Yes and no. I can evaluate my chickens egg laying performance by how many eggs that I gather everyday.
yes you can....but you not expecting your chickens to forage for their own food and water.....they are livestock who don't eat unless you feed them (at least our chickens are, yours could be completely "free range"). you are essentially giving them the raw materials to "make" eggs for you. if you do the same with bees, you either have thousands of acres that you have planted, or you are not producing honey (bees fed honey are not producing it, they are storing it...and bees fed sugar are not producing honey).
In order to evaluate my queens performance, a hive check is required. I wish that I could stand outside and magically tell how well or poorly the hive was doing but to do so an internal hive check is required.
there is a lot you can tell from the outside of the hive. if there are orientation flights brood is being raised, if the hive is heavy, honey is being stored. if they are being robbed, they are weak. if there are tons of drones you might have a supercedure or a swarm on your hands....and if you have tons of drones and no worker orientation flights you might have laying workers. multiple hives in a single location gives you even more information.
As a newbee this year, I was guilty of going in too many times after installing my packages, but I learned a lot in doing so. An observation hive would have been great, I agree, but I have also heard that OH are far more tedious and problematic and not really recommended for a beginner. I would dare say that very few if any beekeepers on this site or others started out with one.
did you read my post above???? isn't this exactly what i said? the reason that observation hives aren't really recommended for beginners is that they are hard to manage, not that the new beekeeper won't learn a lot.
The way I care for my lobster is to refrigerate it, set grill to medium and then 5 minutes on each side. Butter is optional :-D
ok, so purchasing bees requires that you "care for them", but purchasing a lobster allows you to boil it alive and eat it. fire ants don't deserve care because their bites hurt...but honeybee stings also hurt (but fire ants don't produce honey or pollinate our crops).
for many, their need or desire for bees doesn't extend beyond a little local pollination. i'm not sure why anyone would want or need to impose their own views of "appropriate responsibility" on someone just because they purchased bees to pollinate crops rather than a lobster to eat for dinner.