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Author Topic: First inspection--play by play?  (Read 1634 times)

Offline Lunawriter

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First inspection--play by play?
« on: June 15, 2010, 01:08:55 PM »
Hi everyone,

I'm back from my vacation and the bees are still here!  I was so thrilled to see them.  I know you guys can understand...:)

I ordered a smoker and veil but they haven't arrived yet--not even a shipping confirmation. :(  I'm going to try to borrow a veil from the nice beekeeper I met and maybe even a smoker so I can get out there and check on them.  The weather has been so rainy I'm worried about them!

I read a book while on vacation about beekeeping and while it focused on Langstroth hives it really made me happy I'd decided to go with the top bar hive.  It mentioned how many people start keeping bees for the bees and stop because of the honey--I couldn't beleive the amount of gear you'd need to extract honey.  It just seemed so expensive and I never would have been able to do it.  And I love the idea of using the wax.  I know I'll get less honey, but I'm totally okay with that for the ease of keeping them this way.

Anyway, I know that when I go out there I'm going to be examining the combs for brood and making sure I have a queen that's laying some good worker eggs, not too many drones and that they are making no emergency queen cells.  I'm going to check for honey and make sure they seem to be making enough to feed themselves and if not I'm going to feed them (btw does anybody use fondant to feed?  The book mentioned it for winter feeding. but I was wondering if it could be used in summer too?  I have a baby with a birthday coming up next week and I coujuld just make extra and freeze it when I make his cake.)  That is my plan for my first inspection.  Anything else I need to take note of during that first inspection?  Any other tips you want to share?  Thanks!

Offline luvin honey

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Re: First inspection--play by play?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2010, 08:33:36 PM »
From a fellow new beek :)

1. Look for straight, on-track combs. Fix or remove those that are wildly out of line.
2. Look for eggs, larva and capped brood. Maybe find the queen :)
3. Look for enough space. Does the queen have anywhere new to lay? Consider adding in an empty bar on either end of the brood chamber to give more room for growth. If they have lots stored, stop feeding (if you are)
4. Look for swarm or supercedure cells. If swarm cells, make a plan of action. Do nothing. Do a split. Plant bait hives around that hive. Etc.
5. Look for anything else out of line. Are they being robbed? Is there an ant problem? Mites? Anything else problematic?
6. As for drone, unless it is ALL drone, what can you do about it? They will make drone comb as they see fit. Maybe it is your reproductive season right now and there should be lots of drones out and about.

About feeding, I fed dry sugar last fall, syrup this spring. I have not used fondant, but I believe there are threads about it on here. Good luck!!
« Last Edit: June 16, 2010, 11:58:37 AM by luvin honey »
The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson

Offline Lunawriter

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Re: First inspection--play by play?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2010, 01:06:55 AM »
Thanks so much, Luvin honey!  I'm going to have to check my book to remind myself what a swarm cell or supercedure cell looks like.  I remember the emergency queen cell, the worker cell and the drone cell but that's it.  :-D

As for the drone thing, what I meant was that there weren't mainly drone cells in the hive as that would mean either the queen's mating flight was unsuccessful and she is laying only drones, or she is dead and workers have started laying drones.  Otherwise, I'll leave it up to them  to decide how many drones they want. :)  

I'm really hoping to find a nice, healthy queen inside, who is raring to lay some eggs in nice, straight, orderly, little combs. ;) I'm just so afraid of what I'll find when I do finally crack that lid.  Supposedly my gear will be shipped tomorrow.  I haven't been able to locate any equipment to use in the meantime and without even a smoker I'm just not confident enough to get in there. :oops:

Thanks so much for all the tips. I'm going to have a checklist with me to read just before I get in there and your list will be the core of it. :)
(edited to make more sense...)

Offline indypartridge

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Re: First inspection--play by play?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2010, 08:24:53 AM »
Hey Luna,

Here's a page you might want to bookmark. It has some great pictures of honey bee development, pests, predators and diseases.

If you poke around the MAAREC site a bit, you'll find much more very useful info.

Offline Lunawriter

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Re: First inspection--play by play?
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2010, 06:47:19 PM »
Thanks so much, Indypartridge!  I got so sucked into that fabulous information I forgot to come back and thank you for it!  What a wealth. :)

See you tomorrow at Purdue (and I got my veil today!)