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