I was in charge of keeping the smoker smoking. I didn't do very well; it snuffed itself out by the time we'd walked to the hives, and Dave had to restart it. Ooops! To think I keep a wood furnace stoked all winter. Here's Dave relighting the smoker as I look sheepish:
Once we finally got the smoker going, Dave had me smoke the hive. In a nutshell, smoke calms down the bees. You want to give them enough to drive them further into the hive, but not so much that you asphyxiate them. Here I am on the right, trying not to asphyxiate Dave:
As I watched and Gordon stood well back, Dave gently pried apart some frames with his hive tool:
Then he lifted out a frame of beautiful, busy bees:
Here are two frames gently set aside as we inspected a third. The bees are very happy and healthy, and the queen has been laying lots of eggs. They look like grains of white rice when they are first laid, one per hexagonal cell:
Guess who? It gives you serious hat-hair, but you won't get stung on the face! I think it also minimizes wrinkles, not to mention my chin...
Prepare yourself for an onslaught of honeybee posts after we get our own hives set up in a couple of weeks!