How often should I be inspecting the brood boxes, I now have two. The top one is about 30% full. Do I check both everytime? There is some comb on top of the frames of the bottom box, causing the bottom of the frames from the top box to adhere to them. Is this normal? Should I scrape this off? I inspected yesterday without smoke, wore a veil and gloves. Should I be using smoke to calm them down, they seemed more angry than normal about me poking around. Maybe I noticed this because there are more of them now.
I almost always smoke them. Get the smoker going well with billows of smoke coming out. A couple of puffs in the entrance, if you have an inner cover, pop the top and put a couple in the inner cover hole and wait at least two FULL minutes and then another puff in the door and some in the crack as you open the lid.
You'll be amazed how docile they are when you do that.
Personally I think it is much LESS disruptive to the bees to get smoked than to have an alarm go through the hive. That roar you hear when you smoke is NOT an alarm. It's the bees trying to fan the smoke back out.
As to how often. From the bees point of view, probably never would be great. From your point of view, you want to learn what's going on, so you need to look now and then to see what's going on. It's really up to you, but it is hard on a hive to be gone through all the time. My hives probably get a thorough going over two or three times a year. Probably once in the spring. Once when they are likely to be wanting to swarm (like a couple of weeks ago) and once in the fall getting ready for winter.
It's not so disruptive to take a peek in the top and decide to put on more supers or not. I'd do this as often as is convienient for you.
Quote -"There is some comb on top of the frames of the bottom box, causing the bottom of the frames from the top box to adhere to them. Is this normal? Should I scrape this off?"
Totally normal. I leave it there. The bees don't fly or jump from one frame to another they walk so they need to build these bridges to move about easily. If you scrape it off it isn't a big problem or anything, they just build it back again.
Thank you to everyone who responds to these questions. They may seem silly or common sense for experienced keepers, but I find as I progress through my first season there are issues I did not even consider. Everyone has been a great help. I look forward to next season and increasing my knowledge as well as the number of hives. Please stick with us inexperienced keepers and prod us along. Many Thanks.
<That roar you hear when you smoke is NOT an alarm. It's the bees trying to fan the smoke back out.> Another tidbit from Michael that no one ever told me! I wondered about that--they make the same noise when I fog them, but as I've said before, they seem to like being fogged, so I didn't figure it was an angry noise. Now I know it's just their little wings going like blue blazes.
Someone has to say it! It depends!
It depends on the day; the weather; time of day; honey flow or not; what stage of build up the hive is in;(New packages and swarms are usually gentle)... and most of all it depends on the bees. Now, in the midst of a flow on a sunny day I can take any of my 20 hives down to basics, examine the brood chamber, etc. I don't even light the smoker anymore. (All this astonishes me too.) I do keep some suryp with a dash of lemon juice and a few drops of 2 essential oils in it. I hear no "roar" and the air is not full of bees. Trust me I know what that is like. As I say, "it depends".
But it doesn't "depend" IMV.
When smoking the bees they reacte as to a fire. They are tearing the wax, gorging on honey, preparing to fly away if neccessary. This upsets the colony. Then they have to spend the next couple of days repairing the damage before things go back to normal again.
The protection response to the hive can be prevented by spraying the sugar water at the entrance and inside the an opening. And draping dampened clothes over the opened boxes keeps the bees inside and out of trouble.
The hive entrance (where guard bees are posted) can be completely blocked prior to an inspection.....
Only in extreme circumstances does smoke need to be considered. IMV. Only if I were allergic to the stings would I consider smoking.
Smoking is used because folks have many many hives and not enough time to work With the bees. They are working against the operation of the colony when they smoke.
OK, how many people have I *&(*&^&^ off?
Not me Daisy,
As I said, I rarely use it. Why would you want to close the entrance? Returning foragers must go somewhere. I like it if they do business as usual. I've seen the bees eating honey after a spritz so it may not be a totally benign idea. I'm with you about not disturbing the hive though. What's IMV?
In my...something...I'm guessing she meant "IMO?"
But I agree, if I'm taking just a peek, I won't smoke, they don't seem to mind me checking out the supers, top of the brood box, etc. I just try and not breathe into the hive, cuz the CO2 sets em off some. But if I'm breaking down the brood nest, I definitely smoke or if it's cloudy or the weather if looking foul, I always smoke too.
[This message has been edited by Branman (edited June 07, 2004).]
IMV In My View. IMPOV In My Point Of View. IMO In My Opinion. IMHO In My Humble Opinion.
I still say that based on the reaction of those same hives days later that were smoked and not smoked the smoked ones are still more docile than the ones I didn't smoke. I think a defensive reaction is more disruptive to the hive than some smoke. And for a longer period of time. When I was trying syrup I had hives that I was ready to requeen until I tried the smoke again. They would still be angry several days later after using only syrup. After I went back to smoke they were fine all the time.
But I will also say that what I outlined above is what I consider the proper way to smoke. A couple of good billowing puffs of smoke in the entrance and a couple in the top and waiting is not that upsetting to the bees. There is usually no need to smoke them heavily. If you smoke them heavily you can run the queen all the way to the inner cover and move the bees all around in the hive. This is hardly ever necessary.