Opening a Hive

Things You Should Do Each & Every Time You Open A Hive.

By Lindsay Wilson

Observation – Of the area and hive, flight paths, activity, pollen going into the hive, guard bees, and the most important is the weather e.g; Temperature and wind.

As bees are cold blooded, they will not fly in temperatures below 10c, in wind speeds above 24km and are affected by wind chill and rain. Basically what we call winter. Always have a plan before opening the hive. Ask yourself: why am I working this hive, and what do I need to do or know? Have I got all of my tools ready? e.g; Hive tools, Bee suit, Gloves, Bee Brush, Nuc for Honey with frames and is your smoker and ready to lit?

After all that, we can now work the hive. Light the smoker making lots of cool smoke. As you come up to the hive, puff your smoker upon approach, to subdue the guard bees. Then get 3 or 4 good puffs into the entrance then into the lid vents. Now for the hard part, patience…. wait for 90 odd seconds to let the smoke do its work. Now for taking the lid off, giving a good couple of puffs under the lid as you remove it. Same with the hive mat. To work the super always work from the 2nd frame in from the sidewall of the super, because the 1st frame can be stuck to the sidewall of the box with burr comb, and removing it first can roll a lot of bees, killing many and making the rest upset with you. Taking the 2nd frame out gives you room to work and move frames about in the super. The bees can feel what you are doing so keep the knocking, tapping and bumping of the hive to a minimum. If a bee can feel the different dances of other bees in the hive in the dark they can feel you, and what you are doing, so be gentle. Rob the honey supers one box at a time. If you are going down to the brood super to see how the queen is going, remember you don’t have to see the queen, looking at the brood you can tell you all you need to know, is there eggs and larvae in a good laying pattern, if so, you have a good queen and she is laying well.

Remember you can always use the clubs help line for our members 0413-104-191. This Phone is held by an experienced beekeeper.

Hope this helps you

Lindsay Wilson