Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
327 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have had my hives for just over a month now, but have never checked the bottom brood box since adding another box. How often should I check it? I also want to know how people go about doing hive inspections when there are multiple boxes. I was reading something that said to start from the bottom up, inspecting each box while it is off the hive and then placing it back on the hive after inspection. Is this the best way? How often should one do this full type of inspection?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
The brood box (usually bottom) is the most important place to look at least every 10 days. You are looking for disease, signs of swarm prep, evidence of a productive queen...

I usually un-stack everything down to the bottom box, inspect it, then add one box back on, inspect it, repeat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
327 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So you inspect each subsequent box after putting it back on? That way seems so much easier to me. The book I was reading, 'Hive Management' says that if you do it that way it will be more disturbing to "the more aggressive bees, the field bees and guards, who are oriented to the hive body on the bottom board" and that it helps to pacify them returning them to the stand after the inspection. Is there any truth to this? I would much rather do it your way though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
274 Posts
Ok maybe I am dense,,, Do you restack the boxes as you take them off to get to the bottom box? :s
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,136 Posts
I start at the top because 99% of the time I find out what I want to know up there. I probably only look in the bottom box a couple times of the year, usually in the spring.

Things like requeening....and she is in the bottom, or at least I didn't see her in the top. There are a few other reasons to look in the bottom, but when the top brood box is off during a flow the bees stack up quickly overflowing the sides. I don't see the point most of the time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
327 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
MeriB, I too am feeling a bit dense on this whole subject. I just am not sure about the logistics when sorting through the different boxes. I don't know why this is confusing to me. I guess if I do it from the bottom up I would just stack it the same way as I would if I were starting from the top but do the inspection after stacking them to the side and then return them to the hive stand right after. So tell me if this is right - If I'm inspecting from the top down, I inspect each box BEFORE taking it off the hive stand and stacking them to the side (in the opposite order they are on the stand). If I inspect from the bottom up, I inspect each box AFTER stacking them to the side and then return them to the bottom box/hive stand. After talking it through just now I think I would rather do it from the bottom up just so that they wouldn't have to wait that much longer to be returned after inspection - the box would immediately go back to the stand after being looked at. It seems so simple and yet I'm feeling dyslexic. Have I got the gist of it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,300 Posts
First, it's not really that big of a deal whether you inspect top-down or bottom-up, so don't fret about it.

Just to make it clear, for top-down, suppose you have 3 boxes, "A" on top, "B" in the middle, and "C" on the bottom. Take the top cover off and place it upside down on the ground next to the hive. Place "A" on the inverted top cover. Place "B" on top of "A". Leave "C" on the bottom board, and inspect. Then put "B" back on top of "A" and inspect. Lastly, put "C" back on top of the stack and inspect.

But let me reiterate - it doesn't make much difference. I don't do it the same way every time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
274 Posts
I also thank you. I am getting ready to put a 3rd box (8 frame) on my first hive, I like to check all boxes and frames about once a week. Some day, I may even spot the Queen! ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
I agree that it is not critical. I leave the super ( box ) in place and remove frames, then set the top one off and remove frames from the next one down. Most of the brood rearing will tend to be in the top brood super.
When I find a bottom super half empty I put it on top ( reverse ) so the queen can use that unused space. I believe in giving the queen plenty of room ! This should not be done when weather is cool or with a weak hive.
I disagree with those who forbid "disturbing" the bees too often. There is nothing wrong in looking in the hive every few days.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,668 Posts
It all depends on how/why you keep bees.

If you keep bees just for the fun of it, and you want to inspect every day just to learn what they are doing, then go ahead.

If you keep bees because they are your livestock and you want to make money from them, then don't get into the broodnest unless you have a good financial reason, because disturbing the broodnest will cost you money.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
Countryboy, I disagree that "disturbing the brood nest will cost you money". I'm eager to learn new things. Just how will it "cost me money" ?
I understand that a commercial beek MUST use his time well, and any unnecessary activity will eat-up your time.
I also understand that there is a remote danger of killing the queen. I have thoroughly inspected hundreds of brood nests without killing the queen. Some beeks, especially commercial beeks, are VERY ROUGH with the bees. I have seen them crush hundreds of bees ! ( It is really hard not to crush a few ! ). Of course, these beeks will kill some queens.
I usually remove about two frames, placing them in an empty super box. I'm careful to see that the queen is not on these frames. I cover it if I'm going to do a thorough inspection so the bees on these two frames will remain "quiet" and there will be no robbing by passers-by ( bees ). I then inspect each frame and leave a space between the frames. When finished I "tighten the frames up" removing the extra space and replacing the two that I took out first.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,468 Posts
I also question the dangers of inspecting the hives. I can see how rough handling can be disruptive, but careful manipulation of the frames to provide ample room for the queen to lay seems to have significant benefits over allowing her to get cramped and swarm. Because they do not swarm they are big enough that we can often split a 3 lb package now, with both of the hives reaching full strength before the honey flow.

This time of the year we are on a 12-14 day rotation. If your timing is concistant(sp?), you will see the "No queen plus eggs", then "See Cell", then "Cell hatch" , then "Queen not clipped" pattern on the roof.( actually NQ+E, C-Cell, CH, QNC). After a while you get the rythem(sp?), and know what to look for and expect.

Roland
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,668 Posts
Countryboy, I disagree that "disturbing the brood nest will cost you money". I'm eager to learn new things. Just how will it "cost me money" ?

Smoking a hive, manipulating frames, breaking cluster heat, breaking burr combs between frames, etc. disturbs bees. They have to fix the damage you cause.

Watch the bee traffic at a hive the moment you open it up. How many times have you seen a cloud of returning foragers get backed up behind you?

Some estimates say it takes a day for a hive to return to normal. If your honey flow only lasts 3 weeks, losing one day is 5% of your production.

If you want to maximize your money by keeping bees, then make sure you have a valid financial reason for getting into the broodnest. Know (don't just think) you are doing more good than damage.

You can only do so much for the bees, and then you have to let them do their thing. Once you have have done the things you need to do to get them ready for the honey flow, leave them alone and don't disturb them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
Obviously, you are more concerned than I am. That is the difference between two beeks. I agree that there is less reason to inspect the brood nest during a honeyflow. Most of swarm prevention should be done by then.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top