April 19

Lesson 09 – Inspecting the Hive – Part 1

Lesson Nine : Inspecting The Hive: Part 1

Having your own beehive is a blast. You’ll find yourself being entertained as the bees fly in and out for nectar. But what’s even more amazing is to look inside and observe the bees in their own home. Your hive should be inspected approximately every two weeks. This allows proper timing to monitor the ongoing health of your queen. If she should die or become unproductive, then a two week interval inspection will give you enough time to order or raise a new queen. (The hives in the photo are in pollination field, and  were placed in the shade to keep them out of the fields)

Let’s talk about making an inspection and what to look for once inside the hive.
First, let’s pick the right day to do the inspection. We are looking for a nice, sunny day between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. We choose this time so that during our inspection, a large amount of the foragers will be out gathering water, pollen and nector, thus reducing the amount of bees in the hive. Level to rising barometric pressure seems to help the bees have a less aggressive temperament. NEVER work bees on cloudy days, and especially if there is an approaching storm. And never work bees when it is cold outside.
Wait for temperatures well into the 60s before working your hives.
Bees cannot hear, but they can sense vibrations extremely well. And they can smell extremely well too, so be sure you don’t stink, but don’t over perfume yourelf either. Always wear bright colored clothing, preferably white. Bees become more aggressive toward dark clothing, but will rarely land on white. Never eat bananas prior to working your hives. Some suggest the odor of a banana can mimic the smell of another queen and cause the hive to become alarmed.
You’ll want to approach the hive with your appropriate gear which includes your hive tool, your lit smoker, your hat and veil and any other protective clothing which you feel necessary. As you approach your hive, remember never to stand directly in front of the hive. This is their flight zone.
Consideration must be given when placing your hive so that you can have enough room to stand and work behind your hives.