How often can I go into the hives?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Bailey, CO USA
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    67

    Default How often can I go into the hives?

    Four hives started from packages on April 30th. I left them alone on cold snowy days, but now the days are into the 60's and 70's and the nights are only getting down to the low 40's. I like to look at them and check out eggs and brood every other day. I usually give them a little smoke before opening them up. Will intruding often like this make them mean, or will it get them accustomed to being inspected?

    I worry about chilling the brood, so if there is a breeze, I take a quick look at both sides and put the frames back into the hive. Does the larvae also need to be kept warm, or just the brood?

    Steve

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
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    6,115

    Default Re: How often can I go into the hives?

    They don't really live long enough to get accustomed to you or mean. I wouldn't recommend going in that often but you do learn a lot pretty quick. I'd spend some time watching what goes on outside as well. Over time, you can learn to tell a lot about the inside of your hive by watching the entrance. Every other day or so seems like a lot of disruptions
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: How often can I go into the hives?

    Every other day is far too often. Remember, each time you inspect, you are disrupting the colony. General consensus is every 7 to 10 days. Like Ravenseye says, watch the entrance and behavior, it will tell you a lot about what's happening.

    If your days are in the 70's, you don't really have to worry about chill-brood, but get good at doing your inspections. Know what you are looking for and what trouble signs look like before opening the hive. Simply opening it up for the sake of opening it is wasteful and needless, especially if you are smoking them each time. Basically, have a plan each and every time you inspect.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,817

    Default Re: How often can I go into the hives?

    I only go in a hive if I have a reason to and a solution for whatever problem I found immediately available. If you are going in to learn, that is fine, they are your bees. But have no illusions about that frequency of interruption being anything but harmful to the colony. It is why I an admitted bee hoarder have 25 to 50 hives to bear and share the wear on the lids. I understand your desire to be with the bees.

  6. #5

    Default Re: How often can I go into the hives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    I only go in a hive if I have a reason to and a solution for whatever problem I found immediately available. If you are going in to learn, that is fine, they are your bees. But have no illusions about that frequency of interruption being anything but harmful to the colony. It is why I an admitted bee hoarder have 25 to 50 hives to bear and share the wear on the lids. I understand your desire to be with the bees.
    Yep Vance, that pretty much sums up our operation as well. With experience even just a year, you learn to spot potential problems and go in with a reason. I inspect around 2 times a moth unless something look wrong, I do use SBB and keep them closed unless cleaning them weekly and analyzing the detritus on them.... Just my second year, but I try to digest as much info as I can and resist overthinking
    Cheers Bill
    zone 9b

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Bailey, CO USA
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: How often can I go into the hives?

    I haven't kept bees for 10 years, and am really getting into it. I saw two of my queens laying eggs(never saw that before) yesterday, and a couple new bees chewing their way out of their cells. I guess I will back off to every 4 days or so and rotate among my 4 hives to avoid disruption to the bees. What do they do when disturbed? Does the queen quit laying?

    The foragers have been crazy busy the past two days, so that makes me feel good. I usually will go sit on my Homer bucket and watch bees returning to the hive. Last week it seemed like 10% were coming in with pollen. This morning it was more like 70 to 80% had partial to full pollen loads. Question: if they come back with a partial load of pollen, does that mean they filled up on nectar before they finished loading up on pollen and just returned to the hive?

    Also, two of the hives have bees that prefer entering the slot in the inner cover when they come home, and the other two hives come in the bottom board. What gives? I wish they would use the bottom board because of the traffic jam causing wasted time trying to get back into the hive.

    Is there a thread on what to watch for (entering leaving)? I like it when I see lots of activity in and out, and lots of pollen coming in. No wrestling matches at the front door, so no apparent robbing? What else can be observed by watching?
    Last edited by FlyboyBBQ69; 06-02-2017 at 09:08 PM. Reason: More questions

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Jamesville, NC USA
    Posts
    90

    Default Re: How often can I go into the hives?

    There is an excellent book called At the Hive Entrance which is available free for download. It's like a reference book arranged by seasons and what different observations mean,

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Bailey, CO USA
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: How often can I go into the hives?

    Removed. Answered own question.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: How often can I go into the hives?

    The two biggest problems you will have is 1) you injure/kill the queen and they have to make a new one and 2) they decide to abscond and find a new home that won't be so intrusive.

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