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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Clark, Mo, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default How often do you check production hives?

    I was wanting to pick the brain of experienced commercial beekeepers. I'm just starting out, and was wondering how often and how much time you spend on production hive inspections. I would like to grow my number of colonies slowly as I learn and I realize that i have to be effecient with my time. Currently i check my 5 hives once a week during the spring, summer, and early fall. I spend about one hour total each week and i feel like i'm moving pretty quick. During my fall full inspection I spent more like an hour and forty-five for all five hives. If you would chime in on how long you inspect each hive and how often i would really appreciate it. Thanks, Jordan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: How often do you check production hives?

    We spend 5+ minutes per production hive every two weeks. Check broodnest for eggs, need for honey supers, swarming possibility, and other basic neccessities.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,609

    Default Re: How often do you check production hives?

    How often do you check your nonproduction hives?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    947

    Default Re: How often do you check production hives?

    We spend 15+ minutes per production hive every two weeks. Check broodnest for eggs, evaluate queen, pest & diseases, need for honey supers, swarming possibility, pull nucs, and other basic responsibilities. If something catches our eye, we dig deeper.
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Wilmington, NC, 28403
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: How often do you check production hives?

    Production hives - we don't do frame by frame inspections or look through hives just to see how they are doing at any point in the year. We are in the hives often enough doing things we have to do - medicating, feeding syrup or pollen sub, splitting, requeening, etc. that we do whatever checking we need to do simultaneously. Usually we are simply "looking" for something out of place - behavior, sound, amount of bees, etc. - something noticeably different than the other colonies in the same yard. Most problem colonies are obvious to the practiced eye and ear. There are several times during the year that we are are a little more deliberate and check for eggs, scrape bottoms, etc. - usually after late winter medication, after summer medication, simultaneous to last feeding pass in the fall. Financial and time pressures of running enough hives to make a living will make you more efficient if you let it and keep your thinking cap on.
    Last edited by 2dumb; 11-30-2012 at 07:35 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,652

    Default Re: How often do you check production hives?

    Under the "Bull of the Woods", you had 4 minutes to open, inspect 10 brood frames, add/subtract any supers, and close it up. We are closer to the 6 minute mark, but the Bull was pre mites.

    Crazy roland

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Maricopa, Ariz, USA
    Posts
    90

    Default Re: How often do you check production hives?

    I'm with 2dumb on this one. I figure 1 man per 1000 hives to make it work......at the 15 minute rate per, a man working 12 hours daily.....7 days a week.... will finish 336 hives a week. That doesn't work for me....guys need to identify and correct problem hives in a couple of minutes while performing other work and move on. Now.....finding and killing African Queens......that's a different story, them buggers can be HARD to find, and must be killed, VERY time consuming.
    Last edited by dback; 11-30-2012 at 08:33 PM.

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

    Default Re: How often do you check production hives?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    How often do you check your nonproduction hives?
    Non-honey production hives (Q-rearing and etc) and weak or "worrying" hives get checked once a week max.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,309

    Default Re: How often do you check production hives?

    I think what just these few posts should point out to the OP is that commercial operations can operate in many different ways. From my perspective, once a nuc has "caught" a queen in the early spring and is up and running there isnt any reason to tear into it through the rest of the year. Through the summer and fall we only take the time to inspect a hive to do routine mite checks or if there is reason to suspect that there is some sort of problem. Hives that arent growing and producing need to be checked at the first sign something is amiss or else the next time through it may have turned into a box full of wax moth or shb but this should be a relatively small number. Our goals are to have all of our hives producing through the summer, if they appear normal upon opening them thats plenty good enough for me, any additional time spent browsing through them is just "burning daylight". I dare say I am not alone among commercials in this approach. All beekeepers dont operate in this manner as many have other goals that require a lot of manipulations through the course of a season. Losses? Sure we have a few, this year its looking like about 10% attrition from check backs through the end of the year which is a pretty typical number, some probably poor matings while others might be good smaller hives that were casualties of the disruption caused by bee moving. Perhaps a caveman could do it, perhaps not but the point being that through most of a season we inspect only if we feel its truly worth our time to seek out a problem.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Ohio
    Posts
    860

    Cool Re: How often do you check production hives?

    Well Said Jim.
    If things looks, smells, and sounds good when lid is open, really no need to dig deeper. Its the hives that don't that you spend 80% of your time on. Some problems are easier to fix then others. I only worry about the hive I'm working on. It is a job, but Keep it Fun

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