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Thread: Fall Inspection

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Stevents Point, WI
    Posts
    28

    Default Fall Inspection

    Once the goldenrod flow stops, I suspect I need to open the hive and inspect the 2 deeps and, at that time, decide if I need to feed the bees.
    I did put on a honey super about 1.5 weeks ago to see if they would get it drawn out, but I suspect I won't get any honey in that one this year as there wasn't a lot of time.

    After I remove the honey super for the year, I will commence to inspect the top brood box and the frames in it. I am looking for mostly honey capped cells in this one, correct?

    Then, I remove the top deep and set it on the outer cover which is already upside down on the ground and start inspecting the lower deep for ... honey, water and pollen? Is this correct?

    One main concern I have when doing this is I worry about the queen ... if she's in the top deep, I am concerned I could squish her when setting it down, or even replacing frames as I inspect them. I don't think I've ever seen the queen since I installed her - she had a red dot on her back at that time, but I've never been able to locate that since... there are eggs and larvae so I know she has to be there, but a main worry if I cannot see her, to know she didn't get dropped out off a frame or something while inspecting.

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

    Default Re: Fall Inspection

    There is any easier way to check. Just try to lift the rear of the hive with one hand. If you can't budge it, they are set, if it's light enough to tip, feed.

    You will need at least the top deep completely full of honey and the brood nest backfilled, so if you feel you need to look, the top deep should be fully cappped and the bottom deep should have the brood nest backfilled by October (or just after first frost). If there isn't a goodly amount of pollen in the hive, plan on feeding a protein patty in February or March, as soon as you can open the hive safely. I'd feed one now, at least half a pound, if there isn't a lot of pollen going in.

    I was going to feed my hive, but it's quite heavy and the girls are loaded will at lest four types of pollen all morning every day, so I guess all is well.

    Peter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,855

    Default Re: Fall Inspection

    If you really want to do an every frame inspection go for it. As a learning tool it serves well. As a hint, pull the top box and set it aside on top of the upside cover as you described. Then start your inspection with the bottom box. You may even want to have a peak at the bottom board and install an entrance reducer while you are down there. If you happen to see the queen you could cage and release her when you are done with the inspection, or you can just keep an eye on the frames you saw her on. When you are done with the bottom box you can start on the top one while it is still on the cover. You don't want bees from down below joining in any excitement generated by your inspection. Once you are done with the inspection smoke the outside top edges of the bottom box and the bottom edges and underside of the top box - then recombine the boxes doing your best not to kill too many bees. Depending on your population it will be hard to completely avoid killing some.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    656

    Default Re: Fall Inspection

    Queen is usually found in area of new eggs.

    Remove top super and set aside on top of inner cover and cover with a cover cloth.

    Use cover cloths and only expose frame you are removing, when you are about to remove it.

    Take a quick look on front side but with light queen tends to scamper to back side. The cover cloths remove the direct light and queen does not move around or drop to the bottom near as much.

    Hold frame at arms length over the super and do a scan of the frame. Queen is often on the move and there is the tell tale ring of surrounding attendats.

    I have a set of three cover cloths. They are merely a water repellant( so they can be hosed down periodically) cloth with a full width dowelling sewn into either. About 2 inch bigger than super dimensions.

    When the supers are split, the one with bees fanning and louder does not contain the queen.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Bolton, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    277

    Default Re: Fall Inspection

    One trick I learned was To remove a frame that is at the edge of the box first, not near the center and set it aside after looking it over. The queen is less likely to be on a frame at the edge. Once this frame is out it also give you room to slide the next frame over a bit before lifting it up and out of the box. Or if you are just wanting to check the center few frames, you can just keep sliding the frames over one at a time into the empty spot you made. I see people in videos just going and pulling a frame from the middle with out removing and end frame first and making room and think, they will be rolling more bees that way.

    Glen
    You Tube bee Channel Zone 5A
    http://www.youtube.com/user/GlenGH

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Wisconsin rapids Wi USA
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Fall Inspection

    One thing I learned, is after an inspection stay around a while if the Queen does fall out it won't take long before there is a ball of bees around her on the ground (anyway that is how it happened for Me) but catching her in the grass is not to easy when in" panic mode"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Chambersburg, PA, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Fall Inspection

    Try looking for an unmarked queen. They may have replaced her. It is not uncommon for packages to replace their queens.

    I like to use a frame holder, hung on the edge of the box I am checking. I start with an outside frame or two, hang them on the frame holder and then I have plenty of room to work with what's left.

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