Subject says it all.
Subject says it all.
whenever i open a hive up. i usually remove an outer frame to see whats there, then the next one or two until i get a good look at the brood pattern. it also matters where the brood chamber starts. if i like what i see i close them up. if not i keep looking until i know whats going on.
I agree with justin... I only really want to see if there are eggs and check brood pattern, if everything looks good I close it back up and move on to the next one.
Today. Looked through 2 strong hives for swarm/supercedure cells. 3x10 med brood chambers. 3rd year (Texas) Buckfast queens with fabulous full brood. no QC's. Maybe they superceded while I wasn't looking? Both made 150+ last year.
I dug into the bottom box today because it had been a month and I let them get a bit crowded for a week or so before supering. I found a couple (literally 2) cups, one looked empty the other had an egg in it. One mid way up frame on outer edge (empty?) the other was on bottom like a swarm (egg). I didn't go through the entire middle box because I just went through frame by frame fixing wonky comb last weekend and all was well.
I assume that these cells are some "just in case" cells, but it got me thinking about how would I know without going through the whole thing?
On this particular hive I have no clue the queen's age as it was a tree removal and I got lucky and vacuumed her up. I do believe they may have supersede her/swarmed/or she died just prior to removal as a day or two before they were roaring in that tree. So far though they have been very gentle and she's doing decent in laying, but I still feel its early to tell given the room they had and my over feeding. No mighty that I have seen on bees, but I haven't looked hard nor have I used the bottom board for a mite check yet. A hive beetle or two has been hiding under frame rest when I inspect (which I squish). So far as a first year keeper, I'm pretty happy!
I usually don't do a thorough check like that. There are quite a few more productive ways of trying to prevent swarming. I have other plans the would be somewhat muddled with a swarm. It is comforting, but the reality is they may have started QC's right after I buttoned them up. 'Good thing I added another medium to both...
Generally only when I do a post winter inspection and cleanup.
Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com
I can think of two instances when I would do a frame by frame inspection at least once a year…
So what are the tricks to making sure they aren't gonna swarm?
providing them room when they need it. keeping the brood nest from getting honey bound.
I did it every week or two my first season. It is an invaluable experience to watch them build up week to week. Now I only pull frames if there is a specific reason. Disease/mite check, need to find the queen, queen evaluation, etc. As I believe Mike Palmer has mentioned before, you can tell a lot about colony by just tipping the boxes and looking at the frames from the bottom.
Adam - Zone 5A
Almost never. I can normally see what's going on by only pulling 2-3frames, if I find something that concerns me I will dig deeper but, its not normally required. Check food stores, check for eggs, make sure young larva is nice and white healthy looking, check capped brood make sure it looks healthy no perforated caps. Check for swarm cells during swarm season. That's really about all I need to know most of the times. When you are first starting out doing a more detailed inspection will help you learn what's going on in the hive. But, once you get the basics down it's not normally required. Now I'm not saying ignore the brood nest, I'm just saying you don't have to pull every frame to know how the hive is doing.
As my hives are new and it is all new to me so I take each frame out and inspect each time I visit the hive. Mind you, there are only 1 1/2 eight frame mediums to go through at the moment, but I am looking at food stores, comb, eggs, laying patterns, etc. on each frame. I visit weekly.