Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
159 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have seen references to judging a hives health by watching the entrance. Can you give me some of the clues to look for?

I have a hive that gave 3 supers of honey a few weeks ago. It always had a lot of activity at the entrance. Now they are much slower than my other hives. I will have a lot of bearding on a couple of my hives and none on this one. I have only seen orientation flights only a couple times in the past 3 weeks. An inspection last week showed lots of bees still on the inside and I found eggs on the one frame I pulled from the center of the lower deep. I saw that and didn't really go any further. The queen is in her second year, assuming it is the same one. She is unmarked and I haven't seen her since spring, mostly because I haven't looked.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,199 Posts
I think the best way to learn to judge a hive by the entrance is to do this mental exercise:

1) think about the time of year and what the bees must be up to
2) look at the traffic. See if it seems to be organized and purposeful or random. If they have pollen. And what the traffic rate is.
4) look at the bees hanging on the hive (if any)
5) speculate on what you think you will find when you open the hive
6) compare your assumptions to your findings.

If you do the exercise every time you open a hive, you'd be surprised how quickly you'll get good at it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
159 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. In light of that reply:

1) We are in a dearth but other hives are flying more. I suppose fewer brood because of dearth and less need so queen backed off laying? Less activity because less need to bring nectar in.

2) Traffic is definitely not as organized as prior periods of the year. I don't see much pollen. I'd say one bee every 2-3 seconds on average. Sometimes in waves sometimes big gaps between.

4) [what happened to 3. :) ] No bees hanging on. This has a screened bottom board, wide open lower entrance, vent in the top cover. Other hives have many more ladies on the front porch and frequent bearding and they also have SBBs.

5) I will do a thorough frame-by-frame soon. I expect a little more capped brood based on the eggs I saw last week. I hope to find the queen. I'd like to do a mite count.

6) I'll let you know what i find.

Thanks.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,199 Posts
>1) We are in a dearth but other hives are flying more. I suppose fewer brood because of dearth and less need so queen backed off laying? Less activity because less need to bring nectar in.

A reasonable expectation. The sensitivity to dearths and brood breaks is very different from colony to colony.

> 2) Traffic is definitely not as organized as prior periods of the year. I don't see much pollen. I'd say one bee every 2-3 seconds on average. Sometimes in waves sometimes big gaps between.

You probably won't have a total lack of pollen until a few weeks after the first hard freeze, but there may be less right now.

> 4) [what happened to 3. ] No bees hanging on. This has a screened bottom board, wide open lower entrance, vent in the top cover. Other hives have many more ladies on the front porch and frequent bearding and they also have SBBs.

Bearding is dependent on several factors. Temperature. Crowding. Total population. Nothing to do...
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top