Beekeeping is so much fun that it is tempting to open the hive and inspect your bees every day - however this isn't so good for the bees. A weekly inspection through the season (from the spring to the autumn) will be fine. Throughout the winter you shouldn't disturb them if at all possible.
Why Do You Inspect The Hive?
You inspect the hive in order to find out how your bees are getting on. Spending time inspecting your bees is probably the most exciting and fun part of beekeeping. You get to see directly inside the colony and gather lots of information about your bees. Typically, you should be looking for the following information:
- Is the queen present and laying?
- Has the colony got enough room?
- Does the colony have sufficient stores of pollen and honey?
- Is the colony healthy?
- Are there any queen cells?
It is good to go through the five points in your mind before you start the inspection. You may find it useful to make a note of the answers to these five points in a notebook, so that you can compare the state of the hive to the last time you did an inspection.
When Is The Best Time To Inspect Your Bees
The best time to inspect is between 11am and 4pm on a still, sunny, warm day when all the flying bee are out foraging.
How Long Should An Inspection Take?
Typically, inspecting your bees should take around half an hour per hive. Time flies when you are having fun and you can quite easily find yourself lost in a world of magic - however it's important to try to keep the inspection time down to a minimum so as to reduce the stress on the bees.