Not everything will go right in your hive, and it isn’t easy to establish any crisis unless you undertake an inspection exercise. Now that you only set your beehive a few weeks ago, you may find it difficult to know every detail regarding the exercise. This article will help to make necessary preparation towards your maiden bee inspection to a new hive.
When should I conduct it?
The same way bees work their programs meticulously; you also need to work with the bees in an organized way. I recommend that you need to do all your inspections when the weather is warm or hot. It’s the ideal time because it finds most bees outside the hive when the weather isn’t humid.
The first inspection should come in the second week after setting the hive. It requires adequate preparation for you not to interfere with the young swarm. A windy day with hot sun will favor you just the same way it works well for someone who washes clothes. Bees tend are shy to fly in a windy weather, so they won’t interrupt you while inspecting.
What you need to have while inspecting
Just like other activities in the beehive, you need to have top gear for your first inspection. You need to get ready with white attires so that you don’t arouse the bees. Everything you wear needs to be bright in color including the frame of your pair of goggles. Make sure you have full attire including a glove to escape beestings.
A working smoker is a MUST-have equipment that you’ll need to puff some smoke to calm the cruel foraging bees. I don’t recommend puffing large amount of smoke as it can irritate bees and make them confront you. Some beekeepers carry smokers but end up not using it. They instead use syrup with 1:1 sugar and water to soothe the bees.
A hive tool is ideal for opening the stacks and frames of the hive. It’s important to take the shortest time during theinspection, so you wouldn’t like anything preventing you from opening the hive faster.
Things to inspect outside the hive
Take some time to keenly observe if the bees are bringing in the pollen because it’s a good sign of productivity in the hive. The transportation of pollen also signifies that the queen be is alive, and there are broods that are feeding. Check if there are guard bees at the entrance monitoring the traffic at the hive.
Check if there are bees flying in a spiral pattern especially in the afternoon hours; if yes, then it’s an indication that you hive will soon have foraging bees. Another thing you need to observe is the wings of the bees are deformed; it can be bad because it can be an early sign of Varroa mite infestation.
Trying lifting the hive as estimate its approximate weight; it will help you to determine whether the bees are constructing good honey stores. It’s easy to do this estimation because you had recorded the weight of the hive at setting time.
What to anticipate whileinspecting inside the hive
Whenever going to the hive, you need to go as stealthy as you can and stand away from the direction bees are coming from. Once you open the hive, you need to quickly check if the queen is present and its position. Also, check the cells and spot the presence of eggs or larvae.
While inspecting the cells, establish the number of eggs in a cell and their positions with each cell.This can help you know if the queen is infertile and some laying workers have begun to emerge. The early you notice it, the better.
It’s important to arm yourself with a pollen patty and sugar syrup to refill when necessary. These are preparations you need to do a few days before turning up at the apiary.
Get ready to keep records
A lot of things change, and if you aren’t a perfect record keeper, then many things can go wrong for you. To be specific, you need to have a section within your books where you put down the inspection notes. This can avoid confusion and makes it easy for even the next person to read.
I recommend that you write down your plans for inspection before even setting your feet at the location of the hives. It’s important to follow your plans to the letter, and only conduct activities that are in your plan.
The notes are helpful in determining if everything is moving as per your timeframe. In other words, the records are what you need nearly in every decision you make.
The security of the bees is vital
I expect you to be safe when going to the hive as you’ll be wearing safety gear, but do you care about the bees? The first inspection is both crucial and as delicate as carrying an egg on a bumpy road. It calls for caution as any reckless handling of the bees can result in bees fleeing for good.
The first inspection isn’t good at the hands of new beekeepers mainly because they’ve little experience. The amateur beekeeper can end up destroying what the bees have constructed while opening the hive. It’s safe to hire an expert to carry this activity for you if you doubt your ability.
Another gear that poses a danger to the lives of bees if you don’t use it properly is a smoker. It’s critical you set it well so that you don’t puff too much smoke that can irritate the bees and make them escape.
Some people may be telling you that there’s a natural way to keep bees that don’t need inspection, ignore them. One of the characteristics of an ideal beehive is to be easy to inspect, so ensure your beehive doesn’t present challenges while doing this operation.
They(intellectuals) say that failure to plan is planning to fail. Try to get ready before doing the operation as it’s risky to you and irritating to the bees. Conducting inspection especially the initial one greatly determines the chances of success of the beehive.