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After a number of years of relatively laissez faire beekeeping I am trying to monitor the hives closely, to learn better beekeeping methods. I've been checking hives about every five days so far this spring. I won't do this much inspecting once we get into the dearth - actually maybe once the supers fill up, as my back won't take lifting full supers off for repeated inspections. But for now, I'm keeping a close eye on the hives and learning.

I'm wondering: does anyone know of any studies as to how long it takes an unsmoked but thoroughly inspected colony to recover the temperature regulation needed for the brood? I don't know if I might be setting the colonies back by my five-day interval on inspections, since that's quite a lot. I use no smoke, or minimal occasionally, so that minimizes the intrusion. But I can feel that waft of warmth as I lift off the inner cover, which I associate with brood production.

Thanks for any informed insights!
 

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I have a data logger on one of my hives and have data on this. It will take me some time to compile, but I will try to get it together this evening.
 

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I would think the upset due to lack of smoke more of a problem than temperature loss.
 

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Have you ever scooped up a cluster of bees? Ever notice how hot that cluster is? I'd say it only takes a few minutes.
 

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I pulled some data last night, the 2 yellow rows are the start and end of the inspection. The temperature in the top of the hive is a thermistor on the bottom of the quilt box. The hive middle temperature is a thermistor in the middle of a frame in the brood nest (seasonally)

It looks like the inspections did not affect the temperature much. It looks like the hive actually warmed up a bit after closing it back up, and I suspect this was the bees were working a bit harder to keep the hive warm during the inspection, then it took them some time to slow down.

hive temperatures at inspection 1.jpg

hive temperatures at inspection 2.jpg

hive temperatures at inspection 3.jpg
 

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I use no smoke, or minimal occasionally, so that minimizes the intrusion.
Since smoke calms the bees, no smoke is likely more intrusive overall than using smoke.
 

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5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
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So the 5 days thing help me with that.
Not sure of the average, for a keeper, but IMO 21 days is likely my average.

maybe stretch that to 7 this year and 10 next.
By all means if you need to get something done then do it.
but a "checkup" every 5 days seems oddly often. maybe a lid lift , check space done, sure,, but I hear inspection and think frame manipulation.

+1 on the smoke, IMO less alarm to the bees.

GG
 

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They will be fine. Do you have multiple hives? I would limit my every 5 days to only one hive. The knowledge you will get from this is worth more than whatever small setback it might cause the colony (although i'm not convinced it does).
 

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Bee inspection should really be done with a specific need and a specific plan of your actions.

For example, sometimes this week I need to check on a swarm I hived exactly 1 week ago.
The need - to be sure no cross-combs are build and fix those that I might potentially find before it gets out of hands (I am foundation-less).
Otherwise, I have no need to open them up.
I know they are fine and are developing properly without opening the hive.

So, what is the point of 5 day opening routine?
Well, your curiosity I can understand - but you create unnecessary hassle to the bees every 5 days for no clear reasons, if that matters to you.
 

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Good to see some figures on this - I've often wondered about the possible cooling effects of inspections. Most of my hives I only look into now and then - whenever I think there may be an issue, or need to pull a frame for some purpose or other - but my breeder hives are sometimes opened-up several times a week, if needs be. Using a Nicot Laying Cage often requires 3 or 4 daily inspections - one after the other.

Smoke - can't generalise. Some hives hate smoke, and it only serves to irritate them. I can open-up my breeders, pull the whole thing apart if necessary (I usually don't :) ), and then reassemble - all without smoke - and the colony soon settles afterwards. That's the main characteristic I'm looking for in genetics - beekeeper tolerance.
LJ
 

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I try to check my hives once a week. I pull a few frames in the middle to look for eggs and larve to make sure the queen is fine, and tip up all of the boxes to look for queen cells. I almost never pull every frame in a hive.
 
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