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Thread: Hive Inspection

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Fuquay-Varina, NC, USA
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    Default Hive Inspection

    My question concerns the hive inspection after you put another box on. I have a deep on the bottom and I gave them a medium on top of that about 2 weeks ago. They are drawing out the medium now. Do you guys and gals take the hive apart and look in the bottom when you do a hive inspection? I understand the less disruptive the inspection, the better they produce.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Chapel Hill, NC
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    There is a hive check where I pop off the cover, visually see if there are lots of bees, no SHB on the lid, etc. I usually lift a frame or two from the top box. If all look well, I close it up and move on.

    Then there is the hive inspection where I go through each box looking at some or all of the frames.

    If you are new to keeping go for the inspection. That's the best way to learn and catch problems early before they get out of control. It is disruptive, but it will not slow a strong heathly hive and you will be a much better keeper in the long run.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Ashburn, VA, USA
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    Default

    Glad you asked the question. This is my first year bee keeping and I was wondering the same thing. I’ve got 2 hives, each currently with two deeps, 10 frames per (plus recently added shallows). I take a few frames out to inspect from the uppers, but to minimize disruption to the hive and the amount of time it is open/exposed, I’ve not inspected frames in the lower deep since I added the upper ones. I guess the quickest and best way to go about this is to lift the upper deep completely off with frames intact and set it aside (?) The thought of setting a deep aside with 10 frames hanging in it crawling with bees makes me nervous…for one I’m concerned about crushing bees crawling around the bottom of the frames. The deeps also seem pretty welled glued together via the propolis. Any tricks here that experienced bee keepers can share on how to go about this quickly and effectively?
    Thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
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    Default

    If you put the brood chamber on end, then you will not crush the bees. The frames remain standing.
    After my spring cleaning on the hives, i will check a couple of times by pulling out the frames to see how they are advancing...do they have enough food, room etc.
    We are just starting to come into the honey flow, the flowers are just starting a bit. When i worked some of the hives today, I went right through them. They were hives that i questioned because too few bees, loud, wondering how much food they had. We have not had flowers for about a week and i wanted to make sure they were not hungry.
    But other hives, I checked a couple of frames to see if there were eggs, larva and brood, food and room. If the hive was quiet, and all seemed well, I took off the top brood chamber, tipped it and looked for swarm cells. If none, I set that aside and tipped the bottom brood chamber for swarm cells (smoked them abit to get them to clear the bottom of the frames). If there were no swarm cells I closed up the hive, marked it and would do a thourgh check next time.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
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    6,985

    Default

    cozybldr ask:
    Do you guys and gals take the hive apart and look in the bottom when you do a hive inspection?

    tecumseh replies: yes... but the purpose is not always the same and for me it is a seasonal activity. at one time it was a late fall and early spring chore. in the spring time I am cleaning bottom boards and in the fall checking for stores (pollen and honey). I now also peek down there once in the late summer to check for the bottom box being pollen bound (which almost always leads to wax moth problems).

    one trick (if you wish to call it that) is (this is easier the closer the hive is to ground level) is to simply tip the hive over on it back (sometime I employ a dolly for the larger hives) and then restack the hive from the bottom board up (rather than from the top down). one obvious advantage is that the individual boxs are broken apart and moved once. typically when set back I need only look at one or two frames to figure out what I need to know... sometime just looking at the hive from the bottom bar end (plus approxiamating weight via hefting) tell me all I need to know.

  6. #6
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    Apr 2006
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    Pepperell, MA.
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    Default

    I don't inspect as much as I used to, at least not opening every box. I check based on what I'm concerned about, the time of year, etc. If you're just starting out, checking thoroughly and taking your time will teach you a lot so base your decision more on learning than what everyone else does.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    Greenville, TX, USA
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    If I find brood or eggs in the top box, I don't usually need to go further unless I suspect a problem for another reason.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Ashburn, VA, USA
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    Default Thanks

    Great advice. As a novice, I really appreciate the info and help. I'm new to this forum and based on what I've read so far this seems like a great community. I'm looking forward to learning lots and contributing down the road...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Fuquay-Varina, NC, USA
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    Default

    Thanks guys! That is what I needed to know. My Russians are drawing out their comb on 8 out of 10 frames so far. This is the one I started from a 5 frame nuc. I went foundationless on the other 5 frames. They seem to be drawing it slower but it is drawn deeper than foundation was. My Italians right now are drawing out their upper box about 3 frames so far. Not fully there yet, but getting closer. I suspect that the upper frames when they are drawn out will start to get eggs and more activity. The bees were slow to warm up to upper box, but now seem to be enjoying it. Of course, it could be helping they have an upper entrance from the ventilation cover that I built from the Honey Run Apiaries plans.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    43,386

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    If the hive looks strong and I have no reason to suspect anything wrong, I do not remove supers to inspect the brood nest. It's too much work and it's counterproductive as it disrupts the hive which hurts the honey crop.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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