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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    37

    Default How detailed of a first inspection?

    I installed my first two packages this past Saturday and the weather has been rainy with only one sunny, warm day where I was able to watch the crew flying and working. 3 days after install Hive1's queen was out of her cage while I had to help Hive2's queen out with a dead worker or two blocking her exit. Hive2 has gone through twice as much sugar water as Hive1 has.

    We are due for 70* and sunny this weekend so timing and weather shouldn't be a problem.

    Should I do a "full" (for new beek terms) inspection, going frame by frame noting how much comb/pollen/stores and truly looking for the queen? Or, is a quick check of a frame or two from the center looking for larvae a better option this early into it? If that is the case, is the larvae fairly obvious to see (I've been checking various sites/pictures to train myself) at this point? I can check as late as Monday and then weather will start to turn and shift work picks up again as well.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,671

    Default Re: How detailed of a first inspection?

    I personally don't see the need for a full inspection at this point. I might pull a frame or two just to get a sense of what they look like. You MIGHT not have the queens laying yet. If they were hived on foundation they have a bit of work to do first although they can often pull wax pretty quick. Next week might be the better choice weather permitting but I'm like you and want to take a look. So if you do, scope it out...find the queens if you can....look for eggs and use what you've seen as a basis for how things look later. Comparative info is always good!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Pickens County, South Carolina, US
    Posts
    828

    Default Re: How detailed of a first inspection?

    Quote Originally Posted by Irons View Post
    I installed my first two packages this past Saturday and the weather has been rainy with only one sunny, warm day where I was able to watch the crew flying and working. 3 days after install Hive1's queen was out of her cage while I had to help Hive2's queen out with a dead worker or two blocking her exit. Hive2 has gone through twice as much sugar water as Hive1 has.

    We are due for 70* and sunny this weekend so timing and weather shouldn't be a problem.

    Should I do a "full" (for new beek terms) inspection, going frame by frame noting how much comb/pollen/stores and truly looking for the queen? Or, is a quick check of a frame or two from the center looking for larvae a better option this early into it? If that is the case, is the larvae fairly obvious to see (I've been checking various sites/pictures to train myself) at this point? I can check as late as Monday and then weather will start to turn and shift work picks up again as well.
    I'm in exactly the same boat as you are. I installed 4 packages Sat. I released all 4 queens since then. My mentor is going to drop by Sat. to do my first inspection. I will be glad to pass along information about what we did if that helps. I am really anxious to see what the queen has been up to this week. I saw comb being drawn last Sun. so I hope they had cells ready for her to lay in this week. This is the most fun I have had with my clothes on in a long time!

    One of my sons is a FF and I was a vol. for 10 years. Thanks for your service.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: How detailed of a first inspection?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenseye View Post
    I might pull a frame or two just to get a sense of what they look like.
    Thanks. I will take a quick look Sunday or Monday to see if she's laying and if the comb is looking good to start. Their frames do have foundation. The following weekend I'll give them a thorough going through, frame by frame.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lazer128 View Post
    I will be glad to pass along information about what we did if that helps.

    One of my sons is a FF and I was a vol. for 10 years. Thanks for your service.
    Please pass along how it went, I'd like to hear the high/low-lights. Thanks to you and your son's as well. That is absolutely excellent to keep it in the family. I'm blessed enough to have a career that I'm just as excited now as when I started 16 years ago (the first 5 years were paid-on-call).
    Just an excited, new beek with a lot to learn. But with so much going on in the hive, will that ever change?

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

    Default Re: How detailed of a first inspection?

    The only thing you really need to see on your first inspection is if there are eggs or not. Pull a couple frames from the center and look and see if there are any eggs. You should also see some syrup being stored around the edges and maybe some pollen if anything is growing in your area but its the eggs that you really want to see. They should be easy to spot, tiny little white things like miniature grains of rice sticking up from the bottom of the cells. If you have those then you still had a queen at least a few days ago so finding her isn't critical, although you may want to just out of curiosity.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,674

    Default Re: How detailed of a first inspection?

    If your sure teh queen is free, a QUICK inspection for eggs after a week, then LEAVE THEM ALONE for 3 weeks...(as long as you see bees working).. by then you should have a decent pattern of capped brood, and hatchlings...... Its tough I know. try haveing 200 hives in the yard, and not opening any!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,443

    Default Re: How detailed of a first inspection?

    I'll echo the sentiments of keep any inspection brief and don't take the time to find the queen but instead look for signs that she has been there. (eggs) Inspections ought to be done with a purpose; if the primary reason is for your own education, fine; if not you should be in and out in less than five minutes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: How detailed of a first inspection?

    On the other hand, bees will tolerate inspections if you keep them brief and don't do anything that causes disruptions (like smoke) I checked my hives almost every day for the first couple of months. This was just for my own curiosity, there was no practical reason for this, I just wanted to see what was happening. None of my hives absconded.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: How detailed of a first inspection?

    I really appreciate the comments all. I will be brief tomorrow, just looking for eggs. While I would love to check it out just for my knowledge, my main goal is to see if the queen is laying. If there are eggs, there's a queen. I won't worry about finding her. With such a quick check, I won't smoke them.

    The three week hiatus will hurt, I'm just to darn curious and need to learn haha. gmcharlie, you have more willpower than me! But I will keep them quick in nature for several weeks before breaking out some light smoke for a more thorough inspection. The goal of the following inspections is just to see how much growth and keep me exposed to the hive (knowledge/experience).
    Just an excited, new beek with a lot to learn. But with so much going on in the hive, will that ever change?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Pickens County, South Carolina, US
    Posts
    828

    Default Re: How detailed of a first inspection?

    I went in my 4 (1 week old) hives today. We smoked the first one and didn't see the queen. We didn't smoke the other 3 and found the queen pretty easily. Let the first one settle down and went back in and found her. All had uncapped honey and pollen but no eggs. Mentor felt like the cold wet weather we had this week slowed her down. I'll be pulling the center frames next weekend looking for eggs. I won't take the time to look for her. I'm having a blast with all these girls.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,671

    Default Re: How detailed of a first inspection?

    I just want to say again that you might not see eggs for a while. For me, my eyes just struggle. Sometimes the queen simply takes her time before she gets going. Many times, she'll start right away but sometimes it takes a lot longer so please don't assume that you don't have a queen if you don't see eggs. Of course, seeing the queen herself will tell you that she's there (whether or not she's laying eggs is another thing).
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

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