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Author Topic: feeding and inspecting the hive  (Read 1886 times)
bill
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« on: April 02, 2005, 11:52:10 AM »

I wonder if someone would tell me when to feed  and when not to feed also I am not quite clear on how often you should inspect a hive and how low the temperature when you should NOT open the hive for fear of chilling .  Also should you break a hive all the way down to inspect or what. I have been reading a lot but these things have not become clear to me  thank you all.   this site is sooooo good
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billiet
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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2005, 01:55:31 PM »

Hey Bill Smiley

Although inspection is a personal thing (I know people in the hive weekly and some who rarely pull a cover) but ideally since the nectar and pollen seasons are in reality NOT all that long - I suggest LOOKING inside the hive AT LEAST once every two weeks, but paying attention at the entrance and watching your bees in flights is somethng that MOST PEOPLE can do more often - unless of course the bees are kept off-property.

Feeding is a NOW thing for you and me - cooler days (compared to cold days) cause the bees to be more active (although not neccessarilly outside the hive) so the consume the honey they have store in the corners and other random places that CLUSTERS have tougher times getting at.

Your food source can fall dramatically in a cool Spring if y our bees are only flying an hour or two a day.

Feeding them using an in-hive (top feeder) offers them the LONGEST feed cycle - that is an inverted feeder jar on top of the inner cover opening. But even an entrance feeder will attract workers as the temperatures allow and the only real advantage is that you can easily see the sugar water go down in the jars at the entrance.

The bad side of an entrance feeder now is robbing by ants typically, but I have used entrance feeders all times of the year and rarely had a problem worth mentioning. It is JUST something to keep in mind.

So feed NOW!!!!! Inspect at least every other week!!!! That is what I would tell any new beekeeper that is asking me in person for mentoring. Honestly though, if the time allows - I'd be in the hive ONCE a week and always trying to think one step ahead of the bees - they can be CRAFTY little buggers Smiley

Hope that helps.

PS.... although you read all kinds of mixtures - I use 1 gallon of hot water with a 5 pound bag of sugar melted slowly in it, and then cooled to ambient temps as Sugar-Water. You can adjust that up or down, thicker or thinner - but I find it is accepted well and does not crystalize up on me onces stored.

Best wishes!!!!!
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Jay
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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2005, 05:59:43 PM »

Hi Bill, how old are your hives? Are you trying to get them to draw out foundation, or have they wintered over and are on drawn comb?

In either of these cases, especially drawing out foundation, yes, as John says, you should be feeding now, esp in Texas. Up here in the northeast, we are just starting to have 60 degree days. Still having nights in the 30's though! Sad

As for when to stop, the girls will let you know that by not taking the syrup anymore. When they stop taking it, you stop giving it! Eventually the nectar flow will start and they will lose interest in the sugar water! Cheesy
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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2005, 06:21:34 PM »

I did miss a question Bill - the BREAKDOWN issue.

I always keep an empty super near the hive and I'll break the supers loose, setting the top one onto the empty super after inspecting several frames on that first super.

Typically, my hives are only 2 tops 3 supers high, but if I need to get at the bottom of three, there is not a problem stacking the middle super on top of the first super I removed which is sitting on the empty box.

I'm usually satified if I see young larva, lots of busy bees who are MORE concerned with what THEY are doing then what I am doing. If I see the queen, that is a bonus, but I'll be happy with rows of eggs or young larva and good oval laying patterns.

The point, I don't think it necessary to pull out and review every frame - typically early in the season most of the activity is to the center frames any ways. Pulling out those center frames in each super will net you a good over-view of how well the hive is doing. Just LIFTING or tilting the supers can also give you a good prospective of honey stores.
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2005, 08:21:58 PM »

When I started my hives, I inspected on a weekly basis. That was mostly for my benefit though because I wanted to know what things looked like, and learn what was normal.
Usually when I would inspect - back then - I liked looking in all the boxes. I would open the top, start by taking out the first two frames nearest me, look at them and set them aside. I could then slide the frames toward me one at a time, looking each over. When I got to the last one, I'd slide them back and replace the other frames.
I'd then take off that box and do it all over in the next box.

It was a long process, and the bees often got tired of me digging around. But for me, I enjoyed seeing all levels so I could learn.

Now I've learned just enough to be able to get an idea what's going on in the hive by just looking at the upper most brood box. I also don't dig in as much, or inspect as often. I just base my inspection times on what it was like the last time checked - were they storing nectar yet? how was the brood? did I put on new foundation last time? If needed, I'll inspect often. Also, if needed, I'll dig into the hive more. In general now though, I just do a quick check to see about honey stores and brood.

Beth
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2005, 09:07:29 PM »

Beth,

I have a question for you, or anyone, but you brought it up. I have a problem with the bees getting between where the frames touch. How do you manage to pull and push the frames back and forth without squishing bees?
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« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2005, 09:44:39 PM »

I haven't found an ABSOLUTE way to do it and guarantee no one gets squashed. I just use smoke, and move the frames slowly so they get the idea that something is coming towards them. But at times some get smashed.

Beth
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willebanks
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2005, 08:51:14 PM »

Sorry couldn't help but add my 2 cents...

Ain't it funny how we get attached to the little critters..After 3 years I still get a little weepy when I hear that tell tale crunch...My best advice is to move as slow as possible...they usually get the idea...just be extra careful with the frame you see the queen on...I love to see her but I'm so afraid I'm going to hurt her!


Will
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