Please support Friends of the Bees to keep this forum free to use.

Natural Beekeeping International Forum
low-cost, low-impact, balanced beekeeping for everyone

 Forum FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileYour Profile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Please Read The Rules before posting.



(country selected automatically - UK/USA/CA/AU)
Top Bar Hive inspection frequency (Solved, thanks to Norm)
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Beginners start here
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
bigbearomaha
Foraging Bee


Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 149
Location: Omaha, NE USA

PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Learn the key indicators of problems and let that guide when you open the hive and you will have a good time keeping more colonies than you thought you could!


This isn't the first time I heard someone suggest using observation techniques, especially regarding the entrance to deduce what is going on.

I think it would be quite interesting and informative to have a discussion of describing specific behaviors one will see and what those specific behaviors imply to various bee keepers.

In my experience, this is almost as diverse in response as to evoke the "ask 5 bee keepers and get 6 answers" comment seen in every bee forum.


However, as this has popped up yet again here, I think it will be quite supportive of the 'inspection' topic as observing is crucial in all aspects, be it at the entrance and at the window.

What are we looking for at the entrance and what does it mean?

What are we looking for at the window, and what does it mean?

Big Bear
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
fdbka
Guest





PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll answer for the entrance half of your question.

What i look for is the following. Listed in no set order but I will check for each of these before I even think about lifting the roof off.
(I use deep national and a dartington hive)

Numbers of bee's flying in and out
Are they bring in pollen and if so what colour so i get an idea of what the pollen is from
Are there guard bees
Are there wasps
Is there any fighting
I look at the floor around the entrance to see if there is many dead bees or larvae or anything else other than a few bees who may of died in the hive. Also the colour banding as well of the dead bees to confirm if they are mine.
Looking for drones (if any)
Are they aggressive / defensive when I approach the hive
Listen for any differance in the hive hum

I think that covers most of what i look and listen for, if i've missed one or two other important ones I'm sure some one else will add to this list.
Back to top
biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As above, and:

Does it smell right?
(A healthy hive in warm weather has a pleasant, honey-and-propolis smell from close up.)

Does it look right?
Am I seeing the expected amount of traffic, given the prevailing weather/blossom?
Are bees coming and going in an orderly fashion?
Are the arriving bees flying 'bottom-heavy', showing that they carry nectar?
Is anything being removed from the hive - e.g. dead bees, dead wasps, drone larvae, chalk brood?

Does it sound right?
Are there drones - how many?
When I tap the hive, is there a short 'roar' that quickly subsides? Or a longer, sustained sound that may indicate queenlessness?
At night, during the summer, is the hive humming with the sound of bee-powered air conditioning as they evaporate water from the nectar?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Garret
Golden Bee


Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 1681
Location: Canada, BC, Delta

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watching the entrance starting at the beginning of spring in my area.
This is a hive that I would consider healthy and normal. Depending on the season and the timing of the colony, if I don't see this I would go in to see what was going on.

Mid Feb. on: Will start to see foraging depending on weather. I check the weight of the hives. If too light I feed. No need to go into hive.

April: I like to see good activity at the entrance with lots of pollen going in. I will feel the weight of the hive by lifting one end. If both are to my liking I'm happy! Population should be on the rise and may see some drones. I don't need to look inside other than to move the follower board.

May: I like to see drones at this time with a big increase in bee numbers. Hive should feel much heavier. All is well.
The last week of May a strong colony will be ready to swarm. At the entrance the hive is very busy and there may be bearding. Large population. This is when I will go right into the hive.
If I want to make increases this is when I make splits with natural capped swarm cells. To make a honey crop I will split the colony and recombine over 5 to 10 days. Will end up with a new queen.

After this I don't think there is much reason to go into the hive other than to make sure they have enough room. That would be just having a peek into the back of the hive.

August 15: Is the time to harvest and to make sure they pretty much are ready for winter. No need to go into the brood area.

Sept: Drones should be evicted some where around this time.
_________________
I'm not as serious as I look!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bigbearomaha
Foraging Bee


Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 149
Location: Omaha, NE USA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thank you all for posting and they are all things that are interesting to note.

However, when you look for those things you say you are looking for, why are you looking for them? to what relevance do they have?

When you say "listening for a dull roar..." to what does that indicate?

see what I mean?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Garret
Golden Bee


Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 1681
Location: Canada, BC, Delta

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think what is learnt over time becomes second nature. It really takes spending time just sitting and watching the entrance throughout the seasons and trying to understand how to relate what is going on inside to what you see, smell and hear from the outside.
Concerning the sound of a dull roar that subsides quickly after tapping the hive, this would indicate all is well. If the roar continued and increased in volume after tapping this could indicate that there is a problem. Maybe queenless. If no sound is heard are there any bees alive.
_________________
I'm not as serious as I look!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bigbearomaha
Foraging Bee


Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 149
Location: Omaha, NE USA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think what is learnt over time becomes second nature. It really takes spending time just sitting and watching the entrance throughout the seasons and trying to understand how to relate what is going on inside to what you see, smell and hear from the outside.


Well, this is kind of my point. much of what each beekeeper does will be very relevant to his/her own interpretations and experiences. Yet the subject always comes up in every bee forum I visit where the advice to just observe the entrance" is given to new beekeepers without giving an indication of what that really is.

it is easy to type out the words, but the relevancy has little impact on a new beekeeper unless it's spelled out.

Big Bear
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Garret
Golden Bee


Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 1681
Location: Canada, BC, Delta

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are many aspects of watching the entrance that are hard to explain without actually being right there. This is where a good mentor comes in very handy to explain while at the entrance.
I know what you are saying and it would be helpful if we had a guide to refer to when we are at the entrance to at least have some sort of idea what we are witnessing. I think because of all the variables to what could be going on inside the hives and what is being seen outside at any given time the best we can do is have a very basic guide to help us along. The rest is still left up to each individual to interpret the situation.
I guess what I'm saying is it's not as simple as if you see, smell or hear this, this is what is going on inside. There are too many levels.
Although a basic guide would still be nice to have as a beginner.
_________________
I'm not as serious as I look!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bigbearomaha
Foraging Bee


Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 149
Location: Omaha, NE USA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I know what you are saying and it would be helpful if we had a guide to refer to when we are at the entrance to at least have some sort of idea what we are witnessing. I think because of all the variables to what could be going on inside the hives and what is being seen outside at any given time the best we can do is have a very basic guide to help us along


Now you're on to where I am going with this.

I have thought the same things when I am talking to someone else about entrance activity.

I am not the worlds most experienced bee keeper, I am not an entire rookie either. But it would be very nice to be able to hand a new person a 'guide' as we could call it with at least the best we could provide in terms of " look for x activity or behavior, if seen, it means (75% or whatever likelihood) X is going on"

and so on.

Big Bear
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Garret
Golden Bee


Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 1681
Location: Canada, BC, Delta

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big Bear,
I think a person could write a whole book on this topic. I don't think its been done.
Short of that, a chart with rows and columns with intersecting descriptions of what you should or shouldn't be seeing would probably be the easiest to put together.
You could use this with a description of what you should see in a healthy hive at different times of the year that is progressing as expected. Used as a starting point.
I don't know. Could be something to play around with to see what it looks like.
Maybe Phil would want to put something like this in his next book revision.
_________________
I'm not as serious as I look!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Gareth
Wise Bee


Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 3060
Location: UK, England, Cotswolds

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Garret says, a lot of this is second nature. The experienced beek sees, hears and smells things that the novice doesn't notice because, in simple terms, they are already overwhelmed by the experience, so their sensory input gets filtered down to the minimum. I recall being shown things by experienced mentors when I started out and I used to think 'Wow, I hadn't noticed that, but now you point it out it's obvious'.

So having an experienced mentor who is good at voicing what they experience (not the silent type!) can be a great help, even if they are only able to help you occasionally. Failing that, as Garret says, just spend time looking and listening by the hive. Gradually your senses will pick up more and more. You don't even need to be consciously questioning, just passively observe; the questions will come later when you are reflecting on what you have experienced. Over time you'll be amazed at how your observational skills get tuned up as the overload of experience fades away (a bit like learning to drive on a busy highway).

My hunch is that the second nature aspect means that any 'list' that is written will always be a pale reflection of the reality and still leave folk wondering. There really is nothing to beat the actual experience and, over time, you'll start to connect the observations with the happenings. And, believe me, that process does not end. Smile
_________________
Gareth

[url=http//simplebees.wordpress.com]http://simplebees.wordpress.com[/url]
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bigbearomaha
Foraging Bee


Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 149
Location: Omaha, NE USA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comments, I don't want to confuse the issue, while I am always here to learn all I can, It is not me necessarily I am talking about. And your post only further illustrates the futility of seeing " just observe the entrance" types of comments targeted to new beekeepers.

What you refer to as "second nature" really is only a comfortability in associating what you see with what is happening where you can't see it. Which, as has been said, primarily comes with the experience of doing it.

The mentor thing, from what I hear is only so so and not a guarantee of anything. As there are "good" beekeepers and 'not so good" beekeepers, there are good mentors, not so good mentors and many people in areas who can find no mentor at all.

In which case, people strive to self educate as much as possible, getting perhaps 'the next best thing' to a live mentor by frequenting online forums.

All of us online here are potential 'virtual' mentors and when idle comments such as " Just observe the entrance" slip out ( and I am not picking on any one person here, this happens on every bee forum I can see) so by making statements such as that, I think it behooves us to take that information into detail for the 'mentor-less' or those with mentors who really aren't helping them.

Just my two cent in the constant search for bee truth. Wink

Big Bear
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
fdbka
Guest





PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would someone with a hive with an observation window like to post what they are looking for in a little detail as requested by

Quote:
What are we looking for at the window, and what does it mean?

Big Bear
Back to top
bigbearomaha
Foraging Bee


Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 149
Location: Omaha, NE USA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was a rhetorical question. As if to ask the same thing in regard to the entrance.

I think I am going to work on such a list on observations, both at the entrance and the window.

Big Bear
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
jeezlebarf
Scout Bee


Joined: 08 Dec 2008
Posts: 425
Location: N.Ireland, Co.Antrim

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've found that the main use of the window is to see when to add a new bar or two because they have filled space with comb. The only other use was to show people what the nest looks like. It is always to the entrance first that I go and that list above from fdbka, Phil and Garrett is about as comprehensive a guide as i've seen. I'm copying it to my 'best of forum' file. I'm sure they'll let you keep and print it out for new, or any, beeks.
_________________
'Leave your bees alone' Charlie Nothing
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Norm
Moderator Bee


Joined: 15 Jun 2007
Posts: 2974
Location: UK in winter, Sweden in summer

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a whole book devoted to the subject called at the hive entrance by H. Storch it was translated from the German version which was called Am Flugloch
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Norm
Moderator Bee


Joined: 15 Jun 2007
Posts: 2974
Location: UK in winter, Sweden in summer

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Opening paragraph of the above book reads:-

Quote:
All year round it is through this little opening that the
life of a colony pulses. Here it breathes and rejects all
that it will not tolerate in its domain. Here it transmits
its meaningful message for the person who can
understand it. Here the colony's behaviour informs
the beekeeper of its problems and state of health, and
lets him know whether it needs his help.
A keeper who can tell the condition of his bees by
observing the hive entrance does not need to open his
hives and disturb the bees' sanctuary, the brood nest.
This never produces good results.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bigbearomaha
Foraging Bee


Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 149
Location: Omaha, NE USA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Norm. I have put that book on top of my 'need to read' list.

Big Bear
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
bigbearomaha
Foraging Bee


Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 149
Location: Omaha, NE USA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I nominate Norm for 'coolest Apiarist in the neighborhood".

That book is almost EXACTLY what I was talking about. Even in the manner it is laid out and presented.

Talk about saving me a lot of work.

Thank you Norm. Your my favorite Norm of all time, and that even includes the Norm from Cheers. heh heh.

Big Bear
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Norm
Moderator Bee


Joined: 15 Jun 2007
Posts: 2974
Location: UK in winter, Sweden in summer

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Embarassed
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Garret
Golden Bee


Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 1681
Location: Canada, BC, Delta

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone who would like to down load the book can at this site. You will need to down load a BitTorrent program first. Which you can get here.
http://www.bittorrent.com/btusers/download

http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4697591/At_the_Hive_Entrance.pdf

Thanks Norm, for bring this to our attention!
_________________
I'm not as serious as I look!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
stehen
Guest





PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:30 pm    Post subject: Top Bar Hive inspection frequency Reply with quote

Excellent thread.
Much appreciated.
Back to top
adamziegler
Foraging Bee


Joined: 20 Nov 2009
Posts: 106
Location: USA, Illinois

PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Garret... could you (or someone) seed this file for a bit? Thank you!

Edit: Thanks for the seed!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
DavesBees
Silver Bee


Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Posts: 564
Location: USA, Maine, Bucksport

PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

adamziegler wrote:
Garret... could you (or someone) seed this file for a bit? Thank you!

Edit: Thanks for the seed!


Thank You Sir - May I have another!

Reseed Please
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bigbearomaha
Foraging Bee


Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 149
Location: Omaha, NE USA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will be seeding this at night, between 8 pm and 6 am CST

Big Bear
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
DavesBees
Silver Bee


Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Posts: 564
Location: USA, Maine, Bucksport

PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bigbearomaha wrote:
I will be seeding this at night, between 8 pm and 6 am CST

Big Bear

Thanks,
I have the hard copy of the book but wanted it on my computer also.
Got it!
Thanks again,
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mpilting
Nurse Bee


Joined: 19 Aug 2009
Posts: 45
Location: USA, Minnesota

PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If no one is seeding, it can also be found here: http://bbe-tech.com/bees/?page_id=18
_________________
Matt

All existence is a harmonious balance. ~ Lao Tzu
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
trekmate
Golden Bee


Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1125
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mpilting wrote:
If no one is seeding, it can also be found here: http://bbe-tech.com/bees/?page_id=18



Thanks, Matt! You saved me asking!

John Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mpilting
Nurse Bee


Joined: 19 Aug 2009
Posts: 45
Location: USA, Minnesota

PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best part of the whole book is the cover. I wanna be that guy! Cool
_________________
Matt

All existence is a harmonious balance. ~ Lao Tzu
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bigbearomaha
Foraging Bee


Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 149
Location: Omaha, NE USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mpilting wrote:
If no one is seeding, it can also be found here: http://bbe-tech.com



You might find other interesting stuff on my website if you start at the main page.

I have a forum and a BeeWiki as well

Big Bear
_________________
Rebel Bee Club

Free Bee Network promoting more bees, more beekeepers, making both better along the way
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Beginners start here All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
Page 2 of 3

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

SPECIAL OFFER FOR UK FORUM MEMBERS - Buy your protective clothing here and get a special 15% discount! (use the code BAREFOOTBEEKEEPER at checkout and be sure to 'update basket')



Are the big energy companies bleeding you dry?


Is way too much of your hard-earned family income going up in smoke?

Are you worried about what could happen if the ageing grid system fails?

You need to watch this short video NOW to find out how YOU can cut your energy bills TO THE BONE within 30 days!

WATCH THE VIDEO NOW



(country selected automatically - UK/USA/CA/AU)

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast



Now available from Lulu.com


Now available from Lulu.com


Now available from Lulu.com


4th Edition paperback now available from Lulu.com

See beekeeping books for details and links to ebook versions.
site map
php. BB © 2001, 2005 php. BB Group

View topic - Top Bar Hive inspection frequency (Solved, thanks to Norm) - Natural Beekeeping Network Forum