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Discussion Starter #1
Any tips on when to do a full inspection of my hive here in central New Jersey?

How about some guidelines for what I should be doing on my first full inspection of the year aside from general observations?

I am getting excited!
 

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I am not the one to give advice because I just got my first hive through the winter but I would wait until a sunny day over 60 degrees. I am looking for evidence of a laying queen. I would also be looking at their food supply as I've been told late winter early spring is the typical time a hive will starve to death.
 

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Why is your goal a full inspection? I assume it is warm enough in your sunny land that such would not chill brood. My early inspections are to quickly and briefly evaluate the amount of brood, feed, the pattern, quick look for disease and a fresh clean bottomboard. If you see eggs and brood your done! Time one minute.

Anything more should wait until the outside temperatures are balmy high seventies. Even then, too much obsessing about the perfect inspection complete with photos shot from seven angles is seriously damaging to the colonies health. Don't be that guy!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Vance, that makes good sense. In and out it will be. I expect to find all good things, but who knows??
 

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I am in Texas but my first inspection is generally in-and-out when outside temp is over 60 (which is middle of Feb). I want to see some brood rearing happening. Check store just by feeling the weight of the top box. Add pollen patty (only silver dollar size table spoon, no more, served on a wax paper just over the brood nest) to strong hives if my goal is to make and increase or queen rearing. Hive low on store gets few honey frames from the strong ones. If I don't have extra honey frames then top-box feeder goes over the hives with low stores. Most activities involves box movements only and only few frames are removed from brood nest. Checker-boarding with empty frames in the top box can be done if too much feed is found in the top box to thwart early spring swarm.

The next inspection in middle of march is when outside temp is 70. This time, I insert empty frames in middle of brood nest to stimulate egg laying. The eggs laid in March brings us the honey crop. Reversing the boxes, cleanup up, etc is done at this time if necessary. I typically find very few sealed honey by this time and they are in high brood rearing gear. Weak hives can be fed pollen+sugar water to catch up but it is too late to catch the flow so I leave them alone and split them during the flow to make nucs.
 
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