I am trying to speed up my hive inspections.
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Jonesborough TN USA
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    Default I am trying to speed up my hive inspections.

    I am trying to speed up my hive inspections. When checking that a hive Has a laying queen, do you usually stop when you see capped worker brood, or do you usually keep going until you see young larvae, or do you keep going until you see eggs?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: I am trying to speed up my hive inspections.

    I keep looking until I see very young "C" shaped larva.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    Wimer, Oregon
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    Default Re: I am trying to speed up my hive inspections.

    I pull the 4th frame from the side and look for eggs and larvae, if I see eggs and larvae I know the queen has been there in the last 3-5 days, I evaluate the brood pattern, close up and move on. I only stay in longer if I have something specific to accomplish in the hive.
    DavidZ

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Macon Co., Alabama, USA
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    169

    Default Re: I am trying to speed up my hive inspections.

    I too like to see one of the middle frames and find eggs. I usually will search several frames till I spot eggs, then close it up.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Kirksville, Missouri USA
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    Default Re: I am trying to speed up my hive inspections.

    It depends on the situation of the hive. If I was waiting on a newly mated queen, any worker brood or eggs is good. I will spot check different boxes to see how big the brood nest is too. If I am concerned about a swarm or lost queen, I need to see eggs and maybe cleaned and polished cells waiting for the queen to lay in.

    My inspection is usually to assess the colony condition overall and what they are up to. I need to know if they are growing or shrinking the brood nest, back filling, swarm cell building, superseding, giving the queen plenty of room to work, piling in the nectar, etc. Along the way you will see the queen or the evidence. I have sped up inspections mainly by learning to see what's going on quicker.

    If you just look to see if there's still a queen in the hive, you may not see the whole picture and miss a lot of signals as to what's going on. You need to look for signs the queen plans on staying till the next inspection. If you find a queen is missing, you could possibly have found out it was going to be missing the week before.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    ToweringOakFarm - Cleveland- Southern East Texas
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    58

    Default Re: I am trying to speed up my hive inspections.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanielD View Post
    It depends on the situation of the hive. If I was waiting on a newly mated queen, any worker brood or eggs is good. I will spot check different boxes to see how big the brood nest is too. If I am concerned about a swarm or lost queen, I need to see eggs and maybe cleaned and polished cells waiting for the queen to lay in.

    My inspection is usually to assess the colony condition overall and what they are up to. I need to know if they are growing or shrinking the brood nest, back filling, swarm cell building, superseding, giving the queen plenty of room to work, piling in the nectar, etc. Along the way you will see the queen or the evidence. I have sped up inspections mainly by learning to see what's going on quicker.

    If you just look to see if there's still a queen in the hive, you may not see the whole picture and miss a lot of signals as to what's going on. You need to look for signs the queen plans on staying till the next inspection. If you find a queen is missing, you could possibly have found out it was going to be missing the week before.
    So is it bad bee keeping to check every frame every inspection? I was planning on it with 2 single hives.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Kirksville, Missouri USA
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    Default Re: I am trying to speed up my hive inspections.

    When I started keeping, I would check many frames just because it was so fascinating to see the work of the bees and I wanted to figure them out. But every inspection and every frame pulled does disrupt them some and potentially set them back a little. Too much checking and moving and inspecting can diminish their ability to thrive I would think, not to mention potentially killing the queen by accident. As I learned, I learned to assess the colony with far fewer frame inspections than I did in the beginning. My first hive was a smallish swarm capture and I inspected that thing probably 3 times a week looking at every frame, and time spent gazing at the frames. It never went anywhere after a few weeks. Probably because of my looking all the time.

    If you only inspected once a week at best, looking at many frames probably won't be a real big deal, except for the elevated risk of queen killing, but I would strive to reduce the number of frames pulled and minimize the disruption what I can.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Woodbridge, VA (But planning to move to NW Louisiana soon)
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    279

    Default Re: I am trying to speed up my hive inspections.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1954Lincoln View Post
    So is it bad bee keeping to check every frame every inspection? I was planning on it with 2 single hives.
    It's not bad bee keeping, and it's probably pretty common for newbees. I know I looked at most frames when I had my first two hives.
    But it's generally not neccessary to handle and eyeball every frame, and when I grew to have more hives to inspect, or a limited time to get it done, I need to go into the hives with a specific objective, get it done and get on with my other tasks.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    Northern Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: I am trying to speed up my hive inspections.

    One important thing that I have not seen mentioned yet is if you are only checking some frames tip up all of the boxes to look for queen cells. If you find swarm cells it usually means you need to do something if you want to keep the hive from swarming.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Jonesborough TN USA
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    Default Re: I am trying to speed up my hive inspections.

    Quote Originally Posted by elmer_fud View Post
    One important thing that I have not seen mentioned yet is if you are only checking some frames tip up all of the boxes to look for queen cells. If you find swarm cells it usually means you need to do something if you want to keep the hive from swarming.
    If you find a dry queen cup with an egg in it, how serious is the hive about swarming? When you find swarm cells in your hives, what do you generally do? Split the queen out? What if you canít find her, then what?

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,768

    Default Re: I am trying to speed up my hive inspections.

    Eggs
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  13. #12
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    Apr 2018
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    Northern Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: I am trying to speed up my hive inspections.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alram View Post
    If you find a dry queen cup with an egg in it, how serious is the hive about swarming? When you find swarm cells in your hives, what do you generally do? Split the queen out? What if you canít find her, then what?
    I would split the hive. You may have to search thru the entire hive frame by frame to find the queen. Moving the frames to a new/empty box after you check them may make it easier to find the queen.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: I am trying to speed up my hive inspections.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alram View Post
    If you find a dry queen cup with an egg in it, how serious is the hive about swarming? When you find swarm cells in your hives, what do you generally do? Split the queen out? What if you canít find her, then what?
    A dry queen cup with an egg is destined to be a queen cell and treated the same. They don't need to feed eggs, but will feed the larva to come. Swarm cells mean swarm coming and I split the queen away with a nuc size amount of bees. I also use the extra queen cells for re queening, more splits or just tear them down.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Virginia Beach VA
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    Default Re: I am trying to speed up my hive inspections.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alram View Post
    I am trying to speed up my hive inspections. When checking that a hive Has a laying queen, do you usually stop when you see capped worker brood, or do you usually keep going until you see young larvae, or do you keep going until you see eggs?
    speed during a hive inspection does not work well. Sounds like you need to ask yourself why am I going into the hive today. Always have a goal in mind. Once you have accomplished your goal, you're done. Speed will cause regret.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Houston, TX, USA
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    646

    Default Re: I am trying to speed up my hive inspections.

    I think he is talking about being more efficient, not moving boxes and frames faster. I'm constantly battling the natural desire to watch the bees and their work. If I am intentional and keep track of time I can move through the hives very quickly. Viable queen, no obvious brood issues, no swarm preps, appropriate space, proper opening, move on. I think it is interesting that I almost always see the queen, unless I really need to find the queen. Splitting, treatments, balancing, etc. - these things all just take time, but are not inspections.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    Default Re: I am trying to speed up my hive inspections.

    New beekeepers' bees don't need to see them, but the beekeeper needs to see the bees. You can't learn to keep bees by thinking about it, watching YouTubes and reading BeeSource. You learn by looking at frames, lots of frames. You can spread that over several years, or you can do a lot the first few years, then ease back some.

    Don't be afraid of pulling frames and looking at them - that's how you learn what's normal and what's not. If you can't see eggs, look for larvae. If you can't see larvae, looked for capped brood. Keep looking and you'll gradually see more and more.

    Your first bees are your teachers. Let them do their job.

    Nancy

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