When it comes to beekeeping for dummies it can actually be a pretty good guide for those who are beginning beekeepers and are serious about having their own beehives in their own backyards. It’s something that helps to guide you step by step easy to understand guide to beekeeping when it comes to important inspections.
Here are just a few tips and guidelines that you may find helpful when using beekeeping for dummies.
Beekeeping Inspection in Spring
This is a very busy time for both the bees and the beekeeper. Spring inspection is the very first inspection that needs to be done during the season. Here’s a list that needs to be followed during this inspection:
- Pick the first nice mild and sunny day with little to no wind to inspect the hive. It should be at least 50° F.
- Look closely at the entrance. Are there a lot of dead bees? A few dead bees is normal but a lot could mean there’s a problem.
- Take smoker and smoke lightly and then open the hive. Look for the cluster of bees and listen for the cluster.
- Look through the comb. Look for brood and eggs. If there is none then a new queen is needed.
- Feed your bees a pollen substitute in order to boost their brood production.
- If your hive is a Langstroth hive you should reverse the deep hive bodies to better distribute the brood pattern. Also clean the bottom board.
- Later in the spring you should add a queen excluder and honey supers in a Langstroth hive.
Beekeeping for dummies also gives you tips on other inspections that are helpful and suggests that routine beekeeping inspections need to become a regular habit.
Make it a habit during routine inspections to look for the following:
- Take note of the “coming and going” of your bees at their entrance. Make sure they look normal or do they look like they’re stumbling around?
- Smoke the hive at the entrance of the hive and under the cover.
- Check the slide out tray for varroa mites if you use a screened bottom board in the hive. Decide if the hive needs treatment for mites and either clean off the screen or get a new one.
- Open up the hive and remove the wall frame and set it aside.
- Always work through all the frames and check them.
- Always look for eggs, eggs mean you still have a queen, no eggs, no queen.
- Check the uncapped larvae. If they look white and bright as well as glistening this is good. If they are dull and tan, this is a bad thing.
- Is the brood pattern compact with very few empty cells and covers most of the frame? If it does then this is great.
- Does the brood look spotty with too many empty cells? If it does then there’s a problem.
- Are there swarm cells? Always make sure the colony has enough room to expand. Also make sure they have plenty of ventilation.
- Make sure to anticipate the growth of your colony. So give them additional space by adding some honey supers when using a Langstroth hive or move your follower board if using a Top Bar hive.
- Replace the frames and then close the hive.
You will also find these beekeeping for dummies guidelines for autumn beekeeping inspections helpful as well.
Inspection of Hives During the Fall
Beekeeping for dummies teaches beekeepers that the beekeeping cycle will slow down in the fall. However, inspection is still required. This guideline list helps you to prepare the colony for the upcoming colder winter months:
- Make sure to smoke the hive again at the entrance and under cover.
- Open up your hive for another inspection.
- Make sure that you still have a queen. Either finder her or look for any eggs. If you can’t find her or eggs then order another queen from a supplier.
- Is there enough honey for the colony to last all of the winter? If you live in northern states you’ll need 8 to 10 frames of capped honey for your bees. You’ll need a few less in warmer areas.
- Feed your bees syrup.
- Make sure they have good ventilation for the winter months.
- Put on a metal mouse guard at the entrance of the hive.
- Wrap your hive up in black tar paper.
- Make sure to repair, clean and store away any surplus equipment you might have.
- If you want to store any of the comb that the brood were reared in, fumigate the comb with PDB or paradichlorobenzene crystals or put the combs in deep freeze to kill any wax moths before storing them.
There are plenty of other topics covered that are found in beekeeping for dummies that could be extremely helpful to any beginning beekeeper as well as those who are already experienced.