April 19, 2009

First Inspection Checklist (primary goal: to see eggs or larvae)


Our First Inspection will happen late this week, when it's warm enough for the foragers to fly – less bees in the hive is a good thing – and the eggs and larvae won't get chilled.

1) Brood nest expanding? Look for new comb and move the false back so the bees always have 2-3 top bars to work on.
2) Look for eggs/larvae/capped brood – this is a Beekeeping for Dummies directive; whether or not you see her, seeing new brood is reasonable proof that the Queen was accepted and is performing.

Contingency Plan:
If there is no new brood, a new queen must be ordered right away. Packages are made by dumping bees from several hives down a huge funnel into a box, then adding a queen who is not the mother of any of them. The bees are from whatever stock the supplier happens to have. Since they are only meant to tend to the Queen and raise her babies (and since their lives are already half over) it really doesn't matter. But the Queen is supposed to be mated with a specific race of drone, in our case Carniolans which is supposedly the mellowest of bee races. Our Queen does not appear to be Carniolan, and it remains to be seen what kind of bees she produces. I learned, after buying them, that Carnies are kinda swarmy. So if we do need to requeen, we'll either try to find a local beekeeper with an extra queen, or buy one from Zia Queen Bees in NM.

You May Also Be Interested In
A quick Google search yielded these Inspection Checklists:

P.S.: We started to our beekeeping library with Beekeeping for Dummies. If it's not in your library, you're in a bit of luck! bit.ly/M5ADp3