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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a newbie and have been researching and reading for about a year. I'll be receiving my bees the first week of May (late I know) from a reputable guy in my area who is going to shake me a package and mark my queen for me (good thing or else I'd never see her again).
QUESTION IS: You hear alot about when to inspect and what to inspect for at the beginning but NOT so much about when to inspect your brood chambers after you have placed a queen excluder and are mainly looking over your honey supers. My question is...once I have a few supers placed and things are going nicely, how often and for what should I inspect the brood chambers.
I'm signed on now so if I need to clarify just ask.
 

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I, like you am a beginner and this is what I have read.
You should always experiment to see what will work best for your tenure, climate and bees. I have read of some just setting up two deeps for the brood boxes and once established not looking back unless there is a decline in population. I have also read about swapping boxes and inspecting the brood pattern twice a year. If you are a hobbiest you have the luxury of a small apiary and can look every couple of weeks being careful not to "roll" the queen between frames.
Hopefully you will get some answers from beeks in your area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That was pretty much the impression that I was getting...Once I get some work going on in my honey supers, I plan to put on a queen excluder and then I will take that off this fall to allow them to have full run of the joint. I don't really expect to get any honey this year...as a matter of fact, I'm depending on that because I'm not going to buy my extracting equipment until during the winter. lol
I'm in North Carolina and we have a pretty decent Sourwood flow but I know my bees will be drawing comb during that flow since I'm getting SUCH a late start.
I planted about a 20x20 plot of late blooming Aster behind my herb garden hoping for some late honey but I don't really know the physics of how much a bee can get from any given flower. (I'll use the winter to research that)
Thanks for your response.
 

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As far as planting for honey, bees will travel a two mile or so radius. That relates to about 8,000 acres. a 20x20 plot wont do much. More is always better in this case. They can collect pollen and nectar for sure. Maybe just not enough to make collectible honey.
 

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You mentioned removing the queen excluder and letting them roam throughout the hive. What we were instructed to do at the end of the first year, when preparing for winter, if we had supers that were not filled enough with frames of honey to extract, remove the queen excluder from above the brood boxes, place the inner cover on top of these boxes and then put the supers above. Leave this for maybe a week. The bees will treat the space above the inner cover as not being part of the hive, will "rob" whatever pollen or honey is there and place it in the brood chambers. This way whatever they had built up will not go to waste. Then remove the supers after about that time period. You don't want them to have too much space to have to keep warm, at least here in Iowa in the winter, and you won't likely want the queen to begin laying her eggs in February in your honey supers.
If you have good growth in your colony this season, you will want to inspect in the spring and perhaps reverse your brood bodies to help prevent swarming. This is a good time to take a peek, see if you have larva present and just get an idea of the number of bees you have and if things are looking hunky dory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've read alot about reversing the brood super's and placing new frames if it seems crowded down there. So thanks for confirming that. I was just thinking of leaving on one honey super just in case the bee's needed/wanted some extra honey over the winter and removing the queen excluder so she can move with the "ball" lol
 

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How often to check is dependent on a lot of things. Obviously, it's the only thing to check before you super. After you super, I would recommend that you check every other week. More if you're ok with that. I say that since you're new at this. While the bees are perfectly happy to be left alone, you need to learn a lot when you start out. Learning often involves doing and seeing. We're all very visual so it's true when someone says that a picture is worth a thousand words. I say, inspect as often as you can without making life miserable for the bees. There's a lot going on in the hive and most of it happens in the brood boxes, not in the supers. Look for the queen but don't obsess with finding her. Look for evidence of how she's doing. Brood pattern, etc. Look for food, honey, disease, swarm and supersedure cells. Look for drones. Look for mites. Get a "feel" for the hive at different times of the year. Most of all, look to get comfortable with working with the tools of beekeeping and the bees. You'll be better off in the long run and it's the long run that counts!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Great advice. I'd never thought of it, but how would I know I have a problem with the queen if I don't check the brood frame's occasionally? This makes alot of sense. I think I'll probably start out with every few weeks and maybe next year (hopefully I'll overwinter fine) I'll check once a month or so. Thanks alot buddy!
 
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