I am very new to beekeeping someone gave me a hive so I took it apart and made me a new one the other day the people next door came ove and ask me if I wanted some bees they had a swarm in a tree so I went and got it that was something elese I got all the bees and never got stung so I put them in the hive last week they seem to be doing great Bees fly in bees fly out what I want to know is how long should I leave them alone I have already opened everything up and looked in once already everything lookes fine to me bees all over the place. How long until I can start harvesting honey out of the hive is there a set time I should leave them alone? Hope someone can help me out.
Hello Michael -
Generally, it's a good idea to let a newly hived swarm alone for about a week. If you're seeing a lot of activity in and out of the hive then that's a good sign. Sometimes when people start getting into a hived swarm right away it can upset the bees enough to cause them to swarm again and then you're left witrh an empty hive. After a week, I go in and inspect and just look for eggs. Once I see eggs, the lid stayes on and I just keep feeding.
You mention that you made a new hive. Does this include the honey supers that go above the brood chambers? Not knowing where you live or what your honey flow season is, it's hard to give advice. Typically you will need 2 deep brood chambers, ten frames each with drawn comb and the queen laying well, before you can think about getting honey for yourself. Once your bees are building out comb in the top brood chamber, you could put a queen excluder and a honey super on top and hope there is enough time and nectar for the bees to give you some honey.
Be more concerned about getting your bees in good shape to winter well.