Subdued activity


I generally inspect my hives every two to three weeks, last inspection being 5 days ago. It wasn’t a thorough inspection because midway during the inspection the wind picked up and I just looked at a couple of brood frames, with nothing of note to report. Some drones present which did not bother me.

I’ve noticed that one of the hives is very subdued since then. Not much activity going in and out. This was rather the strongest of the hives of the two.

Is it a good idea to open up and inspect again this soon? Or maybe shall I leave them and see what happens. I am worried I may have killed the queen, and if so what would be the first obvious signs that the queen is missing.

And if that is the case, I’m stuffed am I, going into winter?

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If you killed the queen the colony will produce a new queen who will laying in 4 weeks all going well and if there is enough drones about to mate with her.
Drones will never bother you, you know they can’t sting and besides eating honey they have only one other thing on their minds.
Assume every frame in the brood box has the queen on it and treat it gently with care. Maybe marking the queen would help if your not finding her easily.

Hi mate, watching the hive entrance is a great non intervention way of inspecting colony’s.
As the nights get cooler activity decreases as more energy is required within the hive to keep the brood at temp. I think you’ll find they’ll fire up as the days Begin to warm up again this coming week.
I do have a question. When I inspect the colony I remove a side frame to give some room and work my way in. Once I see healthy brood, which could be the 2nd or 3rd frame in I’m done and box up. Sounds like you started in the middle?

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Thank you skeggley, appreciate it. :+1:

I only got concerned because the other hive next to it is still a lot more active, and there is a stark difference between the two all of sudden since last inspection.

That is how I inspect too, I break free the first frame on the side, take it out and place it on a frame holder, then the rest are easy. I usually go through about half the frames, unless I want a thorough inspection. Last inspection I only inspected some flow frames, and just two in the brood box as it got too windy and retreated.

When you say “watching the hive entrance is a great non intervention way of inspecting colony’s.” what exactly do you look for?

I check my hive a couple of times a day and I look out for robbing, pollen coming in, general activity, bearding. Is there anything in particular I should look for? Particularly interested in signs of missing queens, if possible at all by observing the hive entrance.

Also worried whether at this time of year queens are able to mate here in Perth… and whether another inspection so soon is advisable. I am of the belief that the less inspections you can get away with, the better.

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I’m glad you asked. Check this out.


Oh thanks mate! Perfect timing too. :+1:

After an inspection the bees need to fix up all that we messed up.

Imagine somebody lifting your roof off and taking all your furniture out then placing it back where it shouldn’t… ocd? Or just bee psychology… so instead of foraging, they fix.

That and the cooler climate of late would decrease flight activity.

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Thanks fffffred. I see your point. This hive is however a lot quiter than what I expect. Maybe it swarmed, but I don’t expect it to swarm at this time.

Perhaps I’m overthinking and being a drama queen. There is nothing I can do anyway at this stage so I’m going to let them be and monitor the entrance. In the meantime I’m reading that amazing booklet skeggley posted.

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Hello Skeggley. I’m reading that book and it is extremely interesting. I realised I didn’t have a clue what I should be observing at the entrance. I will read it a few more times to absorb more.

The author mentions a few things that I’m unfamiliar with like the sound of drones, toothing sound and various other sounds. He is also able to observe minute things like bees flying with wax cappings that I am not able to especially from a safe distance.

I think I’ll start using my binoculars and a listening tube.

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yes A good read first put out on the forum by @Dee which I’ve gleaned much from. A great complement to an inspection.
Glad you are getting something from it.

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