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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Hampton Roads, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    56

    Default How Often do you go in your hives?

    How often do YOU go in YOUR hive?

    I have had long timers tell me 'If it ain't broke dont touch it' and 'Don't disturb the bees any more than you have too. The bees know what they are doing'

    While other beekeepers advise to check things out at least every 10 days through out the warmer months.

    So what do You do? How often do you do major maintenance? Check the hive from top to bottom? Just take a peek to make sure everythings going OK?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,497

    Default

    It depends where you are in beekeeping. The only way to know what is going on in your hives is to open them and see. Even if they look great, open them to see how they are laying, if you are in any stage of EFB or AFB (best to catch these early before they take a toll on the hive) what your mite count is, etc.

    I am getting to where I can pop a lid and know if something is up with the hive. Either by smell, sound of the bees or just the amount of bees on the top bars and how they are acting. But I won't know what is wrong till I pull it apart.

    It's just as important to know what a healthy hive looks like as it is a sick one so you will know if a hive is sick.

    Don't be afraid to open it up and look, just try and be as un-intrusive as possible and be very careful removing the frames so you don't damage your queen.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,741

    Default

    It really does depend on a lot of things. I did a complete teardown of 5 hives recently (touching off a truly awesome robbing event) because I hadn't been in them since the Spring. If I have a problem.....laying workers, queenless, disease, no stores, etc., I'm in there every week or so. Certainly, Spring and Fall get more of my attention. But, other than that, I watch the entrance...pop the lid once in a while to say hi and let the bees take care of things.

    That being said, I would encourage new beekeepers to get in there a fair amount. Don't be afraid of disturbing them and don't be afraid of them. Go slow, look around, get used to your bees. The experiences of an attentive, new beekeeper will pay dividends sooner than later.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    melvin,mi
    Posts
    188

    Default

    All the time when I got my first hive. This year I got some swarms that I check on once a week (just a peek to see how much they got stored for winter)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default

    depends on the season, or outside indications of trouble, or a strange event... good luck,mike
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Hays, Kansas, USA
    Posts
    1,080

    Default

    Around three week's time intervals, I'll give them a good peek inside. More often early in the season, especially to try to steal queen cells before they can swarm on their own. I prefer to steal their cells and make walk-a-way splits than trying to catch a swarm. If trouble is spotted, then a little more frequently to monitor it such as weekly dusting with powdered sugar for mites after finding them . I figure it takes them a number of days to recover from having their home invaded and being disturbed. So the less they're disturbed, the better. It's not like they'll get to the point, 'hey it's our buddy Southern here for the twice-weekly peekaboo, line up and say hi, girls'. They don't like being disturbed any more than you would, but you do still need to look once in a while.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,778

    Default

    My average is a vuisit to the bee yards 10-11 rounds in a year, not including moeing. I might make a few more rounds just because sometimes thing dont work as planned, but on paper, as planned, 10-11 rounds. Some of those include intensive hive brood work, others are feeding, medication and honey pulling rounds,
    I only dive into the brood nest once a year during the split round.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default How often

    While you are learning, as often as you like

    Later, with experience and more colonies the sign of a master is how little he or she seems to actually do.

    Reality is usually somewhere between the two.

    Certain seasons are critical: Spring build up & Autumn build up

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    as often as necessary...

    I think it is good to have some purpose in mind when you pop a lid. if bee keeping is a new gig for ya', get in there often enough to learn something and often enough to acquire some degree of comfort working around stinging insects.

    a few snips from the prior comments.

    alpha6 writes:
    The only way to know what is going on in your hives is to open them and see.

    tecumseh: not exactly. there are any number of things one can determine by casual external observation. typically I use these first clues to distinquish which hives need attention and which do not. population and some diseases are quite recognizable from the outside of a hive.

    mr laury writes:
    Certain seasons are critical: Spring build up & Autumn build up


    tecumseh: yep... if you were a true minimalist... spring and fall inspection plus harvesting would be the only time you inspected.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Indiana, Clay County
    Posts
    565

    Big Grin how many

    Mabye 2x a month. I spend more time looking at the entrance



    I finally sold some honey at work . WOW !!!!! My first 5$ bucks coming back in from this hobby

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    parker county, tx
    Posts
    7,923

    Default

    3 or 4 times per year as a general rule. Once in early spring, once in early summer, and once in early fall. I say 3 or 4 because I've had to treat for mites twice.
    So many weeds.......so little time.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tulare County, CA USA
    Posts
    1,380

    Default

    As little as I can for the sanity of the bees...As often as I can for the sanity of me.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    parker county, tx
    Posts
    7,923

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cow pollinater View Post
    As little as I can for the sanity of the bees...As often as I can for the sanity of me.
    CP, as soon as I saw you posted, I figured you said something like "I never go in my hives. I can't fit in them."
    So many weeds.......so little time.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tulare County, CA USA
    Posts
    1,380

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonfly View Post
    CP, as soon as I saw you posted, I figured you said something like "I never go in my hives. I can't fit in them."
    Well If you must know, I was thinking about saying, "I never go into my hives, I use the toilet". But it seems like you've got me figured out about as well as anybody ever has.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Cambria County, PA US
    Posts
    404

    Default Less with time, but within reason

    Go back and read Tom Laury's post.

    More often when you're starting is one of the best ways to gather experience - this is a must.

    I strongly agree that after the first year or two, the answer in somewhere in between. A conscientious beekeeper needs to conscientious about what's going on in his hives.

    I do open mine on average every 24 days for drone comb treatment. While I'm moving frames, this gives me a good chance to assess what's going on. My mentor opens his far less. Like Tom said..."the truth is somewhere in between..."

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    parker county, tx
    Posts
    7,923

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cow pollinater View Post
    Well If you must know, I was thinking about saying, "I never go into my hives, I use the toilet".
    Oh wow, that's even better! I actually laughed out loud, and still am.
    So many weeds.......so little time.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
    Posts
    3,721

    Default

    First year 'newbeek' with 1-2 hives: About every 10 days.
    Second year 'newbeek' with 1-3 hives: About every 11-15 days.
    Third year [experienced] beekeeper with 1-4 hives: About every 7-10 days in the early spring and about 1-3 inspections during the average 3-4 months of the summer honey flow. In the fall; inspections [your] may vary from 1-3.

    Inspections can vary from just observing activity at the entrance,.. to breaking down the hive boxes and cleaning bottom boards; like in the early spring.
    Inspections can involve just opening the top and inner cover and lifting a few frames or looking at more frames,.. if no eggs are found/seen. An experienced beekeeper can observe much and make decisions about the wellfare of a particular hive just by lifting a hive body and looking at the bottom bars for swarm cells.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Reminder Back Then

    In the old cowtown where I live there were two well known local beekeepers, Big Nick and Little Nick. Both were Russian/Ukrainian. Big Nick was blind. He kept around 800 colonies, and diagnosed & observed with his hands and his ears.

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