We had a question a couple of weeks ago, We were asked “What do you look for when doing a hive inspection”. Over the weekend we did some inspections for customers, We are both DECA certificated which helps us look for diseases in the hive unfortunately one of the customers hive did have America Foul Brood (AFB) and needed to be destroyed.
These are the kind of things we were looking for.
Sign of Diseases
The first thing we look signs of diseases in a colony that includes American foul brood (AFB), Deformed Wing Virus on Bees (sign of a high varroa count), can you see varroa mites in the drone comb.
Check the colour of the cappings of the brood, is it discoloured, is in sunken at all. Do the capping’s have a hole in them?
We encourage you to learn about the different diseases in your area and how to spot them, In New Zealand we recommend you do DECA course. Once you have been keeping bees for around six months.
Do the bees have enough stores; this depends on the time of year you are looking at them. If it’s the middle of summer and there is a honey flow on, this won’t be as critical. Generally you need four or five full frames of honey in the hives; this can be spread across the whole hive.
Queen has enough space.
Does the Queen have enough space to lay her eggs; you don’t want to have a situation that she runs out space. What you generally get then is a bees swarm. You need at least six or seven frames for brood. We generally have two full sized broods, we have seen up to twelve frames of brood in our stronger hives. When it gets to that stage it’s probably time to think about splitting the hive.
Is the Queen laying well?
Is the queen laying well? Can you see the different stages of brood, Eggs, Larva, capped brood? Sometimes it’s almost impossible to find the Queen in the full hive. Next Best thing is to find Eggs in the hive.
*** KM Tip – The Queen will generally be on the frame with the newest eggs in a hive ***
- There are things we look for during a hive inspection
- Enough Stores
- Enough Space for the Queen to Lay Eggs
- Sign of the Queen or the Queen.
What do you look for when inspecting your hives?
Did we miss anything, what do you look for when you inspect your colonies? Please comment below:-
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