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In short--when to first inspect? (and lots of other things)


#1

Hi all,

Thanks for your help in previous posts about my work with my first hive. As you might recall, I caught a swarm last year off a birdhouse. It didn’t stay because I was a rookie and didn’t know what I was doing and also it was just a mile away from my house, so that didn’t work because they knew the neighborhood.

In February, I caught a swarm out of the attic in the same property. They didn’t stay more than a week because they also were about a mile from their previously known home. I forgot to mention that I live in Rwanda and this time, I got some help from a traditional beekeeper. (Most Rwandan beekeepers keep hives in log hives. All of these are steps are detailed in the video (including info about ‘the bee whisperer’) I made here:

I’m hoping for honey within a year or so (no rush, it’s about the bees!), but am curious about my first inspection. I’ve had them at my property for two weeks. The hive appears strong–even as recently as this morning when many bees were coming and going in the bright sunshine bringing back pollen. Now is the long rainy season in Rwanda–which doesn’t mean monsoons, just a couple of hours of rain each day and everything blooming.

My question to this forum: How long should I wait for my first inspection?

My beekeeping friend here in Rwanda suggested that we not do it until the end of May (which will be 2 months after the bees were brought to my property), but do I want to wait that long? I’m biased toward inaction, though, because I know inspecting a hive won’t help (and likely hurts) the bees. The rainy season will be over then, though, and the dryer season will start–with intermittent rain.

I’ll be out of town from mid-June until mid-August, so I’ve asked my beekeeping buddy to inspect them once while I’m gone, or at least to come by and keep an eye on them. I’m anxious to inspect and see inside and not have the wrong time to put on a super.


#2

Ben,

Your GOOD ! I live here in Washington State near Seattle … I usually wait one week then I can check every other week. I saw the bees as you mentioned in vid bringing in pollens. ( bringing in pollen can mean nectar as well but not always ).

You need to do several things: 1. make sure you queen is released, 2. If not … Carefull do that now (gently near where your mentor hung the little gage)… 3. If she’s out … Now gently start pulling frames to check for meanded comb n more important for new 1 to 3 day old eggs or if your eyes are crappy like mine … Tiny little while larva (grubs). If yes … Great your Queen n the girls are on their way. 4. Also check to see if the are stick piling nectar (uncapped liquid not yết dehydrated enough for your bees to cap … If some capping its cured honey, ( there will be some capped brood on those broken/getting meander honeycomb. The capping is similar but not the same. There are plenty of great vids on You-Tube comparing the different cappings n much more. Flow-Hive has also made n compiled a excellent collection of how-to víds. Give those look-see as you have time n opportunity.

Your on your way. Lots to learn but on your way. I keep a individual log book on each of my hives. Details ( when, where, why n more) are recorded for checking n analyzing to see how things are progressing n what’s working or not !

Good luck n happy beekeeping,
Gerald


#3

Thanks, Gerald, for your reply and the beautiful pictures. You might’ve missed it in the video, but the queen is released, yes.

So you’re saying I should inspect now? I’m curious about the benefits of doing it now vs. waiting.

I’m curious to hear what others think, too!


#4

Ben,

Other forum members should be jumping aboard n commenting soon. Remember this Flow-hive forum is world-wide so as the workd turns different folks will be coming aboard n seeing your notes n comments.

The first inspect is important to know your transfer went well n the bees are correctly knitting the comb together in those frames. It’s more difficult to correct wrong doing (bees can get very creative) thus the need to inspect the comb progress n eggs laying progress. If your queen is not laying … You need to be aware of that early not later ! She (the Queen) not laying, 1. virgin n not fertilized yet, just starting ( it takes 21 days from egg laid to hatching worker bee), old used up queen ! So you must know where your at in the progress of the new hive. Waiting delays knowing n correcting issues or problems. The choice is always your but I personally want to get small problems fixed before they become major issues. But don’t panic. Others will comment here soon.

here I’m helping a friend (commercial beeper) check each one of 20 hives in one of his apiaries. We transferred 20 hives to new hive boxes this day here.

Take care bro !

Gerald :honeybee:


#5

I suppose it depends it part on your style of beekeeping. Are you following the traditional methods of the Rwandan beekeepers & hive is a log or are you using european hiving methods? If the former I’d go with local knowledge & if the latter then an inspection in a couple more weeks might be good to check combs in frames etc.?
Just realised the answer to above might be in your video…


#6

Sounds like you should listen to the bee whisperer/aka local professional beekeeper.
You may be curious, but that might upset them more that help them…


#7

Watching your video, your local beekeeper seems to know what he is doing. I guess you have to decide whether he is your mentor or not. If yes, I would follow his thoughts, as he knows the local climate and forage patterns.

If you think he is not the mentor for you, I would find out what forage is available. The major risk of waiting is that the bees may outgrow the space you have for them. If there isn’t much forage, that shouldn’t be a problem. If it rains all day during daylight hours and nothing is flowering, then there may not be much point in opening the hive. I am just not familiar with your climate and flowering patterns, but that is how I would decide. If there is forage, I would inspect about 2-3 weeks after you moved them. That means that they will have had enough time to attach the comb to your frames, but any crazy comb will not be too complicated to fix. You will also have a good idea of stores and brood levels, and know whether it is time to add the Flow super.

Please let us know what you decide and what happens. Thank you for making the video - it was fascinating! :blush:


#9

A simple guide to when to start inspecting is when the bees tell you.
If it’s too cold, wet or windy then they won’t be foraging.
If it’s warm enough, then they will be busy bringing nectar and pollen in.

Do a first inspection when the entrance to the hive is busy!
Although it sounds counter-intuitive, that’s when many of the older bees will be out foraging, so the hive will be less crowded with bees making that first inspection easier.