!

Sewing pockets on a dress,