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Author Topic: Hive inspections  (Read 1207 times)
jgarzasr
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« on: July 26, 2005, 09:27:35 AM »

I need some info/help.  This is my first year beekeeping - never had anything to do with beekeeping before this year - so what I have learned is from the net, books, and classes.  However nothing beats hands on.  My problem/question is this:  when I started my packages this year - inspecting the hives were pretty simple with only the one deep.  I was able to remove one frame and then inspect all other frames - no problem. Now that I have the two deeps - with bees boiling over and the top deep full of honey - inspecting is a little harder.  I am wondering how you guys go about getting down to the bottom deep.  I went out for an inspection this past Saturday  - and when I was finished inspecting the top deep - which was mostly honey - with some brood but not much, I went to try and remove the whole (top)deep to expose the bottom deep - I nearly broke my back - this thing was so heavy I could hardly lift it.  When I did get it removed the bees were in a pretty bad mood - and they were in such great numbers flying and hitting my veil - that I just put it back on top (barely making it)  and didn't inspect the brood box.  Not to mention the sweat dripping down and my clothes soaked you could wring them out.  Can Any of you give me some help on making this inspection easier?  Please!.... also do any of you know of a video or DVD that shows hive inspections?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2005, 09:50:14 AM »

>I am wondering how you guys go about getting down to the bottom deep.

Who goes down to the bottom box in the middle of the flow?  I don't want to lift all those full supers!

>I went out for an inspection this past Saturday - and when I was finished inspecting the top deep - which was mostly honey - with some brood but not much, I went to try and remove the whole (top)deep to expose the bottom deep - I nearly broke my back - this thing was so heavy I could hardly lift it.

90 pounds.  That's why I cut ALL my deeps down to mediums.  A full ten frame medium only weighs 60 pounds.  No one should be lifting 90 pounds.  And to make it worse you need to set it down GENTLY so you don't squish bees.  You can't even lift it let ALONE set it down gently.  My hives are ALL mediums.  NO deeps.

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/TypicalHiveMyHive.JPG

In the picture, on the left is a "typical" hive as recommended in the books.  From bottom to top it is: a bottom board, two deep boxes for the brood, a queen excluder, two shallow supers an inner cover and a telescopic cover.  This is NOT what I typically run.  A ten frame deep full of honey weighs 90 pounds.  A medium full of honey weights 60 pounds.  An eight frame medium full of honey weighs 48 pounds.  The one on the right is one of my typical vertical hives.  It's a slatted rack with some #8 hardware cloth for a bottom, four medium boxes for brood and honey (no excluder) and a migratory top with a shim on both sides to make a top entrance.  Using all the same size frames greatly simplifies management as any honey can be used for winter feed and any brood found in the supers can be moved back down since the frames are all interchangeable.  Leaving out the excluder helps prevent a honey bound brood nest and doesn't restrict the bees working the supers.  It also saves having to have a bottom entrance because the drones can get out the top (no excluder to stop them).

>When I did get it removed the bees were in a pretty bad mood - and they were in such great numbers flying and hitting my veil - that I just put it back on top (barely making it) and didn't inspect the brood box. Not to mention the sweat dripping down and my clothes soaked you could wring them out.

Try a Golden Products bee suit.  Smiley  It's ventilated all over.  Smiley

>Can Any of you give me some help on making this inspection easier?

Wait until the honey flow is over.  Change over to all mediums.  Better yet all EIGHT FRAME mediums (48 pounds full of honey).

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/EightTenEightHives.jpg
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/TenFrameToEight.JPG

Cut down all your deeps.  Boxes and frames.

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/DeepCutToMedium2.JPG

Better yet build a long hive:

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/LongHive1.JPG
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/LongHiveFront.JPG


And stop lifting boxes altogether.

>Please!.... also do any of you know of a video or DVD that shows hive inspections?

I don't think they will show much different than you tried to do.  But yes, you can buy some nice videos on managing bees from www.beeworks.com
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
jgarzasr
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2005, 10:12:14 AM »

Michael - thanks for the reply and the fast response.  I will check out all your links - and definitely consider converting my current setup.  I look at myself as being in pretty good shape and thought lifting boxes would be no problem - even when I heard everyone here talk about how heavy it is.  - well now I know first hand.  Crazy.  I was under the assumption every time you do an inspection - you should look into the brood box - now I know not.  I am sure I crushed a lot of bees putting the box back on - as I could not do it gently.  Live and learn.  Thanks again for the links.  Also - I noticed lately - since a lot of the bees are hanging outside the hive because of our HOT weather - that my two hives - which are the same type of honeybee (Italian) - but that one hive is a darker bee then the other.  One is a really dark colored bee and the other is a light golden bee - but both are supposed to be the same type.  anyway - beside the point.
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Apis629
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2005, 09:04:18 PM »

To deal with the problem of lifting I have only one deep for the bottom brood chamber and all the other brood chambers/supers are mediums for easier lifting.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2005, 07:18:03 AM »

All bees are really mongrels.  All production queens are open mated so there is not telling their actual acenstry.  Basically people who have yellow bees call them Italians.  People with black bees call them Carniolans or if they are more silver Caucasians.  But they are all just mutts.  Smiley

Probably you have some lighter and darker Italians, but probably the darker is from some other influences too.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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