As spring arrives, I become more and more excited to begin hive inspections. As much as I enjoy inspections, I want to make sure I am not opening a hive just to say “hello” to my sweet ladies. Before I inspect a hive, I make sure I have a purpose for the inspection.
•Is the colony showing signs of swarming?
•Does the colony have enough honey and pollen stores?
•Is there a queen present?
•Is it time for their monthly mite check?
Note: My goal is to have each hive open no longer than 10-15 minutes. As long as I see eggs, I know the queen has been present over the past few days.
Keeping detailed notes during each hive inspection, allows me to have a plan of action for future inspections. If I am just checking for pollen and honey stores, there is no reason to disrupt the entire brood nest. On the other hand, if I am checking on the status of my queen, once I find a frame filled with eggs, I am set.
Before I begin my inspections, I check my previous notes and make sure I have a purpose for opening the hive. Through consistent observation and detailed record keeping, many colony issues can be avoided.
Think ahead and expect the unexpected! ~Roda
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