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Discussion Starter #1
Just started my first two colonies and I want to go check them everyday. Will checking them too much cause harm to bees or cause them to leave?

Thanks.
 

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I will be getting my first two colinies this spring and my mentor told me
that opening them sets them back, also the time open is important. I am interested what the older beeks have to say on this forum.
 

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it might not cause them to leave but it will really slow things up for you

you want to wait at least 4-7 days before you even peak into the hive - anything during this first couple of days might cause them to regect and kill the queen -

limit the looking to about every 10-14 days -- less now - more during swarm season

i know its rough but trust me its worth the wait --



also you can learn just as much from the outside as you can from the inside -- watch them bring in pollen - note the color and amounts - note bee activity and any fights on the door step - place a little HFCS on a plate and watch them suck it up - take photos of your bees on flowers

hope this reading has kept you out of the box for a few minutes !!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
These are swarms I caught, not bought bees, I asume the same info is true for swarm caught bees?
 

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Last year was my first season and I checked way to much at first, I was so paranoid they werent doing ok, the queen was gone, they were making another one, I had a laying worker, too many drones. I drove my local apiary crazy with questions. Towards the middle of summer I backed off and they did what they had to do, perfectly! So hard not to peek all the time though!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Denise,
Did you harvest Honey your first year? How many hives? I am feeling the same way. I think my queen is gone but she did lay eggs during the first week in brand new frames. I think I saw the working of another queen being made.
 

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a swarm is different then a package - same but different

in a package the bees come from different hives and the queen comes from a completely different breeder - and they are put together and shipped out -
so the bees dont know the queen

in a swarm they are all related and "know" the queens smell and are not going to kill there mom



also if they are building Supercells they might be rejecting the queen - to save time id buy a new queen - since they are avalible now

but be sure you remove (squish) the cells the dat before you put your new queen in -- then WAIT about 4 -5 days and see id she is released - then WAIT about 3 weeks - this should be time enough for mature larva to be seen - and they are less likey to regect the queen once they have brood to protect

hope this helps
 

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It does not matter how you got the bees - package, swarm, split. If you check too soon it disrupts them. If you requeen and check too soon it disrupts them. If you do regular healthy checks too often it disrupts them. It does develope your confidence and proficiency, but the bees would be better off left alone for a week or two between checks. There are exceptions with hives in trouble that you will learn with experience. Every 21 days is enough when you get good.
 

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No I didnt harvest any, and when I checked this spring they were alive and still had honey to spare so I could have....then a bear came and wiped em all out completly. So Im starting all over this spring with a new package and electric fencing! I only have one hive but I think I may start another one up.

My bee's had queen cells all over, never any new queens but they were always prepared. Not sure why really, maybe cause I peeked way to much?
Never gave that a thought.
 

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Oh the bears! Another problem I had two weeks ago. Two days after I caught my first swarm, the bear took the top cover off and found the suger water feeder. No damage, but just finished putting up the Eletric fence last week. No bears problems as of the past week. Lot's of queen cells in my hive too.
 

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I had a bear wipe out a hive in Tampa, Florida. Since then I keep every hive strapped together with a ratchet strap. It also works for storms, racoons, and two legged bears - teenagers. They get frustrated because they will get stung with no satisfaction.
 

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trying to remember were I read it but every time you open and smoke your hive it sets them back a week. I know the frustration to wait but wait you must.
 

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To elaborate... When you smoke bees, they all start gorging honey. They assume the hive is/will be on fire soon. They are preparing to leave, but will abort leaving once they realize the hive isn't going to be destroyed by fire. So, once they realize the hive is in no danger, they need to "put all of that gorged honey back". A big time waster for the bees... You could alternate hives on a time schedule if you just get the itch to inspect frequently though.
 

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It was explained to me this way, how would you feel if some one kept popping the roof off your house and moving your furniture around? Or filling your house with smoke? I'd also be concerned that every time we open the hive we disrupt the pheromones. It's like fanning the house out. I was told once a week is plenty for a new hive. You shouldn't be hesitant to check them BUT give them a chance to set up house.
I don't know if some one else brought this up but usually swarms are with the "old" queen. I caught one last year and from the pattern she was not an "Old" queen at all. Possibly a second swarm queen. She laid several eggs, deep in the cells (unlike a laying worker) It took her a while before she got the hang of it. This year she's going gangbusters. But I had to wait....for her to settle down.
 

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I would not requeen. More often than not, a swarm brings with it the old queen, so in requeening themselves, they are doing themselves and you a favor. And for free. Plus you get to keep the genetics of the swarm if they are nice bees.

Fight the urge to open the hives every day. (As if I should talk. As Oscar Wilde famously said, "I can resist anything but temptation.") Have you considered an observation hive? I think every new beekeeper should have one to keep out of trouble.

Wayne
 

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Newtech, Last year was my first year with bee's. I also was anxious to check on them and watch them. I spoke with some people who were telling me I should be checking the brood boxes about 1 time per week. I followed this advice and what ended up happening was I killed or injured the queens in two of my three hives. One hive reared a new queen and went on it's merry way, the other floundered and eventually had to be combined with one of the two remaining hives. I now know what I did wrong to cause the problems, and I know a safer way to remove and insert frames, but none the less I was in there far too often. I am now with a local bee keepers club and I have learned all kinds of good things. I don't think I'll be going into the brood boxes much more than 1 or 2 maybe 3 times this season. As long as numbers are going up and the weight of the hive is increasing I will leave the bee's to do as bee's do. If you do not belong to a local bee keepers club, find one and join it!
 

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So Im starting all over this spring with a new package and electric fencing! I only have one hive but I think I may start another one up.
I am just starting up, and think you should go for 2 hives. That way you have a lot more security in case one of them fails. If you only have one that fails - you may be discouraged, and end up skipping beekeeping all together.

BTW: I'm going for the round number of 2-5 hives. I have ordered two packages, and will try to catch swarms, but I will take the traps down if I should be lucky enough to get 3 swarms. Otherwise it might be too much to handle with joy.:)
 

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If you inspect too much and keep disrupting the bees, they may blame the queen and supercede her.

If you depend on production from your bees, supercedure can cost you money in the end.

If you are a hobbyist, supercedure is unlikely to have much effect on you. It will likely be a good learning experience.

My advice is to inspect as much as you like if you are a beginner. Get comfortable playing with the bees, and learn all you can from them. If you are a commercial beekeeper who depends on production, it is unlikely that you have the time to poke around in a hive on every little whim.
 
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