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,