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Author Topic: Smoking or disturbing Hives  (Read 2291 times)
afretired
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« on: July 29, 2007, 10:07:36 PM »

How much is to much disturbance to a hive?  Being new to the bee business, I find myself coming up with all sorts of reasons to want to check my hives to check on their progress.  Does smoking and checking the hives every few days cause any adverse effects on the bees?

Dave
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doak
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2007, 10:27:31 PM »

For a new colony once every 7 to 10 days is plenty.
Untill you get to know the gentleness of your bees, always smoke.
In early spring you may find you can work a gentle hive without any gloves.
"NEVER" try working a hive without a veil.
After they get going and when a strong flo is on, just remove the top to check the progress of honey storage, if you need to add another super or not. This should be done every 5 to 7 days, depending what size super and whether it is foundation or drawn comb they are working.
A good strong colony can fill a shollow or medium super of drawn comb in 4 or 5 days with a strong flo.

Bottom line, Always have a purpose for going into the hive. A few puffs of smoke in the entrance and under the cover.
with time you will learn how to tell by taking a look at the entrance if opening is necessary or not.

I understand, we all get the urge to look in often when we are new to something.
doak
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afretired
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« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2007, 10:37:20 PM »

doak
Thanks for the advice.  Looks like I will need to ge some more hives. There isn't anyway I can sit around for 7 - 10 days before I can look in them.  If I had more hives I could stagger when I checked on them. That way I could have a few to check every couple of days.

Dave
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2007, 10:47:41 PM »

>How much is to much disturbance to a hive?  Being new to the bee business, I find myself coming up with all sorts of reasons to want to check my hives to check on their progress.  Does smoking and checking the hives every few days cause any adverse effects on the bees?

Sure.  But how else will you learn?
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« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2007, 11:01:39 PM »

Nothing is wrong with getting in a hive weekly, and for the curious, every few days is not too bad - that twice weekly look gets old after a while. But until then, to take off the outer cover and pull a frame shouldn't be a big issue if you have gentle bees. You really need to learn ow well bees take to basic interaction.

If you go in and surgically look at stuff - then by all means smoke - I like to push 4 to 5 good cool smoke puffs into the entrance, wait five minutes and repeat - 5 minutes later, have a smoker near by, but all should go good for a good 20 minnutes.

Remember, look for young larva, not for a queen. If you see eggs - then all the better, but LARVA shows that a queen was present as early as 6 days ago, eggs will by you 5 days.

Bekeep wisely - but you make a good thought concening one issue: if you are going to enter the hive often, make sure you keep the frame rails and all frame parts WAX FREE where they meet. If you take off propolis and wax from often removed frames, your adventure into the hive is GREATLY less seen as a threat and the bees remain calm.

Your first big job once you have established a hive is to think UPWARDS not OUTWARDS, not unless you are only growing bees, but if you want to create a viable hive, let them fill the first super with a mix of everything, and BEES KNOW when you give then added supers (any depth) that it is meant for honey, not brood. Keep JUST ahead of their growth, but look for signs weekly, not every day - they need a chance to bee bees, they don't understand our world, but they know if YOU are a threat, I think the way you interact with them, and to them just be another bee doing some bee thing - you will be better off.

Once a week is enough (personally) you an always give it one great insppection once a week rather than a peek every few days. Or (and this might float your boat) inspect  frames 1-5 on a monday and then inspect frames 6-10 on a Thursday. There, that's twice a week and EACH WEEK the whole hive gets looked at fully.

See - we can all get along - but remember, your best friend is that smoker.
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« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2007, 02:33:26 AM »

afretired.  You have received some valuable advice from our forum friends.  As a new beekeeper, you must learn what to look for in your hives.  Inspect at least weekly, or even a little more frequently.  The bees will be somewhat disturbed the more you disturb them.  They will recover from any inquisitiveness on your part.  It is your job to understand how they look inside their colonies, to see if anything is unusually different, and this list goes on.  Know your bees, inspect and inspect lots, yes, as Doak said, a smoker should be your best friend and a veil.  The smoke calms the bees, the veil will calm you.  The veil protects your face and head from any bees that may distract you from doing your inspections, the veil will make you able to be without a worry about your face to have a sting, and this can surely happen.  Again I say, inspect your colonies often, know your bees inside the hive and outside the hive.  The following years, as you are more comfortable, you can leave them alone for much longer periods, where you can let the bees be bees.  Have wonderful experiences in the world of the bees, you're gonna love it.  Have a beautiful day, great life.  Cindi
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afretired
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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2007, 09:00:55 AM »

beemaster
Thanks for the input, but I need a little clarification.
you wrote "Your first big job once you have established a hive is to think UPWARDS not OUTWARDS, not unless you are only growing bees"
I really don't know what you mean by this.  I am assuming you are referring to using two deep brood boxes to establish the hive then adding medium supers to the top for honey.  But I really don't understand the "outwards" aspect. If the bees fill a super, is it better to add additional supers on top or to remove the full one and add an empty one?

The advice on how to apply the smoke is very helpful.  I typically fire up the smoker, blow smoke until I about choke, then open the top of the hive.  When I hit them with the smoke, it livens them up for a few minutes.  Seems like I need to slow down a little.

Cindi
You are right about the veil.  All my life I have been terrified of bees.  It was so bad if someone had tried to put one on me I probably would have hurt them.  This last year, I have decided that was enough of that. I have made up my mind that they are not going to bother me and the veil gives me a sense of protection.

Dave
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Cindi
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2007, 09:30:40 AM »

Dave, gentle, gentle smoking, you do not want to terrify or oversmoke the bees.

This is what we were taught in my beekeeping courses.  Like John said, four or 5 puffs of smoke at the entrance, wait at least a minute (I don't have patience to wait 5 minutes), take off the lid, lift the inner cover only slightly at the BACK of the hive and put a few puffs in there, close the inner cover.  Wait.....at least a half a minute before you lift off the inner cover completely.  You want the smoke to circulate through the hives so that the girls start to eat honey and get their heads in the cell doing so.  Then, slowly, remember with the bees, all your actions should be SLOW and very DELIBERAtE.  Bees will react to fast motion much, much faster than slow movement.  By this time the girls should be calm.  If they aren't, well, then that is another matter  Wink 

When you are in the colonies, GENTLY smoke them when it looks like they are getting restless or the "feeeling" in the hive has changed.  You will soon get to know when the girls need another puff or two, but gently.  I cannot stress that enough about gentle smoking.  Have a wonderful day, great life.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2007, 09:45:35 AM »

What I meant by Move Up NOT OUT is simple. A few years ago, I noticed many people trying to get 4 to 8 hives through speedy hive splitting - much to fast for areas of the country and world where 5 or 6 months of beekeeping is the most you'll squeeze out of the season.

You should worry about UP - yes a deep and number of mediums of which ever size you hope to work with. When starting a bee yard, thing building upwards and always give bees enough supers as they require them, not too early.

Once you have survived a season, then building out gets easier - but I'm still a bit apprehensive to anyone building 8 hives their first season, when they started from package. Give the bees time to establish one season before building out - unless swarming happens, then go with it. More later.
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« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2007, 09:51:45 AM »

John is totally correct about building upwards, leaving the outwards until the next season.  The first year with package bees and nucs is to build strong, strong colonies to live throughout their first winter, safely and strong enough to keep their home warm.  The first year is the important building up year.  Next years the bees may be split.  I would have to go with what John said, not splitting in the first year.  Have a wonderful day, great life.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
afretired
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« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2007, 09:59:53 AM »

That sounds good.  Actually it is what I was planning on.  I started a two months back with four esablished hives that I have taken over which had not been split. Two were from packages in the spring and two were older hives.  My plan was to split them early next spring and double the numer of hives.  Thanks for the good info.

Dave
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« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2007, 11:34:00 AM »

I would say with 4 hives starting, in a warmer average climate (4 Seasons) starting with 4 and ending with 6 colonies in not unreasonable - out of 4 queens, one will be an extraordinary layer, the others lagging behind. One have is almost a given for a split and often 2 will be again out of 4. But to assume 4 hives can make 8 is not realistic - most places in the States. At least not for the New Beekeeper - having to increase your yard when you have no spare equipment to even start with is ALWAYS a challenge.

Larger operations have plenty of spare body parts lying around - having a honey house is a great thing for storing supers with DRAWN FOUNDATION - ready to lay in and pure wax. It is beekeeping's truest luxury item (I think) is spare supers with drawn comb. If you ever have the ability to produce and protect these supers, you can grow QUICKLY in honey stores and brood growth - simple placement of a drawn frame can determine how it will be used - size (deeps, shallows) sure does, so make sure you standardize your body parts.

I'm moving toward all medium 10 frame. In PDMATTOX'S photos of his the pallet, his is designed to hold four  "8 frames + medium depth) very easy to work and a JOY over having decades of nothing but 10 frame deep supers - these things can kill you lifting. I really liked the 8 frame mediums supers as a STANDARD - it made good sense.



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