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What should I do to prepare for the bee inspector?

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alex 

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A bee inspector has booked an appointment to come over and inspect my colonies this week. I've been keeping bees since 2008 and this will be my first official inspection and I have a few questions about the process:

1. Does the inspector do every part of the handling themselves, while I look on?

2. Should I have my bucket of warm soda crystal water ready for her to clean her tools before she starts?

3. I'm assuming that she will bring all the equipment she needs, but is there anything I should have ready? (other than cups of tea and biccies, of course!)

Sorry about the 'newbie' questions, but I'm feeling a bit nervous about having a stranger poke around with my precious bees!

PS. I looked on Beebase and see there have been a number of cases of foulbrood in my area (south norfolk / north suffolk). We checked our three colonies thoroughly yesterday and all seem in fine order - found all three queens with healthy brood, etc.
 

Rosti 

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I had my first inspection a month or so back (only just got round to beebase registration - naughty I know), a useful, friendly experience.

1. Does the inspector do every part of the handling themselves, while I look on?
YES, but since I wanted to do a mid point varroa Apiguard replacement and inspection he was very happy to combine the two, so we were both handling and inspecting frames and comparing notes.

2. Should I have my bucket of warm soda crystal water ready for her to clean her tools before she starts?
NO mine brought their own and exercised very robust hygiene (your own would be a back stop I guess)

3. I'm assuming that she will bring all the equipment she needs, but is there anything I should have ready? (other than cups of tea and biccies, of course!)
YES, A full disease inspection (the main point of it) is very intrusive, if you have any work / manipulation you want to perform I suggest you prepare and perform it, no point disturbing twice

4. Hive records
Mine (Inspector that is) was not interested in my hive records at all, although I mentioned that I was using a web based sytem that worked off my iPhone and ended up teaching the inspector something

I hope that puts your mind at rest. If you have disease (we all hope not) better to know than not. My local association is not that active and I have never had a mentor so I rarely get to inspect with another beek, especially one this experienced, it was a really useful experience. He has agreed to perform another inspection with me next year but earlier in the year so that I get a varying perspective. I can't fault the guy, efficient, courteous and free with his knowledge.
 
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I agree - ask all the questions you have always wanted to know the answers to!
 
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Well -bee related anyway - not the meaning of life!! ;)
 

Heather 

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And relax :). She is just another human being who cares for bees. Make the most of some free tuition - question away.....
 

Adam 

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A bee inspector has booked an appointment to come over and inspect my colonies this week. I've been keeping bees since 2008 and this will be my first official inspection and I have a few questions about the process:

1. Does the inspector do every part of the handling themselves, while I look on?
Usually, you would be there with your head poked in asking lots of questions. In theory, they can ask you to present the combs to them for inspection. But they would only do that in extreme cases, perhaps if you have a hive which doesn't have moveable frames (such as a TBH or Warre), where you may have to cut the combs out one at a time to present them for inspection.

2. Should I have my bucket of warm soda crystal water ready for her to clean her tools before she starts?
They bring their own soda, and clean suit and clean boots and clean tools and wear disposable gloves.

3. I'm assuming that she will bring all the equipment she needs, but is there anything I should have ready? (other than cups of tea and biccies, of course!)
Yes, good weather helps. And tell them if you have any evil buggers so they can inspect them last.

Sorry about the 'newbie' questions, but I'm feeling a bit nervous about having a stranger poke around with my precious bees!

PS. I looked on Beebase and see there have been a number of cases of foulbrood in my area (south norfolk / north suffolk). We checked our three colonies thoroughly yesterday and all seem in fine order - found all three queens with healthy brood, etc.
Bee inspectors are normal people, with a passion for beekeeping (as you don't just fall into it as a job). They have a teaching role as part of their job which means they are happy to answer lots of questions and discuss healthy beekeeping with you. Instead of being nervous, see it as an opportunity to watch a skilled beekeeper, watch their techniques, ask what they are looking for, see how they smoke the hive, use the hive tool, how they move through the hive. It's a great opportunity to learn more.

Adam
 

Skyhook 

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Seen a number of threads on the subject- always referred to as a positive experience.bee-smillie
 

Moggs 

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I lost a bit of sleep over the Inspector's visit but it turned out to be a very rewarding experience. These people know their stuff (by default of course). I would have no hesitation in welcoming an Inspector to another visit as they are so helpful and will freely give of their advice based on a wealth of experience.

'Mine' was totally self-sufficient, though he encouraged me to work through the bees with him, showing me the tricks of the trade that I found to be of immense value. I knew that I was dealing with a professional from the word go - he lifted the lid of the only WBC that I have (there are other Nationals) and knelt down in front of the entrance - good and close to the bees, as if to say "You are going to be inspected and there'll be no trouble, will there?"!!

We spent an hour chatting over tea and bics beforehand which put my mind at rest. He advised me what he would do with the colonies for winter preparation (which was reassuringly close to what I had in mind) and left for his next inspection (meticulously cleaning all equipment) after a very complimentary parting summary.

Mine was a positive experience. We should also bear in mind that one of their primary concerns is to identify and treat disease (this in the extreme could result in the destruction of colonies but we probabaly all realise that even this course of action is for the common good). They have an equally important objective of seeing as many new beekeepers as possible to get them off to a good start.

Your established good beekeeping practice should be 'preparation' enough!

But good luck anyway!
 

beehivejive 

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Fear not - it is a great thing.

Our local Inspector to came to see my girls earlier this year. It was thorough, efficient and very informative.

I learnt some new techniques and was given a clean bill of health, which I have to say was a HUGE relief.

Remember they are to Bees what the NHS is to us - a quick check up and remedy as required with tips on disease prevention.

Keep smiling and enjoy your Inspection. :)
 

barry 

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As I've only been keeping bees since the beginning of July this year I signed up with beebase and asked my local inspector if he would come and have a look at my hive. we've had a fair amount of varroa which has been treated with apiguard but we were a bit worried about the levels after treatment. The bee inpector was a really nice guy who was so helpful, I asked lots of questions and learnt a lot that day. It was definateley a positive experience and I would welcome a visit from him anytime if only to pick his brains and you have to remember they are there for the good of the bees
 

Philip 

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I would also echo the positive comments / experiences that have been noted.

I had an inspection to day and the chap was knowledgeable and helpful. As for preparation for a visit, none was really need he came with all the kit and did his own thing but included me by explaining what was happening, is it fair to say that they come to inspect your bees not judge you.

I even got to see the queens that have eluded me, I was beginning to think they were a mythical thing and that bees spontaneously appear, now I know they really do exist.

Philip
 

thurrock bees 

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i agree with Rosti , He/She will bring everything they need, You can ask if you can help. But most of all, watch a lrean, after my last two visits over two years i love to watch him working the hives, its amazing, and ive picked up aot o how to handle bees as well as asked loads of Questions from a very experianced person,( mine has been inspecting for 30 YEARS! and keeping bees longer).
 

Debs 

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Mine is great and has been really helpful over the phone this last week.

How he remembers so much about each set up from one visit I'll never know. Even knew what spare kit, feeders etc I'd got. Given me lots of advise and he couldn't see the queen either so I didn't feel so bad about it.
 

daveandtara 

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I've never had an inspection but our local inspector gave a lecture on our course.
He told us that the only thing people need to provide (and very often don't) is somewhere safe to empty his smoker!

He seemed a lovely bloke, really enthusiastic and knowledgeable!
Tara.
 

kathrynat 

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I had an inspection a couple of weeks ago and I would like my bee inspector to come and live in my spare room. He is lovely. This is my first year and he answered all my silly questions with patience, he talked me through everything he was doing and why he was doing it. It was a really positive experience. I want him to be my best friend and I want him on speed dial (if he won't live in my spare room) :)
 

bobandbec 

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I'd be asking them to come in Spring next year.
I don't like intrusive inspections into the brood box at this time of the year.

Peter
 

alex 

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I expect this inspection is a result of the local foulbrood outbreak, so delaying until spring isn't an option and, having seen all those nasty blobs on Beebase around here, it's a real relief to have an actual expert come here so quickly!

Thanks for the advice about providing somewhere to empty their hot smoker safely - not something I've ever had to prepare for here, of course.
 
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