Our bees hives are in the perennial flower bed and about eight feet from our house. We have them facing east to get the morning sun. They live by an often traveled path in our backyard. My dog, Indie, and I move through bee alley many times a day to visit our neighbor and the compost pile, to garden and to harvest. They don’t seem to mind; though, Indie does look a bit like a small black bear. I am working to adjust the path configuration to make visitors more comfortable. We bought these two nucs from a beekeeper in Delaware county about six weeks ago. Each nuc had five frames which included a locally raised queen, workers, eggs, larvae, pollen and honey. The bees are related to the queen and know her. We just put supers on this week. Our local expert beekeeper, Joe, came by to check the hives with us yesterday. I was, also, happy to have our neighbor stop by with his son to watch us examine the hives. We had not seen one of our queens and were relieved when Joe pointed her out to us. He made quick work to smash a couple of hive beetles on the run. He showed us how to pull out drone pupae to check for mites. The mites go for the large drone cells and they are easier to spot on drone pupae. We didn’t see any mites on the few we checked. Here is a good link for using drones to spot mite problems. http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?242736-Checking-for-varroa-mites-on-drone-pupae… Despite the fact that many beekeepers seem to lose around 50% of their hives each winter; Joe was very encouraging. Thanks for the help, Joe!