Fall inspections
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Branson MO
    Posts
    55

    Default Fall inspections

    All of my honey has been harvested and as of September 1, all of my hives have plenty of Winter stores. Is there any reason to do full inspections? I have left them alone, since they had plenty of winter food, and I was concerned about robbing it is still warm here and the goldenrod is still blooming. Should I be doing fall inspections?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    3,014

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    My rule of thumb is to do only what needs to be done. There is one major hurdle at this time of year that needs to be checked. The bees MUST have a laying queen in good condition. I do a fall brood check to see that each colony is producing enough brood to make it through winter. I usually find 2 or 3 colonies (about 10%) that have problems with their queen. It is easy to combine a colony with a nuc to get a young queen into place before winter.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Deer Lodge MT
    Posts
    859

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    This might be one of those questions you get multiple answers to. If you have everything taken care of them I see no reason to dig into your hives. Get'em ready for winter in the next few weeks and call it good.

    Inspections are important, especially if this is your first year, but every time you do there is a chance of offing your queen. Not a good idea this late.
    4a

  5. #4

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    One last check if they have a laying queen and thatīs it.
    Did that on 7th september. Next year two weeks earlier to be able to manage a shifting of queens or a combine.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
    Posts
    1,805

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    Personally, with temps still in the 90s and golden rod liberally coming in, neither the bees or I have accepted fall is really here. Once we get a bit of the cooler weather I'll be doing one more quick round of checking the brood area along with the last of the manipulations and closing up for winter. The ol' "ensure the stove is off and iron is unplugged" before we close and lock the door.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,167

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    as i proceed with my last round of honey harvesting i'm usually getting down to the top of the broodnests. i note the presence of solid healthy brood in my journal and for most hives that will likely be the last 'inspection' made this season.

    i have a few hives that have deteriorating hive bodies for which i am preparing replacement boxes. these hives will get a more in depth inspection during the transferring of frames to the new boxes.

    at home i observe the hive entrances on a daily basis and i try to get around to the outyards to do the same at least once or twice a week. if all is looking well at the entrance i generally assume all is well in the hive and vice versa.

    colonies that have gone queenless will more often than not show outward signs like attempted robbing and decreased foraging (especially for pollen). i can usually catch those before the wax moths and hive beetles do.

    after seeing how small colonies can get and not only successfully overwinter here but then come back to be very productive i don't see an advantage to combining small colonies in the fall. i prefer instead to give as many queens as possible a chance to make it to the next spring. tiny colonies coming out of winter can easily be boosted with shakes of nurse bees or get combined with queenless colonies at that time.

    having a few spare queens (nucs) on the side at the end of the season is something i haven't had the luxury of so far but i am going to try and do better in that regard starting next season. when a colony goes queenless and dwindles very late in the season or over the winter it's a pain having to store the resources until spring.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    7,861

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    Over here in our mild winter bee environment, we have the wax moths trying to ruin the dead out
    hives comb all winter long. These moths will never go to sleep. My job is to ensure that there is always an
    active laying queen in there. So yes, I do hives inspection to make sure they have a laying queen and all eggs/broods are healthy. I don't worry about the stores that much because I feed them all winter long with patty subs. and sugar bricks. I do inspect the hives in the middle of winter when the temp. is above 55F sometimes. I just wanted to be sure that there is a live queen in there to keep the small brood nest going, all winter long. So from now on until very late winter here, I will do hives
    inspection just to make sure that the queen is there. This way I will catch all the potential dead out hive. And do a late combine if necessary. I'm very active in managing my hives through out the 4 season!
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Sawyer County,WI USA
    Posts
    365

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    Queen Right colonies have been identified, Drones are gone, Goldenrod is done, asters are right behind, mouse guards are on and 30's are predicted over the next few evenings. The only available forage is coming from our gardens.

    Bees have 'stuck' everything together nicely, so we refrain from breaking any boxes up this time of year.

    We've begun feeding light colonies thick syrup inside their hive bodies and will supply several gallons of syrup outside for 'open' feeding on any day above 60...at least until the 'killing' frost arrives.

    Haven't been deep inside any colonies since the middle of the Goldenrod flow when we determined the keepers for over wintering.

    That's about all we do 'inspection' wise.... until a sunny day sometime in late November or early December...when we wrap them up for the coming deep freeze.

  10. #9

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    Whatīs your climate zone, drummerboy?

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    7,861

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    So you have already prepared your hives for overwintering. Good job!
    What about the mite treatment? Didn't see any writing about that.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Sawyer County,WI USA
    Posts
    365

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    Whatīs your climate zone, drummerboy?
    We are in zone 3, about an hour south of Lake Superior, AKA Kitchi Gami

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Sawyer County,WI USA
    Posts
    365

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by beepro View Post
    So you have already prepared your hives for overwintering. Good job!
    What about the mite treatment? Didn't see any writing about that.
    Haven't put any type of 'treatment' in any of our colonies since 2007 ..(sometimes treating isn't a treat)...and if paying attention...one would notice that we're not quite done with prepping for winter.

    ....forgot to add that we harvested just under 10 gallons of honey from 4 (out of nine) colonies....seems like a long time ago already.

    All Mediums, TF and Foundationless since 2007

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    7,861

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    Don't mean to disrespect, I was referring to the OP on that
    question.

    But it is good to know your method too, DB.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  15. #14

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    according to the studies yes important to check your brood & queen but the studies also state DO NOT ROB YOUR BEES IN THE FALL.
    the rule of thumb is 2 full supers & feeder for the southern half of the US.
    3-4 supers & feeder for the northern half of the US.
    strong healthy hives will increase your honey production.
    so you also need to bee Varroa Mite Free
    Last edited by squarepeg; 10-12-2017 at 06:49 AM. Reason: removed link

  16. #15

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    kingdaddybee,
    This is the treatment free sub forum, is this a treatment?
    I see the Ultrasonic Unit I used as a treatment.

    Itīs non chemical though and might be used as IPM.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    10,061

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingdaddybee View Post
    according to the studies yes important to check your brood & queen but the studies also state DO NOT ROB YOUR BEES IN THE FALL.
    So, how do these studies suggest you actually harvest any honey?
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  18. #17

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    So, how do these studies suggest you actually harvest any honey?
    after 21 years of beekeeping i have never robbed my hives in the fall. it sets up for starvation for over winter. i only harvest honey after the spring flow which usually ends by June 1st. i have my land planted in clover and borage to give the bees opportunity to continue making honey stores all summer long in addition to the fall bloom. Thermal Treatment is performed in late spring, August when the mite population peaks, last in October to insure no mites or very minimum number of mites left for the winter. I finally have a warm day with no rain time to get out and check my bees. Have a great day.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    10,061

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    For most of us, we harvest in fall also, then ensure the bees are properly provisioned for winter, which can be done with sugar if needed. I have no idea why these studies would be saying don't harvest in fall. Got a link? i would be interested to see their reasoning.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    8,114

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    It's a mystery to me OT

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Sawyer County,WI USA
    Posts
    365

    Default Re: Fall inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    So, how do these studies suggest you actually harvest any honey?
    Don't know about any studies (nobody ever asks me, so studies could be biased, no?) but we've always taken our 'last' honey by sometime in August, depending on what kind of season we had. We leave anything else collected by bees for our bees andd 'supplement' with syrup, preferring to leave our bees with as much honey as possible for winter, rather than syrup.

    When Spring arrives we take all the honey from any dead-outs, feed some of it to any survivors until dandelions bloom, then use the rest for us.

    I guess we just look at it like this; The Bees made it, so they have FIRST dibs. After they've gotten theirs we feel safe taking ours. I think this perspective is more common than we know. After all, not everyone keeps bees for the honey, I've even met a few beeks over the years that don't even like honey, but LOVE keeping bees.

    Beekeepers are one group of folks that one simply cannot neatly categorize into a box.....

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