Spring Inspection

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by MelissaA, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. MelissaA

    MelissaA New Member

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    I am going into my second season(1st winter). Yesterday I went out to my beeyard and peeked under lids to see if there was any life and saw bees in both hives. Today the weather is going to be in 50's and I want to take a closer look to see how the food stores are and if there is any capped brood. When I do this inspection should I use smoke. I know, or at least was told I shouldn't break up the cluster. Should I clean off bottom board so bees can get out? What is the average size of cluster now? I just want to make sure I do the best thing for my bees. Could there be pollen from maples yet? I live in northeastern PA. Any other suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Melissa A :confused:
     
  2. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    Personally, I would not bother them yet. The weather is still a bit dicey, and I think it best not to disturb/stress them until Spring is well underway. If the bottom board is really clogged, you can pull out the reducer and drag a lot of the dead bees out of there with a long, thin stick... you don't need to get them all... but work carefully and don't spend a lot of time, so as not to overly disturb them.

    (Just my opinion - others may differ on spring inspection timing.)

    If you have concerns about their stores, you could add dry sugar. (Do a search on "Mountain Camp method" on this forum). If they don't need it, they just won't take it.
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I don't disturb my hives if the temp is below 50. I don't remove frames if it's below 60.
    I never go into them without smoke.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    both the above comments would appear to be sound advice to me.

    there is nothing wrong with peeking under the lid even at fairly low temperatures... you just want to pop the lid and pretty quickly close it up. I consider 50 to 55 to be fairly critical temperatures and that's why I keep a thermometer at the front door. sometimes it is better to wait for appropriate temperature and you can always peek in the front entry to see if the bottom board is clear and heft one end of the hive (or the entire hive for that matter) to get some idea of stores without ever cracking a lid or prying apart a box. some folks use to call this 'hefting' the hive and with a little practice you can fairly quickly come to some notion when a hive is heavy or light.
     
  5. MelissaA

    MelissaA New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. I checked the hives using a little smoke. They were out in force doing cleansing flights. I just took off inner cover and tried to peek in to see food stores and if there was any brood. It was hard to see, I didn't notice any brood because I was afraid to remove frames. About a month ago I put in some dry sugar, about 2lbs...I did notice that most of it was gone. I added a 5lb bag of sugar and removed some of the dead bees lodged in front of entrance. My one hive of italians had about 6 frames of bees and my mutts, from Bjorn had more then that....I'm thrilled! I hope that is a sufficent amount of bees at this period in time. :yahoo:
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    is there really such a place as Dallas, Pa?

    guessing for sure... I would suspect 6 deep frames covered with bees would be about right for your location at this time of year.

    coming to some understanding of appropriate size at a given time of year is essential knowledge and like hefting is experience driven information. both are good things to understand in dealing with the bees.

    one of the best articles (published in one of the bee magazines not so long ago) with some reference to reading cluster size plus a lot of good general information on the seasonal keeping of bees is the following web site.....
    freemanbeetletrap.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/The_Seasons_of_Beekeeping.33142126.pdf

    good stuff there (I recommend this article for each and every new beekeeper) although you may need to somewhat shift the season for your own location.