Routine Beehive Inspections

Part of the Beekeeping For Dummies Cheat Sheet

The mechanics of routine beekeeping will become habit the more you visit the hive. Look for these specific things and follow these procedures while inpecting your bees and their hive:

  • Observe the “comings and goings” of bees at the entrance. Do things look “normal,” or are bees fighting or stumbling around aimlessly?

  • Smoke the hive (at entrance and under the cover).

  • If you’re using a screened bottom board, check the slide-out tray for varroa mites. Determine if treatment is needed. Clean the tray and replace it.

  • Open the hive. Remove the wall frame and set it aside.

  • Work your way through the remaining frames.

  • Do you see the queen? If not, look for eggs. Finding eggs means that you have a queen. If you are 100% certain there are no eggs (and thus no queen) consider ordering a new queen from your bee supplier.

  • Look at uncapped larvae. Do they look bright white and glistening (normal) or are they tan or dull?

  • How’s the brood pattern? Is it compact (with few empty cells) and does it cover most of the frame? This is excellent.

  • Is the brood pattern spotty (with many empty cells)? Are cappings sunken in or perforated? If yes, you may have a problem.

  • Do you see swarm cells? Provide the colony with more room to expand. Check for adequate ventilation.

  • Anticipate the colony’s growth. Add additional honey supers before it’s obvious that the bees need more room.

  • Replace all frames and close up the hive.

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Beekeeping For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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