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Author Topic: How long is too long...  (Read 475 times)
PLAN-B
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« on: June 21, 2013, 12:16:39 AM »

I know it's always a little bit of a set back to the ladies when you go in to the hive. I plan on doing a thorough hive inspection this weekend on all three of my hives and am wondering if I take my time to check for eggs, larvae, capped and uncapped brood, queen/ no queen and possibly checkerboard if needed---- how long is to long to have a single hive open... Obviously the quicker the better. I am a first year beek and tend to move slower through the girls with movement and spotting out things---problems etc...  I have went through them before but that was with a single or double medium brood chamber. Now they're 3 and four boxes tall.
So how long, and am I more likely to harm them by keeping the hive open to long or moving quickly through the hive.... 
Sorry for the rambling...  Thanks for the help Ladies and Gentlemen...
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Marshall
Gametracker
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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2013, 12:28:01 AM »

I don;t think there is any time limit really as long as you don't let supers off so long as to welcome robbing.  I try to stick to the target of...If I can't get done what I need to get done in 30-minutes...I'm taking too long.  Most of the time I don't think I have a hive open for more than 15-minutes.  If your looking for the queen and run multiple medium super brood chambers it may take a little longer and that's why I'm a fan of 2x deep supers for the brood chamber.  When I first started out 40 years ago, it seemed like it took an eternity for me to look for the queen (especially if she was a virgin or recently mated babe), but alas....experience is golden and before long you'll be giving advice to others.  That's just my two cents.  Have fun with it and take the time you need on a beautiful day since they always seem to be more irritable when opened up on a rainy or cool day.  There are folks that take hours to view, photograph and scrutinize the hive and that's okay as long as the bees are happy.  Feel it out...they seem to tell us when they've had enough of you with your hands up their wahzoo! 
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don2
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2013, 01:11:21 AM »

Whats the point in finding eggs, brood, queen, checker boarding, etc, etc,. Unless you are on a sight seeing tour all this is unnecessary. If you find eggs and/or brood, you know there is a queen. as for checker boarding, I have never done it and don't think it is necessary unless it serves a specific purpose. What you are doing is unnecessarily disturbing the bees. They put every thing where they want it, why try to change their way of doing things.  The more you move things around in the hive the greater chance of injuring or killing the queen. Just my thoughts.  Smiley d2
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Gametracker
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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2013, 02:06:49 AM »

Whats the point in finding eggs, brood, queen, checker boarding, etc, etc,. Unless you are on a sight seeing tour all this is unnecessary. If you find eggs and/or brood, you know there is a queen. as for checker boarding, I have never done it and don't think it is necessary unless it serves a specific purpose. What you are doing is unnecessarily disturbing the bees. They put every thing where they want it, why try to change their way of doing things.  The more you move things around in the hive the greater chance of injuring or killing the queen. Just my thoughts.  Smiley d2

D2, though I totally agree with you I assume this is a relatively new beekeeper asking the question.  Though what you say is prudent...all new beekeepers want to witness the wonders of the honeybee world.  As long as the new beekeeper doesn't make this a routine practice...if it's their first time and they've given the bees time to establish themselves, why not enjoy the wonder of beekeeping by studying their behavior and possibly see the queen lay eggs and watch the foragers dance to tell the others where to find the bounty.  If the bees are upset by the disturbance...they will tell the new beekeeper in their own way that they've spent enough time disturbing their abode.  I'm not saying all...but, commercial beekeepers often lose the significance in studying AND ENJOYING the activities of the honeybee since they're more concerned with colony production.  Often, if they reflect back on their beginnings...they all did what newbies do.  You got them in your backyard now...do you have to watch the Discovery channel to witness what should be observed by a bonifide beekeeper?   You're right...this shouldn't be common practice, but as long as you don't abuse your role (and the bees will tell you when you do) why not enjoy the wonder of it all.  If you screw up and lose a colony or lose production...you learn from these experiences and do better next season.  Let's not take the fun out of beekeeping and trying to learn more of what these Angels of Agriculture do!  My 3-cents... smiley
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Finski
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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2013, 04:46:32 AM »

.
Professional here use time limit "15 minutes to 10 hives".
then to next yard.

Once I told to a biggest Scandianavin beekeeper that I tool free day from work to finish my nursing operations. I had 18 hives and week end was not long enough to throug the hives.

"Oh dear! We had today 3 person team and we went though 450 hives. I did not even talk to each other".

150 hives a day, 1500 hives in 10 days and then a new cycle.

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Moots
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« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2013, 08:17:44 AM »

B,
As you know, I'm a newbie like you and wonder the same thing.  I actually think I've been too quick through my hives more often then not...knowing I didn't want to keep them open to long.  However, I end up closing them up and realizing all the things I should have taken more time to look for and at.

I think it's a Catch 22, but I think Gametracker has it right, it's all part of the learning process...Any possible setback you might saddle a particular hive with with an extended look around accelerates your learning and knowledge-base.  I'm actually starting to make myself slow down a bit, whatever that's worth.  I also agree with him in that the girls will let you know if they are ready for you to leave.  laugh
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PLAN-B
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« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2013, 11:56:33 AM »

Thanks for the comments and help. Not on a sight seeing tour Don...lol One of my hives recently swarmed and i am of the belief that it was due to the queen not having enough room to lay. I went through the top brood chamber 2 weeks ago and all the frames were 3/4 brood and the top 1/4 was sealed honey. Thinking she ran out of room and thus swarmed...might want to checkerboard this hive to make room.  The reason for doing a thorough inspection on my other hive is because during my last inspection i only saw a very small amount of capped brood and no eggs or larvae. Did however see to opened queen cells on the bottom of two different frames... To me and my limited knowledge this would suggest they also swarmed or replaced a failing queen. Either way i need to make sure i have a queen and she is laying... Not sure if my plan of attack is correct and thats why i asked for advice...  once again thanks to Moots, Gametracker, don2 and finski for the help. any additional advice would be appreciated.
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Marshall
D Coates
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« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2013, 12:18:16 PM »

As a new beekeeper, stay in there are long as you feel you need to.  When I started I always had the goal of 10 minutes but upon finding whatever crisis I could stay in there for 45 minutes as I stole frames looked for eggs etc.  I used to be gone for a couple hours for 2 hives (suiting up, getting supplies, traveling, etc)  Fast forward 7 years and I can do 2 apiaries with over a dozen hives each in the same time.  Many times I simply open the top and if they act normal I add a super if needed otherwise I close them up.  If they act odd I'll dig in and have them closed up within 5 minutes.

Those beginning years, though very inefficient, taught me how to read bees quickly because I took my sweet time.  You're learning, take it slow and enjoy the ride.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2013, 12:59:04 PM »

>how long is to long to have a single hive open...

Some hives, one second... some hives, one hour... smoke helps...
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Michael Bush
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PLAN-B
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« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2013, 02:04:58 PM »

Thanks Michael and D Coates......
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Marshall
mikecva
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« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2013, 03:19:45 PM »

Finski, if I tried to do that many I think I would be dead at noon the first day.  beat a dead horse Good for you.

PLAN-B, I made myself a drape to put over the open hive (2'x3' dark blue) so I could uncover the hive, remove one frame, close the hive up (with the drape so it is dark again) and examine the frame over the drape (in case the queen was on that frame), then move to the next frame. I only had one frame out at a time (either #1 or #10). My longest time in a single hive 30 min.and the bees were not feisty at that point. -Mike
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