First inspection of new year

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Queen Bee
Nov 10, 2008
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Maesteg South Wales
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When would you do your first inspection. Obviously when the weather is warmer but as mentioned in another post some small colonies die out with stores but dont seem to move out of the cluster to get at it. Just wondering if the weather gets a bit warmer if it would be worth a look to move some frames of stores nearer the bees if this is the case. Or put some fondant directly over them. :confused:
I cracked the crownboards on my hives this afternoon just to check things.

The fondant I gave them begining of January has been nibbled at on top of the crownboards.

I still have 5 of the 6 hives at this time,the fondant is right above every cluster so I am confident they will not starve if they refuse to move out accross the frames to find food.

I am thinking 3rd week of March to pull a few frames if the weather works out.
Knew it wouldnt be long before you cracked Admin. ;)
i looked in mine several weeks ago when we had a bit of A WARM SPELL, forgoten what that was now. . my winter crown board has a big hole in the middlw so i can put my feeder ontop of it if i need to and when its not on i have a piece of glass so all i have to do is pop the roof off shine a tourch and can look inside no problems with out them lossing to much heat
21st March, first offical date of Spring, But did any one email or memo the bees/nature/ weather that, that is what is ment to happen on the 21/03/09?:svengo:
hedgerow pete

Just a thought as you mentioned you couldn't remember when you looked at your bees.

Do you keep a record of the times you visit your hives for whatever purpose?

If not may I suggest you keep a record of everything appertaining to your hives.

:)Pretty sure it wasnt the date but what warm was like that Pete couldnt remember.:)
Write down everything.

Some love stats and info and do keep everything.

Personally I find too much info a hassle and prefer to keep it very simple.

I have a card on each hive on the CB which says for instance.

Q C/m R.
3+1 3-3-09
4+1 10-3-09
5+1 17-3-09


Very simple. Q clipped and marked Red.

If I was using red last year she is last years queen. If she is unmarked then they have superceeded. I do not need to write all that out I can see it.

Then three frames of brood and one turned to make four on the next inspection and so on as posted elsewhere.

Spring management.

As soon as colonies are seen bringing in pollen, always a sight to gladden the beekeepers heart, I make and add pollen patties. I use the slap and slurp method.

I ?slap? on a patty and give the colony a slurp of syrup, that is one to one syrup. Why?

I believe that the patty, containing natural pollen as it does helps the bees by reducing their work load and it can be ?collected? by house bees thus taking some of the stress off the foragers. Which after all by this time are in reality OAP?s. The syrup fulfils the same function by giving a source of water and a mild ?income? as well. I never fill the frame feeders, but give a third to a half and how fast that is used up shows the colony strength as does the patty consumption.

The patties are a very good indicator as to how strong the colonies are. A good colony will near finish a half pound patty in a week.

In poor springs, and who can predict the weather, this system has been the saviour of many a weak lot.

My first inspections are quick peeps to ensure that all my colonies are Q+, and I do them as early as possible in conjunction with warmer weather.

As the temperatures rise I look to push the colonies on to get them as strong as possible for the rape. I use a technique taught to me by a Bee Farmer. He called it ?Plus 1? and so do I.

Let?s say there are three frames of brood and the rest of the brood box is full of stores. The three frames have 5 or 6 sides of brood and the Q is obviously trying to expand her nest. I use the flat of the hive tool to bruise the cappings of the frames adjacent to the brood. The next week I expect to see the nest expanded on to those frames, now totalling 5 but 8 sides of brood. I would then bruise the outer sides of stores and turn them so that on the next inspection there would hopefully be 10 sides of brood on 5 frames.

I repeat this process until there are 8 frames of brood and then put my excluder on and add the first super. I keep repeating the process until there are fully 10 frames of brood in the chamber and if I was working a double brood box I would add it at the point of ten frames of brood and continue manipulating matters to maximize the brood, especially if looking to make increase.

Interesting technique PH. When you say bruise it, do you mean just score it a bit with the hive tool? Also have you tried using this technique on some colonies, but not others to see if there is any difference?
I effectively open up the honey more than "score".

Have I trialled it? No.

It was trialled by a Bee Farmer on hundreds of colonies and I just toddled along behind.

It works for me and so no reason to mess about.

Too often in the UK the wheel is being re-invented.

i do the same scoring stores with little or no brood in them, you can sometimes get the queen to lay right into the corners of the frame if she is a good one.


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