guest post by Brushy Mountain Bee Farm
Brushy Mountain Bee Farm has been serving the beekeeping community since 1977. Throughout our years of helping beekeepers succeed, we realize that many beekeepers are unaware of what to look for when inspecting their hives.
In this post, we take you through the process of your first hive inspection and point out what to look for. (photo by David Goehring)
Have an Objective
A common error many new beekeepers make is to overwork their hive. Every time you open the cover on the hive you are setting your bees back in production. This is not to say that inspecting your hive is a bad practice but you should have a clear objective for working your hive. Shane Gebauer, president of Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, is returning to an 8 Frame Hive in the video that recently had a Nucleus colony installed into it. As he is inspecting the frames he has two questions in mind:
Is the queen laying?
Finding the queen is a difficult and timely task that is unnecessary. Always check for signs of eggs when inspecting your colony and be aware that the first few frames may not contain eggs. Eggs indicate a Queen was present within the last 3 days. Eggs, larvae, and capped brood confirm a balanced expanding colony.
Do they need more space?
Once you find that your outer frames are being worked and comb is beginning to be drawn out on them, it is time to add on the next brood chamber. The rule of thumb is that if 6 to 7of your frames are drawn out, add the next super. Adding the next story will give your queen the space she needs to lay and can alleviate congestion in the hive.
In the following video, learn the dos and don’ts of inspecting newly installed bee colonies for health and productivity (or watch how to install your nuc)
Brushy Mountain Bee Farm is here to help you get started and grow as a beekeeper. Visit Brushy Mountain Bee Farm online for more resources or give us a call, 1-800BEESWAX (233-7929), with any questions or concerns.