Inspection process

Hi all,
New beek here. Been learning theory for a year, have a local mentor who I’ve done some hands-on sessions with, and completed a course last weekend. Have had my 2 hives for 2 whole weeks and loving it!

Wanted to pick the brains of all you experienced folk about your inspection processes for a general health/ status check (ie not going in with a specific purpose or intent to manipulate things).

What I’ve been doing based on mentor, reading, course:

  1. Look, listen, smell from the outside (general activity levels, behaviour, what are the girls bringing home, number of dead bees near entrance, evidence of chalk brood, pitch of buzzing, any odours)

  2. Check sliding tray of screened bottom board (if it is in) - brood cappings, SHB, ants, chalk brood

  3. Crack lid and inspect under-side of lid and hive mat (if used) - comb build up, mould, SHB, ants

  4. Check tops and seams of frames - burr comb, mould, quantity of bees bubbling out, pests

  5. Lift frames and check for disease (AFB/EFB, chalk brood), pests, brood pattern, presence of eggs, quantity of drone cells, queen cells, stored resources.

  6. Replace everything, clean your gear.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Am I missing anything? How do you go about it?

Thanks in advance!

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Familiarize yourself with what healthy brood looks like so that any disease will stand out.

Be careful when replacing frames that you don’t trap bees between combs, That is if SHBs are in your area. They will lay eggs in any trapped bees that can’t be readily removed by the house bees.

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You have it pretty well covered Trish and Jeff has given his usual good advice. I would only add that you should get a feeling for the mood of the colony and if you find them noticeable angry look for a reason for it. That can be an indicator of a problem, maybe over crowded, low on stores making them more defensive. Busy bees are happy bees.

Thanks very much @Peter48 and @JeffH. Great pointers as usual. :+1:


You’re welcome Trish :slight_smile: