The Importance of Regular Inspection
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 29
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    west central Arkansas
    Posts
    1,080

    Default The Importance of Regular Inspection

    For anyone who has read what happened in my apiary last year, it made me wonder if much of the TF community is perhaps sending the wrong message. This isn't a dig on any group or person, just a casual observation from a somewhat seasoned beek who is still learning. When some in the community throw around catch phrases that include wording like lazy beekeeping and letting them be, I think that's a huge mistake. Obviously, this doesn't entail what the entirety of the community is doing, and as I re-focus my own efforts this year, I'm getting back to what I was doing best, which was managing. I'm stressing management because I believe based on my own dreadful experience, proper management is the key to successful beekeeping practice, regardless of treating or not treating. In that regard, I think those that are treating as a whole are doing a better job in this department. It comes as a necessity as they are regularly doing hive inspection, to keep up with what's going on in the hives from a pest perspective while also managing from a swarm prevention/honey crop perspective. The point of this post is, how much failure is created by just not doing proper management on the TF side of things? Clearly there are so many factors that cause hive failure, but I believe that lack of management might be one of the primary reasons people who are trying to go TF fail. Careful observation, knowledge and management is the key to any success on a basic level. Maybe this is more of a PSA than anything, but I think we should give perhaps a bit more push back on the let 'em bee mentality.
    Season 5. TF.

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Boaz, KY, USA
    Posts
    1,244

    Default Re: The Importance of Regular Inspection

    Good admonition, Nordak. Ultimately I see that my personal management involvement should seek to augment a colony's survival. As such, regardless of our individual philosophical and/or pragmatic mindsets toward apiculture, I see the ideas of stewardship and husbandry as important components of any beekeeping effort, regardless of our paradigm.

    That said, I see the validity in the argument that bees are not ‘domesticated’ in the same way that cattle, sheep or chickens are such that allowing bees to function in the most natural manner that allows for beneficial use (at least from our perspective) makes intuitive sense.

    In summary, my personal opinion is that appropriate beekeeper intervention in managed apiaries is both right and prudent, allowing for the caveat that this management likely would do well to mimic by augmentation (i.e. emergency feeding) or attenuation (i.e. false swarms) a colony’s natural development processes.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    west central Arkansas
    Posts
    1,080

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    Good admonition, Nordak. Ultimately I see that my personal management involvement should seek to augment a colony's survival. As such, regardless of our individual philosophical and/or pragmatic mindsets toward apiculture, I see the ideas of stewardship and husbandry as important components of any beekeeping effort, regardless of our paradigm.

    That said, I see the validity in the argument that bees are not ‘domesticated’ in the same way that cattle, sheep or chickens are such that allowing bees to function in the most natural manner that allows for beneficial use (at least from our perspective) makes intuitive sense.

    In summary, my personal opinion is that appropriate beekeeper intervention in managed apiaries is both right and prudent, allowing for the caveat that this management likely would do well to mimic by augmentation (i.e. emergency feeding) or attenuation (i.e. false swarms) a colony’s natural development processes.
    Litsinger,

    I believe you articulated my message much better than I could have. I didn't mean for my post to come across as admonishment, but immediately after posting, I realized it could very much come across that way. Having been away from the forum, and for all practical purposes beekeeping for a bit, I think I'm trying to regain my sea legs as it were. Last year taught me a valuable lesson, one I needed to experience to truly understand it. I think my post was probably directed at me more than any one on here. Thanks again.
    Season 5. TF.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Boaz, KY, USA
    Posts
    1,244

    Default Re: The Importance of Regular Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordak View Post
    Last year taught me a valuable lesson, one I needed to experience to truly understand it. I think my post was probably directed at me more than any one on here. Thanks again.
    You and me both! I find that many of my posts on here are to help keep me accountable for goals I have set or reminders to avoid mistakes I have already made. FWIW, I didn't use the word 'admonishment' in a negative sense at all- more of a hearty reminder... that I was glad to be reminded about.

    Best of beekeeping success to you in this coming year.

    Russ

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    2,533

    Default Re: The Importance of Regular Inspection

    Inspections are fine if the beekeeper knows why they are inspecting, how to efficiently achieve that purpose, what they plan to do if they find whatever it was they were looking for, and when and how often they should look for what they are looking for. Inspections often cause the very harm that the beekeeper was trying to prevent, and the bees are better at solving the problems that the beekeeper was looking for than the beekeeper is. The best reason for a new beekeeper to inspect a hive is to learn about bees.
    David Matlock

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,534

    Default Re: The Importance of Regular Inspection

    The best reason for new beekeepers (whether their goals are TF, or not) to do regular inspections is that you can only learn beekeeping by actually doing it. Your bees don't need to see you every Saturday in your first year, or so, but you need to look at them often, just to start to get a clue. Weekly is a fine interval to shoot for, since there is new stuff to see and learn about at about that pace in the first several months.

    Once you know what you're looking at and whether that's "normal" or not, then you can figure out your personal strategy and management choices.

    Until you're at that level, don't rationalize your own resistance (fear, laziness, too-busy lives, etc.) as "letting the bees be bees." You signed up for the care of these animals, so it's your responsibility to follow through on your intentions. (Or give your bees away into someone else's care.) Sure bees live in the wild - but they might not have chosen to live in the same circumstances offered by managed hive's location and equipment.

    If you stick it out, though, you may find yourself caught up in a wonderfully rewarding, long-term, avocation, one that gives you joy and mental stimulation for years. (Not to mention sweet honey, if that's goal.)

    Nancy

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,110

    Default Re: The Importance of Regular Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordak;1715151....../
    When some in the community throw around catch phrases that include wording like lazy beekeeping and letting them be, I think that's a huge mistake..
    For the fun of, Nordak, let me be a devil's advocate.
    Hehe..

    Indeed, I can confirm that too many new beekeepers get brainwashed into the so-called "lazy/natural" beekeeping without knowing the very basics (not just beekeeping, but basic physics, geometry and so on).
    Then we have issues.
    Especially so if we have limited volume/fixed size hives to manage.

    However, I still believe that low maintenance/infrequent inspection beekeeping is entirely possible at present date (see Layen's/Lazutin style).
    People are doing exactly this using Lazutin-style hives and local populations of bees.

    This will require:
    1) a large horizontal hive that requires no box moves by a human and with the size equivalent of 20+ deep Dadant frames/120L+ in volume - this to prevent space constraints and allow for gradual colony growth at their own pace.
    2) low maintenance bee that require no pest treatments and not prone to uncontrollable swarming.

    About it.
    Of course, the hives will be large and heavy (to the point of unpractical mobility).
    As well as bees need to be selected NOT for being "gentle" and "easy to handle" (another typical catch phrase).
    Bees need to be selected for survival - as the #1 criteria before any other criteria is considered (this will often mean a very defensive bee and the proper management needs to be around the bee).

    Otherwise, search for "владимирский улей" for examples very rear inspection-based management (still need to do a spring inspection/cleanup/setup; other inspections are less critical).
    Like here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAu5xmzDeL4

    I have few videos just posted under "Lazutin hive" in the Horizontal hives.
    There is a good case demonstrated of combined spring inspection/honey harvest - as a single inspection.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    4,034

    Default Re: The Importance of Regular Inspection

    nordak
    You have not posted much for awhile. I missed you. I don't know what happened for you last year.

    I have never counted brood combs in a hive though I could see equalizing hives early being an advantage for honey per hive production. I got in my hives about every five days last year while trying to make myself go 15 days or so once the flow was on. I very seldom go deep and more just look at an over view of how many bees there are and when I might run out of space. Early spring, I tip the second box and look for queen cups/cells and so that is more important to do more often.

    My whole goal since starting out has been to look just good enough to learn what things look like so that I can look faster and fewer times cause a glance gives all I need. I don't think I am there yet cause I am still lost and not sure of myself and what I am seeing, even when looking. Had I lost more queens or had more problems, I might by now recognize at a glance what I might now miss cause I have not seen it yet.

    Either way, my goal is still to get to where I can see a lot with very little disruption. My guess is that some out there can tell by just looking at the entrance traffic and have an ideal of how important it might be to dig deeper.

    I need to look for cups this week. I may just pick a few that I am most worried about and not look at all based on those few. I go a lot by feeling and am not managing to get the most possible. I am expecting some mistakes and losses during this and when it happens, I hope I learn but since I am expecting it, hope it does not hurt too bad. No since on worrying about spilled milk but nice to know if the jar leaks you can fix it.

    I read several books of the greats written back at the first of the century. They all seemed to have a period of great loss. It was their skill and speed of being able to pick up the pieces that seemed to be one of the things recognized by other bee keepers that was part of their greatness. They recognized this in each other. langstroth makes this very point about an early bee keeper besides addressing his own problems as they came.

    If you make improvement as you go, no sense in worrying about the small stuff. The only people who mess up are the people actually doing stuff and they are the only ones that get anything done and it is usually more then those not even trying (even with preventable mistakes being counted).
    Cheers
    gww
    Last edited by gww; 04-15-2019 at 04:16 PM.
    zone 5b

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,842

    Default Re: The Importance of Regular Inspection

    The point of "lazy beekeeping" is to spend your efforts on things that matter. If you want bees to prosper in your hives, it will take management. That's the difference between what has always happened in the wild, which is that most swarms die rather than thrive because they get no help. But you can work yourself half to death doing things that don't need to be done, or you can spend your efforts on things that matter.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    NW Florida
    Posts
    1,141

    Default Re: The Importance of Regular Inspection

    Perhaps it would be helpful if the phrase "treatment free management" was used more often. It is ore specific to what I see most treatment free people doing on here. tfm- the new catch phrase.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Boaz, KY, USA
    Posts
    1,244

    Default Re: The Importance of Regular Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jadeguppy View Post
    Perhaps it would be helpful if the phrase "treatment free management" was used more often.
    I like it, Jadeguppy! I would vote for something like, 'treatment free husbandry'... but same idea. Conveys a sense of being proactive and as Michael Bush observed, "spend[ing] your efforts on things that matter." Which in our case is hopefully improved survival and surplus bees, honey and wax for our efforts.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,110

    Default Re: The Importance of Regular Inspection

    things that matter
    What are these things?
    See what I mean?
    The list is not universally defined or agreed upon anyway.

    I suppose one thing is kind of agreed upon - ownership of live bees is required to be called a "bee owner" (I am not even using a "beekeeper" or "bee-haver" or "bee-saver" or "bee-breeder" or "bee-hunter" words - even these are argued about).
    The rest of the things is a subject to change, qualifications, personal goals, local regulations, agreements/disagreements, whatever else.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,110

    Default Re: The Importance of Regular Inspection

    Speaking of the actual subject - "The Importance of Regular Inspection"....

    I might just be a subject of hardly any inspections for the summer - a single parent for three months, June through September.
    And so what is my strategy? Haha!

    The strategy is to work the bees in a very strategic fashion:
    - set the traps out and most likely forget about them until when I have time
    (as long as bees move in, I don't care - they can stay in the traps into the fall)
    - must find time to do the strategic splits for expansion - this one is important
    - set all live colonies into Layens equipment in automatic anti-swarming configs - just a best-effort thing
    (strategically placed dummy frame should separate the actively used portion from the spill-over portion of the hive; one suspect hive will probably try to swarm anyway - to be watched if only possible)

    If I have time to inspect bees and work the swarms, I will anyway.

    But if my spouse finds out the kids were forgotten in favor of the bees while she was gone - I am in some trouble.
    And then the apples, and potatoes, and the veg patch; and the actual paying job.
    Have to be smart and prioritize.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Hopkins, MI USA
    Posts
    915

    Default Re: The Importance of Regular Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post

    Until you're at that level, don't rationalize your own resistance (fear, laziness, too-busy lives, etc.) as "letting the bees be bees." You signed up for the care of these animals, so it's your responsibility to follow through on your intentions. (Or give your bees away into someone else's care.) Sure bees live in the wild - but they might not have chosen to live in the same circumstances offered by managed hive's location and equipment.
    To me, this is a ridiculous statement, and Nancy I mean no disrespect to you, but it is really no one's business what I do with my bees. And I certainly won't accept anyone telling me to "give your bees away" if I don't have time to manage them (or not) to someone else's standard.
    zone 5b
    Back in 2019!

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,110

    Default Re: The Importance of Regular Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by thehackleguy View Post
    To me, this is a ridiculous statement, and Nancy I mean no disrespect to you, but it is really no one's business what I do with my bees. And I certainly won't accept anyone telling me to "give your bees away" if I don't have time to manage them (or not) to someone else's standard.
    I have to agree some (outside of the wording maybe).
    No one signed up for anything when getting themselves a box of these insects somehow.
    The only thing one "signed up for" - conforming to the local/state/federal regulations about keeping those certain insects around people and pets/livestock (IF such regulations exist).
    Otherwise, honey bees are not on a federal list of endangered species to be concerned about.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Hopkins, MI USA
    Posts
    915

    Default Re: The Importance of Regular Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    I have to agree some (outside of the wording maybe).
    No one signed up for anything when getting themselves a box of these insects somehow.
    The only thing one "signed up for" - conforming to the local/state/federal regulations about keeping those certain insects around people and pets/livestock (IF such regulations exist).
    Otherwise, honey bees are not an endangered species to be concerned about.
    I may be a little sensitive to that type of statment. Last year I did nothing, I mean absolutely nothing with my bees. I was in my last semester of Grad school and in December of 2017 my wife was diagnosed with leukemia and for most of the year (2018) I was single parenting 4 children and praying for the best outcome with my wife's treatments. If someone would have told me to give away my bees I'm betting they would not have enjoyed the response they would have received......Good news is my wife's treatments worked! and she is currently cancer free and I'm back to beekeeping rather than bee-having
    zone 5b
    Back in 2019!

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,842

    Default Re: The Importance of Regular Inspection

    >What are these things?

    That depends on your goals.

    >See what I mean?

    Of course.

    >The list is not universally defined or agreed upon anyway.

    Because different people have different goals.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,110

    Default Re: The Importance of Regular Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >What are these things?

    That depends on your goals.

    >See what I mean?

    Of course.

    >The list is not universally defined or agreed upon anyway.

    Because different people have different goals.
    And so - I feel more and more - my current bee-monkeying goal #1 - self-medication.
    Some people drink.
    Some people do drugs.
    I bee-monkey, whatever it means at the moment at hand.

    And so - I can do whatever I feel like at the moment the around bees - to self-medicate.
    This simple idea I am yet to see anywhere to be clearly pronounced.
    But it exists and is true and is a part of a bigger picture (not just honey & wax).
    Last edited by GregV; 04-16-2019 at 02:03 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,110

    Default Re: The Importance of Regular Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by thehackleguy View Post
    I may be a little sensitive to that type of statment. Last year I did nothing, I mean absolutely nothing with my bees. I was in my last semester of Grad school and in December of 2017 my wife was diagnosed with leukemia and for most of the year (2018) I was single parenting 4 children and praying for the best outcome with my wife's treatments. If someone would have told me to give away my bees I'm betting they would not have enjoyed the response they would have received......Good news is my wife's treatments worked! and she is currently cancer free and I'm back to beekeeping rather than bee-having
    I am with you.
    Like I said - the idea of self-medication by bee-working is, somehow, totally ignored as if it does not exist.
    But outside of some consumable bee products, the mental bee-therapy is probably more valuable too me, I feel.

    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,110

    Default Re: The Importance of Regular Inspection

    My apologies for the off-top rants. Need the meds and it shows.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •