Regular inspection of your honey bee hive is needed to keep your honey bee colony/colonies disease-free and pest-free. But don’t open that honey bee hive just yet! Read our safety guidelines to make sure that everything is safe and the bees would be more prepared to meet their beekeeper.The Hive and the Honey Bee
Safety guidelines when performing regular honey bee hive inspections:
- Always have your smoker at hand when visiting your honey bee hive. Make sure that you have a lot of fuel with you, so your smoker will not go out when you most need it. Also, it would help if you placed a small stool or table near the hive so you can place your smoker there when not in use.
Do not place your smoker right next to the hive (on the ground) as you might trip over the smoker. Whenever you are opening the hive, always use a few puffs of smoke to dampen the activity.
- Congesting is a notoriously common problem, so be sure to check for congestion. The presence of supersedure cells is a telling sign that the colony may be planning to swarm due to congestion (though congestion is not the sole reason for swarming). Remove the supersedure cells and create another colony if need be, to ease congestion.
- Always position yourself at the sides of the Langstroth honey bee hive – don’t block the entrance to the hive. Foraging bees are continually leaving and returning to the hive, so you would not want to disrupt the ‘traffic’ of the hive.
- Never over-smoke your honeybees. It is a known fact that over-smoking causes too much lethargy in the colony. Too much smoke can make your bees less active and less productive for days. A few puffs of smoke is enough to make honeybees settle. Of course, this varies from species to species but generally a few puffs is enough.
- When inspecting the honey bee hive, firmly hold each wooden frame with both hands and carefully extract it from the hive body. Close the honey bee hive when not extracting any frames.