Results 1 to 4 of 4

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Beulah,Michigan,USA
    Posts
    117

    Default How often do you inspect the hives?

    Hello All,

    While I by no means consider myself a commercial beekeeper, I do want to hear opinions from those who are. I am up to 40 hives this year and with a very demanding career I do not have the time to work the bees as often as I once did. The first year that I kept bees I was in the hives almost every week. This was fun for me and allowed me to closely watch the bees and their life cycles. I know that this was overkill and may have actually been detrimental to the bees.

    Now that I have as many hives as I do and a job that keeps me very busy I am trying to work out a reasonable schedule of hive inspections. Prior to the fruit tree bloom I went through all of the hives and check each frame and looked for queens. Now that apple bloom is over I went through them (mostly) again. I had moved a few of my strongest overwintered hives into a friends apple orchard for pollination and a couple of them (at least as far as I know I caught two) swarmed. I went through these hives again and was glad I did. We are entering a time of dearth for my area (Northwestern Michigan) and I was wondering how often I may need to check them at this time. Our major honeyflow (spotted knapweed) will not come until mid to late summer.

    I have some nucs and swarms that I caught and I may want to check them more often, but I worry about my overwintered hives as I don't want any more to swarm. How often do you folks go through your hives? Is a quick check for eggs enough or do you look for the queen? I would love to hear some opinions from folks that have to make the most of their time while still making sure the bees are in good shape.

    Thanks in advance,
    Jason

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,646

    Default

    every 2 weeks I try to open the cover, usually no smoke, just a quick visiual, full teardown and inspections spring only 1 a month. super inspections and rearragments every 2-3 weeks depending on colony strength

    I find swarms very rare after the first week or 2 of june. bu June 1 here your bees are supered up and ready to fill frames instead of moving out. At thes ppoint I am looking for queen issues.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,497

    Default

    Interesting question. I "inspect" my hives every time I am go to a bee yard which is about once a week. That being said, other then in the spring when we are splitting, re-queening and monitoring the progress of splits my inspection consists of looking at the front entrance and popping the lid. I usually won't tear into a hive unless something looks out of place. ie - the hive is noticeably weaker then those around it. Once supers are on I just monitor the rate at which they are filling. If one is again noticeably behind the others I may dig further to find out what's up with it.

    On re queening I place the queen and return in a week to see if she is released. If she is not I usually release her. I then return in a week and check for eggs if they are there I look no further. If I can't find eggs, I look for the queen. If I can't find her I mark the hive and return in another week. By this time if there are no eggs and no queen I re queen or usually just nuc the hive by placing the nuc frames on the bottom, newspaper and then the old hive up top. So far have had 100 acceptance using this method.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Beulah,Michigan,USA
    Posts
    117

    Default

    Thanks for the replies so far,

    From what I can tell, I do not need to open up the hives as much as I did in the past. Sounds like a quick check under the lid and some good observations of the hive entrance will do. Great point about the likelihood of swarming dropping after the beginning of June. I was just surprised to see all of the swarm cells in a couple of the hives that I had brought back from pollination. I did read that bees are less likely to swarm during a dearth, and that is where we are now here in the North.

    I would love to hear from some of the other commercial beekeepers as to what they are doing.

    Thanks again,
    Jason

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads