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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone.
I just took off my honey supers and dearth is on.
I have ten hives and four nuc in a row close to each other, When I open the hives to check them a careless move is enough to set off a rubbing frenzy, They particularly know which hive is weak, if a hive hasn’t been able to requeen itself and the numbers are low it gets attacked, to a point where I have to close the entrance till the next day, going through my hives I have to use cloth to cover the open hive as I inspect frame at a time. I like to know if anyone else has such problem during the dearth?
I am sure this is partly due to having too many hives near each other, Or maybe my bees are particularly overly aggressive? I like to hear experience of anyone who has ten or more hives in a row, after the flow is over and how they go about their inspection.
 

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I don't seem to have an issue with hive inspections during the dearth. It's when I leave it open for way too long, or trying to feed the weak ones at this time. After my botched in hive feeding of the weak, I'll not do any more in hive feeding. I'll open feed 50 to 75 yards away from all hives, and just move a few frames from the strong to the weak ones. Seems to work out way better with lessless robbing scenario.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Couple of solutions. First, dont inspect the queenless hives the same day as the Q+ hives. Make sure that you are feeding the bees. I like to fill the feeders and then inspect the next day. You could set out an open feeding station about 200-300 feet away. Wait until it is being mobbed and then do your inspections. If you are still having trouble, cover the strong hives or block off their entrances while inspecting the weak ones. FWIW, my hives are in groups of five and only inches from each other.
 

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6a 4th yr 7 colonies inc. resource hive
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3rd yr 6a- I use Beesmart robbing screens. (Blythewood or Ebay.). Highly recommended. Be sure to leave enough honey on the hives to keep them from being desperate. Use cover cloths as you mentioned plus quiet box. I’m on a flow but soon will keep inspections short. Feed weak ones aggressively, limit entrances and tape seams if needed. My hives are 6 feet apart.
 

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I use sugar syrup with NO scent, helps prevent robbing hives being fed.

How long are your inspections? I am comfortable enough looking through hives now that I pull frames 2 and 3 only, tells me everything I need to know. During a dearth, I'm actually only concerned that their stores in the brood nest are too low, so I'm not working as hard to see eggs/larvae - if I don't see honey/nectar above the brood on frame 2, I would want to feed.

+++ robbing screens - I'm a hick so I use 3 nails and metal screen kind of bent around the entrance. ;)
And.... maybe time your nuc production so they are pretty strong, 6 weeks old, by this time next year. A dearth is a challenging hive to try to start nucs, if that's what you're doing.

I have found when the robbing instinct is triggered, it stays until those bees age out and die. It's better not to trigger it, but sometimes can't be helped. When I pull honey supers off, I first put a wet super with drawn comb (robbing magnet, covered until time to deploy) below the target super to be removed, then I put target super on, then I put fume board on... then I pull super and remove each frame to brush bees off. I really don't want bees in the basement. This is hard to do with robbing going on! I keep the frames of honey (or honey with bees) covered with a triangular escape, unless I'm pulling a frame out to brush bees off (or putting back into different box).

One thing I do that might help - minimal crushed comb or comb chunks accessible to bees. I put comb chunks that have to be peeled off into a 2 gal bucket with lid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you everyone, again this is the problem
Some of my big hives don't appear to have a queen. It has been a while, I need to inspect them and re-queen them, I have pirchased queens, on their way. it is hard during dearth to work the hives.


Plan ging forward:
I am going to reduce entrances. Nucs have anti-robbing screen.

Going to open feed 200 yards away and waite till it is mobed, before inspection.
Use cloth to cover when opening and checking hives.

question:
How do you open feed? I usually put straw over the syrup, in a big tub like container. I get some dead ones in there, that is why I don't like doing this!
 

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6a 4th yr 7 colonies inc. resource hive
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3rd year- Got it. Best way to know for sure if your hives have a queen or one on the way is to drop a frame of eggs and larvae in. An inexpensive insurance policy. From my limited experience I see requeening too soon as a major error when the bees have it well in hand.

80% of the time they handle it.

PS- open feeding can be done very successfully by beekeepers who know exactly what they are doing. The only thing I open feed is pollen sub and water of course. If you want fewer bees in the air you can always inspect in the am. I'm doing 8am but I'm also suited up.
 

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I like to hear experience of anyone who has ten or more hives in a row, after the flow is over and how they go about their inspection.
Make yourself an Inspection Cage, and then take your time when carrying out inspections:


(graphic above, ex. Laidlaw)

I made mine using 6 panels: 3 in each pair connected by hinges, with the wooden frames covered in wind-break mesh. 3 panels meant each would be self-standing, and yet still light enough to carry (as I used already available wood - which was a little heavier than ideal) in 'flat-pack' form.

Such a cage only needs to be used - even in a crowded single-yard apiary - during a dearth, and can be used in at least two ways. When inspecting a non-removable hive such as a horizontal hive or tall vertical stack - remove as much of the woodwork as possible BEFORE erecting the screen, as space within the cage is seriously limited. Try and create a 'platform' next to the hive at a reasonable working height onto which to place tools, frame stand etc., cause bending down inside a cage risks collapsing the lot. (ask me how I know this ...)

Inspecting nucs and other movable boxes is SO much easier. Erect the cage in a central position within the apiary, with a small table or similar inside - then take boxes to the cage. Only return them to their original stands after they've been fully re-assembled and with their own anti-robbing screens attached.
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
LJ This is a great concept but my hives are 10 frame deep, too heavy to transport back and forth. However it would be a good idea if one like this could be erected around each hive as one moves hive to hive!
Anyone has a pic of their open feeding setup? like to see one where the bees don't drawn in the syrup?
 

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LJ This is a great concept but my hives are 10 frame deep, too heavy to transport back and forth. However it would be a good idea if one like this could be erected around each hive as one moves hive to hive!
That's exactly what I do with the full-sized hives. :) It appears you may have missed this:

When inspecting a non-removable hive such as a horizontal hive or tall vertical stack - remove as much of the woodwork as possible BEFORE erecting the screen, as space within the cage is seriously limited.
'best
LJ
 

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LJ This is a great concept but my hives are 10 frame deep, too heavy to transport back and forth. However it would be a good idea if one like this could be erected around each hive as one moves hive to hive!
Anyone has a pic of their open feeding setup? like to see one where the bees don't drawn in the syrup?
I use a 5 gal bucket with small holes drilled into the bracing around the handle. YouTube has a few videos of it. Try Barnyard Bees.
 

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Hey guys is there anything special about the cover cloth that you use to cover
the hives with during the inspection? Is it just enough to cover the top of the box?
I'm thinking maybe the size of a bath towel? Sounds like a great trick to keep things
more manageable
 

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Hey guys is there anything special about the cover cloth that you use to cover
the hives with during the inspection? Is it just enough to cover the top of the box?
I'm thinking maybe the size of a bath towel? Sounds like a great trick to keep things
more manageable
You can use any material that is tight woven, so bees don't tangle in it. You can even use plywood strips or roofing paper. I use the same material that I place on hives instead of inner cover - I believe it is called "duck canvas".
 

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I use a deep, plastic foundation insert when working my double resource NUC, and an old piece of cotton duck painter cloth on anything else I open during the dearth. Otherwise, I keep the top open when inspecting.
 

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6a 4th yr 7 colonies inc. resource hive
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Hey guys is there anything special about the cover cloth that you use to cover
the hives with during the inspection? Is it just enough to cover the top of the box?
I'm thinking maybe the size of a bath towel? Sounds like a great trick to keep things
more manageable
I use dish towels from BiMart that are called "Flour Sack Cloth" oversized. Very tight woven to prevent bee parts from getting snagged. Can be any material really. Keeps you from having to over smoke and better yet- it helps them be safe from light and predators. That's why they are calmer. I keep 3 of these in my quiet box. When a box is lifted off it immediately gets covered.

I dislike frame rests because it hangs their brood and resources outside the hive. And beekeepers wonder why their hive is agitated.
 

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Though I got none of the gizmos I listed above.
Just 1)use fabric to keep the hive mostly closed during the inspection and 2)keep spraying around the vinegar solution (vinegar/citrus I use) to mask the hive smell.
Works fine.
 
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