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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Duncan, OK
    Posts
    5

    Question Checking hive too much?

    OK, i'll admit it, i've waited on my first hive for a long time. And now that i've finally got them, i'm checking in on them basically daily...its almost therapeutic for me. It's like having a new puppy. But, i am wondering (since bees aren't puppies) am i checking them too much? They don't seem to mind me much, in fact, i'm not wearing a veil or suit, just shorts and tee shirt. But, i'm beginning to wonder if i'm giving them enough time and space. We are having temps of 100+ daily here in OK, and i just want to make sure they make it. I have moved the hive into a more shaded area where they get morning and midmorning sun, and i only check them in the morning or evening when its cooler. But my excitement could be detrimental, what do you veterans say?The Kingdom 250.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    294

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    I don't think it will cause severe harm, but I have read that they get disrupted every time you smoke them. I think Joseph Clemens inspects his hives several times a week. However, I don't know if he does it almost daily. By the way, I'm not really a veteran.


    Nathan
    Good enough is perfect - Joel Salatin

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Duncan, OK
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    Thanks Nathan, since i don't have a smoker, i don't smoke them. By the way...love Salatin.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Harrisburg, PA
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    I'm new to this this year and I was checking on mine twice a week and now I check on them once a week. I've been told by others that smoking them will interupt them for a few days. Maybe you could try just going out and watching the hive entrance and watching them fly and land as opposed to opening the hive. I actually like checking on mine less frequently now. It makes the major changes in the hive more exciting than watching the gradual changes.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    Not smoking them I think is the key.

    I check mine almost everyday but have never used smoke. For the most part they don't act like they have even noticed me open the hive.

    I know exactly what you mean when you say its almost therapeutic. I find working with my bees very calming.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,346

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    I've heard that inspecting them, smoking them, or both, sets a hive back a certain period of time. If that were actually true, my hives would be at the level of, "just started", minus a few years. If they were so sensitive that looking at their inner workings (which is why I have them in the first place), were deleterious to them, I don't think I would be able to keep them alive, or at least staying where I want them, in their hives.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Kingsville, OH
    Posts
    959

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    While I do check my hives daily I do not do a full inspection but every other week. I do sometime open the hive and check on comb building and capping. I have not smoked a hive in some time. But I disagree that it will set the bees back for days. When I did smoke them I saw little affects on activity. I do agree it is therapeutic, even if I just stand and watch the act ivies out side the hive.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
    Posts
    189

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    I really wish we could get rid of this idea that smoking sets them back for long periods of time. All it does is disrupt their perception of alarm pheremones, and according to this paper they're back to normal within 10-20 minutes... which given my experience in handling my hives is exactly what I see - a little smoke gives me about that long to work, longer and I may need to give it a boost.

    Alarm pheromone perception in honey bees is decreased by smoke (Hymenoptera: Apidae) http://www.springerlink.com/content/v172010112682748/

    Abstract from the paper:
    The application of smoke to honey bee(Apis mellifera) antennae reduced the subsequent electroantennograph response of the antennae to honey bee alarm pheromones, isopentyl acetate, and 2-heptanone. This effect was reversible, and the responsiveness of antennae gradually returned to that of controls within 10–20 min. A similar effect occurred with a floral odor, phenylacetaldehyde, suggesting that smoke interferes with olfaction generally, rather than specifically with honey bee alarm pheromones. A reduction in peripheral sensitivity appears to be one component of the mechanism by which smoke reduces nest defense behavior of honey bees.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
    Posts
    189

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    As to whether you're bothering them too much, Jay... yeah, probably.

    But what are you learning? If your learning is being augmented significantly, then it's to their long term benefit and if you're not seeing obvious detriment, then go for it. It's all a balancing act. In fairly short order you'll find you can space out your observations until you get to a more normal interaction level.

    If it's just idle curiosity and feelgood factor.... get yourself a lawn chair and learn to enjoy the beauty of them on the wing.

    btw - our inspection schedule is every three weeks - which may stretch to four. Unless something specific needs to be done, they aren't touched at all in the interim.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Westchester NY
    Posts
    238

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    wait until the population expands and there is no honey flow No veil no smoke= BIG PROBLEM

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rochester, NY, USA
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    Quote Originally Posted by xcugat View Post
    wait until the population expands and there is no honey flow No veil no smoke= BIG PROBLEM
    I wonder if that was my deal today. There is still some flow, but we are in the middle of a drought and I took 5 frames of honey (my first ever, by the way) AND WERE THEY MAD! I routinely visit them and open the top and they seem indifferent. Not today, they weren't! They were desperate to get inside my veil -- and I got stung in the ankle (boots and rubber bands, from now on!) and they chased me 75 yards to the house. I went outside later and they were hanging out by the door smoking cigarettes and playing cards and just waiting for me.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Cupertino, CA, USA
    Posts
    280

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    The first year and a half that I had bees I thought they were really friendly. I didn't seem to need protection. They were on their back asking for a tummy rub. Now with two deeps full of brood and three or four supers full of honey, they are like "who you lookin at, punk".

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Billerica, MA
    Posts
    298

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    Try to find a copy of "At The Hive Entrance" by H. Storch. It's a good read on it's own but it also can help you figure out what they're doing a little better just by watching.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,492

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    Opening the hive and moving things around, smoke or no smoke, will show up on a hive scale record as a slight decrease in weight gain, so yes, opening up the hive disrupts them. Not a huge amount, but some.

    Smoke also disrupts all pheremones in the hive, not just alarm pheremone, so it probably has more effect than not using smoke, but I'm sure hauling all the frames out every day is going to cause them to develop more slowly.

    As far a smoke goes, I didn't use much the first year, and the first day they were really cranky got stung more than I like. So now I puff a bit of smoke in every time, and use my veil. No stings this year yet, and one hive has a full deep of brood and a full medium of honey.

    They were very fussy the other day when it eventually rained later, so I left them alone.

    I now only check them over every couple weeks unless they are not showing normal activity, maybe weekly if I think it's necessary as when my small swarm re-queened themselves.

    Peter

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    854

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    Quote Originally Posted by stripstrike View Post
    Try to find a copy of "At The Hive Entrance" by H. Storch. It's a good read on it's own but it also can help you figure out what they're doing a little better just by watching.
    I read this book and do my checks more often with this process. I have read that every opening of hive can make them more defensive, so that's why I try to stay out as much as possible. I'd love to go in more but I don't. I try to keep it at just 3-4 times a year for deep box, more often for supers just to make sure they have enough stores.

    You can get an e-copy at
    http://www.ebook-downloader.com/down...torch-54926139
    Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prvb 16:24
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bell County, KY, USA
    Posts
    383

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    Thanks for posting this read.
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 07-23-2012 at 06:25 AM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,295

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    I have been opening my hives twice a week to fill feeders that are sitting on the frames but I only pull a few of the top frames every two weeks to manipulate them. These were new hives this spring and they are in the process of drawing out their second deep for winter. Next year during late spring and summer I will only need to open the hive to check the honey supers to see if more room is needed, perhaps every three weeks. By the way I do use a smoker, the hives are growing and the bees are really aggressive this time of year.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Old Hickory, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    I think it's just natural to be excited like that. From what I've read, bees don't sting unless you pose a threat to their lives so be sure not to touch the hive if you're not wearing any protection.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Charlottesville, Virginia
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    One way to satisfy your curiosity is to insert the drop board under your screened bottom board. You can remove it and study it without opening or disturbing the hive. Similar to observing the entrance.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,581

    Default Re: Checking hive too much?

    When I get the urge to open a hive, I typically build something related to beekeeping. Needless to say I have A LOT of extra woodenware lying around. lol
    Not to mention beekeeping tool boxes, two sizes of bee vacs, etc.
    I do observe quite often though. It's amazing what you can learn just from the activity on the front porch.

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