The winter months can be a restful, but trying, time as a beekeeper. On the one hand, the hive is at rest and there isn't much for me to do. But, on the other hand, I wait and worry. Is anyone in there?
The two larger boxes on the bottom of the stack are the brood boxes. This is where the queen does her work and new bees emerge from their cells. From the bottom up, the third box in this stack is the honey super. It is smaller than the two bottom boxes, but when it is full of honey, it is quite heavy.
There is a wooden lid between the honey super and the top box. It provides a small opening for the bees to come through and eat the sugar cakes provided in the upper space. The opening here has a sticky coating of propolis on the edge. It looks rather dirty, but this substance is vital to the bees. They use it to seal up openings/cracks in the hive body.
These sugar cakes remind me of snow, but are really just measured amounts of water and sugar, patted into a pan and left to dry.
Interesting how when I placed more sugar in the upper space bees started to emerge. They seemed both curious about the sugar and annoyed at my presence.
Needless to say, I left quickly as I was not suited up for any type of work.