Beekeeping For Dummies
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Use this simple checklist every time you inspect your bees. It’s okay to print multiple copies or photocopy it. Be sure to date copies and keep them in a loose-leaf notebook for future reference and comparison. Use one form for each of your hives. Happy beekeeping!

Hive number/location_____________________

Date of this inspection_____________________

Date queen/hive was established______________

Observations Notations
__ Observe bees at entrance. (Look for dead bees or abnormal behavior and appearance.)
__ Do you see significant “spotting” of feces on the hive? (If yes, the bees may have Nosema and need to be medicated.)
__ What is the condition of your equipment? (Note any needed repairs that have to be made or replacement parts to order.)
__ Do you see eggs? (You should find only one egg per cell.)
__ Can you find the queen? (Is she the same “marked” one you introduced?)
__ How’s the brood pattern? (It should be compact and plentiful during the brood rearing season.)
__ Evaluate your queen based on her egg-laying ability. (Do you need to replace her with a new queen?)
__ How do the larvae look? (Larvae should be a glistening, snowy white.)
__ Check for swarm cells. (Take swarm prevention steps, if needed.)
__ Check for supercedure cells. (May be an indication that your queen is underperforming and needs to be replaced.)
__ Check appearance of brood cappings. (Cappings should be slightly convex and free of perforations.)
__ Is the colony healthy? (You should find lots of active bees, healthy-looking brood, a clean hive, and a nice sweet smell.)
__ Do you see evidence of Varroa mites (on bees on sticky board)? If yes, take corrective action accordingly.
__ Observe bees on the ground in front of the hive. Do they appear to be staggering or crawling up grass blades and then falling off? If yes, this may be an indication of a virus or tracheal mites. Take steps accordingly.
__ Do the bees have food? (They need honey, pollen, and nectar.)
__ How much capped honey is there? (Is it time to add a queen excluder and honey supers?)
__ Do the bees have an adequate water supply?
__ Clean off propolis and burr comb that make manipulation difficult.
__ Check ventilation. (Adjust based on weather conditions.)
__ Is it time to feed? (This usually is done in spring and autumn, depending upon where you live.)
__ What did you do for hive manipulations?

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