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  1. #21
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: h) Hive management & inspection

    My goodness, I should be working but this is too fascinating not to keep it coming... I will do a "checkerboard' search to find out what that is...it almost sounds as if you put one super facing east and west and the other north and south but that would have to bee supers with eight frames I would think. I'll find an answer to checkerboarding later...

    But I have probably the silliest question of all. I am a gardener. Have been one since forever. But I do not know the signs of "nectar flow". How do you know if the nectar is flowing? Am I watching the bees? Do I watch the flowers with bees on it... How do I know?

    And your hive configuration is one deep with THREE mediums on top? then you add honey supers? Why do you keep the deep? Do you never rotate the supers? So many quesitons... so much to learn... what a fabulous hobby!

    Great advise, just great... I am copying and pasting these for rereading during winter.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Anderson County, Texas
    Posts
    1,254

    Default Re: h) Hive management & inspection

    I have always been one for planning; although the best laid plans may not come to fruition. I think this is one of the hardest things for the beginners to do. In management of the colony, one should first know what the needs of the colony is, and so when inspecting, should measure the current status against those needs, which are different for different times of the year. With winter coming on rapidly, those management objectives should now be focusing on

    1. Sufficient population to make it through the winter in order to maintain the cluster, (this means that one must have a healthy productive queen also)

    2. Sufficient stores to provide heat/energy to maintain cluster temperatures, (this means that one needs to know what the requirements for his local area is)

    3. Sufficient stores to provide for the early spring buildup necessary to give the colony a good start for a productive 'next year' that we are all hoping for.
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,318

    Default Re: h) Hive management & inspection

    Knowing when nectar is being produced by flowers is learned by talking to beekeepers in your area and finding out when nectar producing plants bloom. Then you watch those plants for bees working them. All beekeeping is local, areas differ at to plants producing nectar(soil/moisture conditions) and blooming dates. Books on beekeeping will aid in understanding what plants produce and when.

    Watching the hive entrance can tell you if bees are getting nectar and pollen, watch for increased activity and bees with pollen in their baskets. Some plants produce in the mornings only, some in the afternoon, and some all day. Some plants furnish pollen as well as nectar, some only pollen. Bees heavy with nectar fly into the "landing pattern" like they are carrying a heavy weight. When you do an inspection you will start to see open cells with nectar in them and if you turn the comb on it's side nectar will drip out.

    When the main nectar flow ends my hive configuration is a deep for the brood chamber proper, 2 mediums for the food chambers/brood chambers, and any mediums (varies from none to 3) that contain surplus honey. The food chambers were filled with nectar as the brood they contained hatched. Those 2 mediums will hold 30 to 35 pounds of food each.

    When I remove surplus supers I leave the queen excluder on to confine the queen to the bottom deep. I have no nectar flow after the sumac blooms in late June. The bees will have to live on what they have until mid September when the small white aster blooms. I don't want a large population to feed until the build up for winter. I use Buckfast, Russians and their crosses and they are frugal with their stores.

    I requeen in July. I have found that after a queen has gone through winter and a spring nectar flow she may fail and be superseded in late fall or winter. I prefer that I not try to over winter with a queen that did not have a large number of drones to mate with. I clip and mark my queens so I know the age they are and can tell if they have been superseded.

    The best things you can have to ensure overwintering success is a young queen and a good population of young adult bees. The first of August I break down the colonies to the screened bottom board and re-configure the hive. I place the lighest of the medium food chambers on the bottom board, place the deep on top of it, remove the queen excluder and place the heaviest medium on top.

    During the months of August and September the bees will eat or remove all the honey in the bottom medium. What they don't eat they store in the broodnest. They store pollen in the bottom medium as they remove the honey. The removal and relocation of the honey act as an automatic feeder and causes the queen to increase the rate of egg laying. In mid September I check food stores and if any colonies are short they get 2:1 sugar syrup. I want a full medium on top of the deep and I want 4 or 5 frames full in the deep. I consider this amount of food the minimum and if I have the extra honey I leave 2 mediums on top. It is hard to predict the spring weather, I don't know if we have "average" years anymore and I am lazy and don't like to feed.

    A deep full of brood doesn't weigh any more than a medium of honey and I don't have to lift it often. I sell a few nucs and customers want deep frames. Each deep frame has 3 in. more usable comb space than a medium and the cost is not much different (I'm not only lazy, I'm cheap too).

    My screened bottom boards remain open the year around, I use 3/8 in high enterances which I close to around 2 1/2 in to prevent robbing on warm winter days. Here in the south moisture is not a problem so I do nothing about ventilation.

    Remember that in beekeeping nothing works 100%. What works for me may not work for someone else. All beekeeping is local and good locations will excuse many beekeeper's mistakes. Your bees are your bees, keep them to suit yourself. The purpose of being a hobby beekeeper is to have fun! Last but not least, remember bees are only a bunch of bugs!

  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: h) Hive management & inspection

    Thank you AR, I have learned much today! Your last sentence..."remember bees are only a bunch of bugs!" is the best. I'm not there yet but I will keep that in mind. Every morning I bring them food, every evening when I come home from work I bring them food. Every time I do something to the hive I second guess myself...convincing myself I've either rolled the queen or made such a huge mistake they all are going to die! There is so much to learn (which I adore). I call this nothing less than "sacred science". Thanks for mentioning Walt. I started reading his information. Actually I didn't even know that those resources were available on this forum...so thank you for that! I look forward to more continued sharing. Have a wonderful weekend!
    Barbara

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: h) Hive management & inspection

    I was in charge of a table on hive inspection at the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Short Course this past weekend. I put together a power point on how to do a basic hive inspection.

    I uploaded it to my blog - the uploader I chose changed the color of the background and a couple of the slide titles slid off into the Ethernet, but it might be useful if you are starting out and want to see pictures of how to do a basic hive inspection as per one beekeeper (me)

    http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2...nspection.html

    Linda T in Atlanta
    "You never can tell with bees...." Winnie the Pooh
    http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Winnipeg Manitoba
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: h) Hive management & inspection

    Great presentation. I fretted over my boxes all winter and put them out in the back yard at the end of Feb. Opened the lid, checked for life and left them alone. Last week at 50 degrees I opened the upper boxes again and removed on frame with bees on it to find them storing syrup. Closed it up and left it alone. Now I need one more day at 65 to open the brood box and inspect it for preparations. When do I clean out the bottom and cut off the burr comb.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Castle Rock, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    269

    Default Re: h) Hive management and inspection

    A search of this topic, somewhat surprisingly, yielded no results here. The brood nest is the "heart" of every hive, no matter how large or small. It appears most problems with a new hive ( or old) naturally have to do with disruptions within the brood nest. Understanding, and then treating, healing and/or promoting the health of the "heart" of every hive - the brood nest - is most often, if not always, the solution.

    It is my belief that every new beekeeper would do well to read and consider the following words of advice from Dr Richard Taylor. There is wisdom buried within the wisdom.

    from "The How-To-Do-It book of Beekeeping" by Richard Taylor:

    " 25. The brood nest of a normal beehive has a definite and uniform pattern. The queen begins her egg laying more or less at the center of a comb, more or less at the center of the hive, and works out from there.Thus (as it progresses) one finds a pattern of sealed brood, surrounded by larvae, surrounded by smaller larvae and eggs. Eventually, as the larvae develop, the entire comb, or most of it, comes to consist of sealed brood.Then as brood at the center emerges, the queen again deposits the eggs there. Above and around this brood nest, one finds, first, pollen, then honey. The outermost combs in a hive contain only honey, sometimes pollen and rarely brood. The pollen is what is needed first, to feed the larvae, and then as winter approaches and brood rearing ceases (declines), the honey will be used; so both are appropriately placed."

    If you want to inspect and assess any colony, that is what you should see. If you don't see that, you need to direct your efforts to providing the necessary queen, or eggs, brood and stores of pollen and honey, in whatever combination best treats the ailment/condition


    "This general pattern should be preserved, unless there is good reason for doing otherwise. Thus you should never spread brood out, alternating combs or empty combs (frames) of foundation, thinking that this will cause the bees and queen to redouble their efforts to fill the empty combs. It only demoralizes them, and puts them behind."

    With new packages, swarms or weak colonies, focus your efforts on feeding the edges of the heart, not cutting it in half. The brood nest must also retain a certain level of warmth (inferred from elsewhere in the book), and dividing it most often results in a setback in early brood rearing cycles.


    "Similarly, the common practice of reversing hive bodies in the spring ...has little justification. It is likely to result in breaking the brood nest in two right across the middle. When a bee hive is inspected or combs removed for any reason they should be replaced in the order in which they were removed. About the only times the brood nest should be disrupted are when one is making increase by dividing the colony (21),(57), or making up nucs (19). "

    There are exceptions which may benefit an advanced beekeeper.



    Almost every problem that a new beekeeper experiences with any colony is addressed, either directly or indirectly, by conditions affecting the brood nest and it's cycle. Almost every solution can be had by taking it into consideration.
    --------------

    With greatest respect to Dr. Richard Taylor.
    Last edited by Barry; 06-09-2014 at 12:27 PM.

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