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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Henry, Virginia
    Posts
    93

    Default First inspection after hiving, checking for queen release-smoke or no smoke?

    Just hived our 2 sets of bees this past Monday (4/30), as most of you know

    I plan to make sure the queens have been released this Friday (5/4) around noon. Their cages are on the bottom boards. What I would like to know is if I need to use a smoker upon this inspection?
    I have read that smoking sets them back a few days, and I don't want to do that to them this early if I can help it.

    So, Friday, do I smoke when I search for her, and get her cage out? I would hate for them to go nuts on me, and that is what I was worried about. Please ADVISE.

    Also, on a side note, after this inspection, would a 14 day period (2 weeks) be enough time to wait for the next inspection, to check for eggs, ect.?

    Thank you all so much for being patient with me!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Greenbrae, CA, USA
    Posts
    335

    Default Re: First inspection after hiving, checking for queen release-smoke or no smoke?

    In my somewhat limited experience, no need to smoke 'em for a routine inspection of a new hive in the spring (assuming they're not a not hive by genetics). You should come to know pretty quickly what the temperment of your hive is. If like mine, I don't use smoke unless I'm really getting into a hive later in the year when they have honey to protect. Around now they're very docile and more focused on their routine than on me. Yours could easily be in a grumpier mood.

    Why not light your smoker and have it ready, but try to do the inspection without using it. If they're really grumpy, then give 'em a couple of puffs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,208

    Default Re: First inspection after hiving, checking for queen release-smoke or no smoke?

    Light the smoker and then don't use. That's what I would do. A little smoke in the air will help but won't make the queen run.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,027

    Default Re: First inspection after hiving, checking for queen release-smoke or no smoke?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bees4Us View Post
    Also, on a side note, after this inspection, would a 14 day period (2 weeks) be enough time to wait for the next inspection...
    I always encourage new beekeepers to inspect every 7-10 days during the first year. The best way to learn about what's going on in the hive is to get in there and look. As time goes on, you'll learn to recognize things at a glance, but for now, consider this your learning hive and don't hesitate to spend time in it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: First inspection after hiving, checking for queen release-smoke or no smoke?

    FWIW, I have installed in a similar manner--first hive last yr and another this yr--by sitting the queen cage on the top bars of the box below w/ another box on top. Bees cluster in the top box and hang down to the cage. Once released, the cluster stays in the top box. I removed the cages in the morning before foraging commenced--0600-0700. If your cage is sitting on the bottom board you can probably just move the whole hive over to the side in the early morning, remove the cage, and replace the hive. I never saw a bee while doing this--temps were always in the 40s to low 50s.

    That being said, if you are worried about stings just suit up and then go. The above folks are spot on RE: temperament. Nobody got stung once in my family until this spring--including me. The difference surprised me at first but, like they said, they had brood and stores to protect this spring.

    Anyway, my technique is obviously not standard practice but it has worked for me thus far. Now I have my first swarm to play w/ too (and I thought I was only going to have one hive!). Suspect I will never need to buy a package again unless something bad happens--like a bee epidemic in my yard.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Henry, Virginia
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: First inspection after hiving, checking for queen release-smoke or no smoke?

    Thank you all for the replies. I am going to check them in the morning and see what is going on. I like the idea of checking between 6-7am but would freak if they all went after me! I am hoping this will go smooth tomorrow and I hope I actually SEE the queen in each.

    I would guess I should check them the following weekend to look for brood. I am hoping they will be on the way to a strong colony.

    I seen many of them this morning with their pollen pockets very full. I will have my smoker ready tomorrow as well.

    Thanks for taking time to reply to my thread

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,594

    Default Re: First inspection after hiving, checking for queen release-smoke or no smoke?

    Few people would be inspecting in the early morning when it's not necessary. You may be able to slide the queen cage out the front of the hive... without smoke.

    I would stop the inspection after seeing eggs or young larva. But then again, it's hard not to look at each frame.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: First inspection after hiving, checking for queen release-smoke or no smoke?

    I don't use smoke on newly installed package bees. I find they are fairly gentle and easy to work without the smoker. Can't hurt to have it on hand tho.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: First inspection after hiving, checking for queen release-smoke or no smoke?

    If you just move the hive over and remove the cage and replace the hive you will probably be okay--move the hive calmly, smoothly and slowly so as not to jar. This is a 2 minute affair and the bees don't know I was even there--I don't inspect or look at anything.

    However, if you actually want to look for the queen and inspect a little then I assume that requires removing a frame or two. If this is the case they might not be the happiest bees if you break up the cluster by removing a frame (or just removing the top of the hive) during the cool morning. In that case, I would revert to the other advice--mid-morning w/ smoker lit just in case.

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