Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How Often Do You Inspect Your Hives?

In the most recent Brushy Mountain News Email, they've added a section called Tips for Success.  Beekeepers from all over can submit their tips and the winner is then chosen monthly by Brushy Mountain.  The winner's tip is published in the newsletter and they receive a discount on an order.  That seems like a good deal so if anyone wants to submit, the info is included below. 

I found the winning tip to be an interesting one.  It's got me wondering how often our new beekeepers are inspecting their new package hives, how often our more experienced members would check a packaged hive, and if I'm checking my new package hive too often.  Please comment below.

From Brushy Mountain's News Email
This is a new section that we have added to the e-flier and we are turning to you to help us with it. We are asking you to submit to us your tips, tricks, and keys to successful beekeeping. Each month we will select a winning entry and publish it in the subsequent e-flier giving credit to the winner. The winner will also receive 10% off their next order. 

Entries must be emailed with "Tip for success" in the subject line. Please include a day time phone number at which you can be reached should you be chosen as the winner. 

This month's winner is Dean Pearson.  Dean's tip for success speaks to the beekeepers who are unsure on when or how often it is needed to check on a colony. Dean mentions that in his third year as a beekeeper, he noticed that after replacing or starting a new colony, it is best to visit the hive as little as possible. In the email Dean States: "Last month I replaced three hives that I lost over winter with packages of bees. I know that some beekeepers want to get back into the hive and check on things; my advice is to let them be. I'll only go into my hive once after installation to remove the queen cage and make sure she has been released. I won't check on the hive until I think they are ready for more supers".

Every time you visit your hive, you disrupt the colony and set them back two to three days in production.

For a newly installed colony, over working the hive will interrupt the efficiency of your colony,slow the building of comb and growth. After installing a package it is not necessary to check on them daily. Go in about a week after installing the package to remove the queen cage and verify she is laying. Your colony will need weeks, after removing the queen cage, before it has built up enough comb on the frames to add another layer to the hive, and this can be determined without intensive frame inspection.

Note: Having an entrance feeder will allow you to check your feed without disturbing colony.

Overworking your hive will lead to a lack of developed frames, requires a constant feed supply and no honey harvest. This can also lead to a weak colony that will result in higher mite counts and more diseases. Not over working the hive will allow the bees to draw out comb, forage for nectar and pollen, and rebuild the colony properly.

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