Are Conditions Right to Inspect the Hive?
When is the best time of day to inspect your hives? Does the weather play a part in inspections?
I have been keeping bees for four years now. I have been home all day and able to inspect anytime I pleased. That changed this year and having a new schedule in life and crazy weather patterns (LOTS of rain!) is making it difficult to inspect my hives.
I find myself looking at the weather several times a day, trying to figure out how I can arrange my work schedule so I can be home when the conditions are cooperative. I feel like I am learning “The Right Conditions for Inspections” all over again.
There is something a bit dismaying about pulling the top off a hive and having a mob of angry bees swirl up in your face. Cool weather and cloudy /rainy weather can cause this.
I think the bees can sense a change in the weather. I have learned to pay attention to the sound of a hive. If the sound changes from a peaceful hum and everyone going about their business to an angry roar, it could be because of a change in the weather. I have been inspecting a hive and it clouded up real fast. The reaction of those bees made me throw down my hive tool and run.
When I started keeping bees, I read up on what time of day and under what weather conditions to inspect the hives.
This is what I found:
- Inspect your hives anytime it is warm enough and the sun is shining. The bees are not too active outside the hive at temps below 57 degrees The warm sunshine is going to get them out and about.
- Inspect your hives between the hours of 11:00 to 2:00. The worker bees will be out foraging so you won’t have as many to contend with.
- Inspect whenever you have time and the sun is shining. (Make sure it’s warm enough!)
- Do not inspect when it is raining. (Rain keeps everyone at home and puts the girls on edge?)
- Do not inspect when it is cloudy. (Cloudy weather seems to make the girls ill-tempered.)
- Try to avoid windy conditions (Causes the girls to drift into other hives.)
- You can inspect while the sun is shining until it gets dark. (Then the girls may not be so nice about you visiting so late.)
These are my favorite conditions for hive inspecting. (Utopia!)
- Few clouds, definitely not overcast or rain clouds
- I like to get started early in the mornings after the clouds have dissipated and the dew is still on the ground. Somewhere around 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. after working in the garden.
- The temps should be in the mid to upper 60’s or warmer.
- I like a gentle breeze, not windy conditions.
It looks like my reality will now be inspections after work (after 5:00 p.m.) and the weekends when conditions are appropriate. It will definitely be an adjustment for me but, I love keeping bees and will work with the bees and the weather to do what needs to be done.