Another "rookie" question
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Greenville, SC, USA
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    Default Another "rookie" question

    I started beekeeping this month and both hives seem to be going well. I know (hope) at sometime, I will need to add another hive and plan to do it when 8 or 9 frames are filled. Since I am an ignorant rookie, my tendancy is to run out there every couple of hours and check. I have been able to restrict myself to once a day, but I know I need to develop a logical routine. (for the bees sake). What is a reasonable time gap so I can check progress without causing stress or neglect?

    Thanks

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    DeSoto County, MS, USA
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    Default Re: Another "rookie" question

    This is my third year and when Spring arrives and the bees start flying, I have the same urge. I will usually check mine once a week during the spring nectar flow. This is of course unless the inspection I just completed indicates that I need to check on a particluar hive sooner. As the fall season gets here I will usually reduce the visits to every two weeks , and then in the winter only about once a month.

    Dave

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Another "rookie" question

    Unless there's a problem you never want to go into a hive more than once a week. Part of becoming a better beekeeper is learning how to do the most good with the fewest inspections. Every time you open the hive it sets them back. Twice a month is typical for me. Maybe more during swarm season.
    ...This, and my heart, and all the Bees
    Which in the Clover dwell.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Another "rookie" question

    Agreed NCSU, once a week max during spring, every other week is what I do unless I see something at the landing board to cause suspicion. Late summer and early fall just lift the lid every so often to see how they are putting up the honey, winter I leave them alone until a warm day in Feb.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Another "rookie" question

    sokay Jnick, i was in mine about every 3 days my 1st year. Now i am once a week.....
    "You laugh at me because I am different, but I laugh at you because you are all the same."

  7. #6
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    TORONTO,ON. CANADA
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    Default Re: Another "rookie" question

    Quote Originally Posted by NCSUbeeKEEPER View Post
    Unless there's a problem you never want to go into a hive more than once a week. Part of becoming a better beekeeper is learning how to do the most good with the fewest inspections. Every time you open the hive it sets them back. Twice a month is typical for me. Maybe more during swarm season.
    Agree with NCSU
    It's a strong urge, but you have to work on selfcontrol Every other week for me.
    A lot can be learned just by watching them flying in and out, are they busy, are they bringing in pollen or nectar, how their actions change with weather change...
    Listen to the sounds of the hive, they can tell you if your bees are happy or upset.
    Clustering, bearding on the outside of the hive. Is it due to hot weather or dearth...
    Observe, then when you open your hive after two weeks, you will see if you made right conclusions.
    It's fun
    ==Northumberland County Beekeeper, Trent Hills, Ontario==

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Another "rookie" question

    But also learning how to be a beekeeper is getting into the hives and learning them. Without a mentor, i had to learn all on my own and from those here who were willing to teach. Interestingly, i was in them every couple of days trying to understand and now that I do, I don't go in but once a week. Yes, once a week is enough, but for a newbie, I say go for it. Learn everything you can. everyday is too much but every 3-4 at first is not, but this is my opinion and nothing more. We all learn different ways, and for me, once a week was not enough.


    ****btw, RayMarler taught me how to do splits on the chat at night......
    "You laugh at me because I am different, but I laugh at you because you are all the same."

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Greenville, SC, USA
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    Default Re: Another "rookie" question

    Thanks a LOT. Unfortunately, the only way I have to learn is to read and to observe. I'm hoping I'll gain understanding my watching things develop and be able to discern problems by analyzing the differences between my two hives. I'm excited about the prospect, but scared as hell as well. I appreciate the input.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Seneca, SC
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    Default Re: Another "rookie" question

    Raising the lid to look is one thing. Moving and pulling frames is another. If you kill your queen you are automatically set back 25-30 days. Under the right conditions the hive could fail with the loss of the queen.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Another "rookie" question

    I agree SC, BUT, my most productive hive last year was queenless...LOL. They did great! Ended up having a laying worker, and took a while to rectify that, but it was a GREAT learning experience....
    "You laugh at me because I am different, but I laugh at you because you are all the same."

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Pinellass County, Florida
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    Default Re: Another "rookie" question

    jnick32
    If you can't stop
    Build or Buy a Observation Hive
    I did a KTBH with a window that too may give you enough
    to calm the Crack urge
    Yes I mean Crack!! as in cracking the lid way too much

    been there!! done that!!


    Tommyt

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Another "rookie" question

    Ended up having a laying worker, and took a while to rectify that, but it was a GREAT learning experience....
    Now to me that is the proper attitude of a beekeeper!! Enjoy each experience with the bee's even the so called "negative" ones!

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Clay Count, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Another "rookie" question

    Check them as much as you want in your first year so you can learn more and keep them alive later. Check them between 10 and 2 on sunny, windless days and the foragers will be out of the way. You need to learn as much as possible the first year. Also, as time goes along, expecially if you are using a two brood box system, you will learn how to check the queen's condition by not looking for her but for eggs and brood pattern thereby not having to pull so many frames.

    Things happen quick inside the hive. One day not drawn comb, three days later lots of it. Why? Because they started bringing in nector and you will start to see it stored in cells.

    After they use a comb for broad you will also sometimes find nectar in them one day and several days later eggs. Why? Because they put nectar in them then clean them. My point is there are so many stages of how they work and you will have to be in the hive to see the stages and changes. More frequently then ever in the first year.

    So, I'd suggest risking their health and developement the first year to learn more. Although, unless you kill the queen I can't see you harming them much.

    Put the frames back in the same spot you pulled them from other than maybe moving the outer ones (the ones against the wood) switched with the frame next to them if they are not building comb on it. Never move apart frames that have brood on them from next to each other. Unless of course you are moving a frame of brood or eggs to another hive strong enough to care for them.

    Just a couple simple rules to help you get started for now.

    Having two hives helps a lot so you can compare the two.

    Go for it! Next stop no gloves when working them.

    That's my two cents.
    Last edited by MDS; 04-16-2011 at 01:32 AM.
    Try living life with the attitude it's not about what you want to do but what you should do!

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Another "rookie" question

    windless days
    If I waited for windless days I could only check my hives twice a year....I live in one of the windiest large cities in the US.....if it is under 25 mph I go in.

    Check them as much as you want in your first year so you can learn more
    I say...learn some discipline and let them thrive.

  16. #15
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Another "rookie" question

    I've been keeping bees for quite a while now -- I have always kept bees primarily for my own sake and to satisfy my curiosity. Perhaps I am doing a disservice to the bees, but "tough noogies" - I enjoy looking inside and watching how things are done by the bees. Observations hives are okay, but there's nothing like looking through a full-size colony, handling the frames/combs, etc. I look in most hives every day, and do a thorough inspection twice per week. I'm always extremely careful and rarely injure a queen.

    It's even more fascinating working with the bees to produce queens and more colonies. I get to more regularly open cell builder colonies, mating nucs, and grafting of the tiny larvae. I can watch queen cells as they develop, colonies as they form around their new queens. Much more interesting than just keeping colonies for honey production.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Coatesville, Pa, USA
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    Default Re: Another "rookie" question

    I was also encouraged to look before I entered the hive. I recently started beekeeping via a cut-out. It was very interesting this past week going to check them and noticing before I entered that they were favoring one side of the entrance rather than the other. I watched them come in for about 5-10 minutes or so before I did anything. I'm glad I did. It is interesting now knowing that in the cut-out I had injured the queen and on that side there is at least one queen cell. My urge is also to open them up often, but I do think we can learn more from what we see outside as has been said. I also have my hive on a farm and when I got there (before seeing anything) the farmer said he saw a bee working some of the flowering weeds that he was working around. He said that it seemed to be a bit testier than the "usual bee" that he incountered in the past. I thought that was interesting especially since I thought that the queen wasn't doing well. I've read that a hive is "hot" when they're queenless.

    Bottom line. . . Make sure temps are right before opening them up, but I don't think once a week is too much. (at least I hope not) I'd be concerned with every day. They're not a dog or something. To me I think they may abscond if there's too much done with them. But hey what Do I know? JMHO and thoughts. Have fun!!!

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Oxford, MS
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    Default Re: Another "rookie" question

    Just started last weekend with 3 hives. I have screened bottom boards and can kneel at the back with a mirror and watch them thu the bottom. They ignore me

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Huntsville, Alabama
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    723

    Default Re: Another "rookie" question

    Every other week during spring pre-honey flow. Once a week during the honey flow to check for swarm cells. Every other week in late summer/early fall, after the flow to check for stores and small hive beetles. Once on a warm winter day to place dry sugar and newpaper on the top frames for emergency feeding down the road.(See "Mountain Camp method for details on this winter feeding)

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