How often should I open my hives and observe my bees. I opened them again to day and found eggs, larve and checked thier progress in comb building (very fast I must add, 4 frames already in less than a week) and lots of pollen. So how much is too much???? and what is about right????
It depends. To maximize learning you ought to keep it open and watch it 24 hours a day. Of course that's not good for the bees. For optimum production, as long as everything is ok you should never open it. Of course, how will you know if everything is ok?
I figure a beginner has to open it more that is really good for the hive so you can learn.
I'd try to keep it to once a week if you can.
But once you know what to expect you can do it once every two weeks. And then you get like me and open them once a year or so unless something seems amiss.
How to learn if something is amiss:
First, everytime you are about to open a hive listen. Try to guess what you think you'll find based on the sound. You'll be wrong at first, but the more you do it the more you'll be right. Also, if you have a screened bottom board, look at it before you open up and see what you can discern. Also, compare this hive to the others. It's the same weather, the same season, so big differeneces between them may indicate something is wrong.
After a while you won't need to open them so much.
Right now I have an empty hive body on top with a gallong paintcan with syrup in it. Is it ok to open it up and check this each day? I don't use smoke and don't pull frames when I do it. Already aobut half the syrup is gone and it has only been since thursday.
Is the can sitting right on the top bars or is it sitting on the inner cover? Just look at your bees when you check, they will let you know. You can identify preturbed bees because they will stick their bottoms in the air and fan their wings. This is to release an alarm pherimone (scent) to tell the others that something is amiss. (You can even see them protrude their little vicious stingers ). A little patience and care in opening will let you see them perk up at the disturbance but soon settle back down to what they are doing. Often, I am able to check and replace my feed jars without wearing gear. If the bees are mostly busy feeding with only a couple hundred or less hanging out, then they seem preoccupied. If the box is full of bees, the syrup is empty, rest assured they are upset and disappointed.
So, yeah, look and learn. This is the time to do it. By next year, you will be the community Bee-Pro.
>You can identify preturbed bees because they will stick their bottoms in the air and fan their wings. This is to release an alarm pherimone (scent) to tell the others that something is amiss.
These bees (whith their but in the air) are actually giving off Nasonov pheromone. But it's true it's a much better sign if they ignor you. Nasonov is a pheromone that is used to get them back together when something they need to gather, and in this case indicates that bee thinks that things have been disturbed enough to require regrouping. But it's not a alarm and doesn't upset the bees.
When you see one come at your face and you get a wiff of bannana, this is the alarm pheromone and you've been tagged.
Ok the hives that we bought did not cme with an inner cover jsut a telescoping one. I am going t have to build one I guess. The feed cans are right on top of the frames. I also had 5 drawn frames given to me frome someone and I put those in the top box for the bees to clean up and clean up they have done. I am going to use those 5 frames to start my next three hives this weekend. As far as when I open them up htere is no fanning or anything. they seem content on doing thier thing and don't even get mad when I pull a frame or tow to see their progress. Yesterday I found larve in alot of cells and eggs too. My queens are doing good. Can't wait till the hives start booming.
Personally I like to use a hole saw (that's a drill bit that is like a round saw) that is the size of a mason jar lid and use that to make the center hole. Then I put 1/8" hardware cloth under that and then I can put a quart jar on for a feeder and refill without facing any bees.
I like to do this as well (cut a hole for a feeding jar). I use this for an inner cover. If one uses the small bee-escapes to clear supers, then a "standard" inner cover is handy. But I find these escapes to be unhandy. Instead, I made my own bee escape and so, do not require an inner cover for them to fit with.