Re: How often do you inspect your hives? And do you smoke during inspection?
I do full inspections about one a week during build up in the spring or if there are problems in the hive such as queenlessness it swarmed etc. Once I know the brood nest is well I do not disturb it again unless something else causes me to be concerned about it. signs of disease or pests etc. Checking honey supers will continue on a weekly bases as long as they are making honey. once honey is taken and I am looking for them to build up winter stores inspections become fewer .may once every two week or even a month apart. Last year I made one final full inspection in late summer early fall to make sure all was well. they where then left alone from Late October to early February. We had a very early spring so I was inspecting about a month earlier than normal for this area. Inspections have been every other week building up to every week at this time. I expect to make those last brood nest inspections in about a week. Honey flow is starting up. I either have the bees in shape for it or I don't.
My biggest mistake this spring has been not having a nuc for each hive to help deal with queen problems. Had I made the nucs needed I could have simply added a queen to a colony as soon as I realized it was queenless. I struggled to keep enough hives and full size boxes this spring. I never had a chance to keep up with nucs. I also had 5 other major projects tossed in my lap this spring. that did not help. I am still trying to get some of those projects done and manage an apiary that doubled in size in the past two weeks. In the past month I have made 15 med boxes as well as the other woodenware for 4 more hives. and I still am out of equipment. Catchup is not a good game plan with bees.
Everything gets darker, as it goes to where there is less light. Darrel Tank (5PM drawing instructor)