Beekeeper’s Checklist - dummies

By Howland Blackiston, Unknown

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
__ 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
__ 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
__ 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
__ 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
__ Check ventilation. (Adjust based on weather
__ 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?