Thanks everyone for the replies. I'm still learning so I like to look once a week but I see that I need to move more towards two week intervals or more. It is hard to find time for the bees but it's something i really enjoy and i inspect when I can fit it in. I know the more experience i get the less time i'll have to spend and I'll be able to handle more colonies. Thanks again everyone.
Best of luck to you Jordan. Guess you got a pretty good dose of one spectrum of the beekeeping world.
yep, you'll do fine jordan. as you get more experience you learn what's appropriate for the time of year, what you are seeing happening, ect.
sometimes all you have to do is pick up, or 'heft', the back of the hive to determine how they're doing on stores. other times just a peek under the cover will do.
a critical time is just before swarm season hits your location, especially if you are trying to prevent them.
One of the fears that I always have with digging into a hive too often or without a good reason is the small chance I might crush a queen which can prove devastating to the hive depending on the time of the year.
there is some thinking that you free any hive beetles that the bees have 'jailed' each time you pull the hive apart.
Since we run quite a few two queen units many of our hives get checked frequently in may and June due to those manipulations. During the rest of the season we walk yards every two weeks and judge much of what is to be done at the entrance. I look for the amount and type of activity. Are the hives working at about the same pace numbers and speed. Are there bees bringing in pollen, that's my queen check, are there a good number of guard bees, tells me balanced population unless robbing behavior is observed. Do the bees seem "focused and busy" if a flow is going on. I usually open a strong one and a weaker one in each yard. Am I seeing any wandering bees on the ground (nosema or DWV signs) or unusual numbers of dead bees or is there dead larvae being hauled out, are their scratches on the front from a skunk getting under a fence. These indicators are added up and I act according to what I see. I think as years go by there is that 6th sense we develop that tells us to open a hive and we do just out of the blue. I am amazed at how much more work and inspection is involved than pre varroa days - up to 1996 in our area. In reading Harry's posts I think we could do better and will likely reflect on our 2013 management. I'm a true beliver the days of "let alone beekeeping" for those making a living at it are long gone.
As for 2 dumb - I think your advice to the orginal question is spot on.