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Just out of interest, what do you commercial characters do with a hive you're opening for the first time since April/May...

do you take the whole thing to bits, full brood check, scrape all frames clear of propolis/wax back to proper dimension, clean out brace comb & rebate in boxes,, tip all junk out of the floor ?  Or do you......

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Get up pack a lunch and go to shed, about 1/2hr drive. make coffee and think about what yard to do first, drink coffee,check weather, make another coffee, check smoker fuel, hive tool water, drin

the big thing is getting cleaning done while there is no major time pressure. ie all the prep work. last thing you want is to be slowed down later on when things are really busy because hives are

My father is a real fan of taking everything off and scraping the floor every spring. Personally I find it hard on the back and when the hive is strong later in the spring it will clean it off itself.

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Scrape the top bars of the frames, take a couple frames out to scrape the long sides of the box, check for queenright, # of frames of brood and honey. Then strips and half a  pollen patty on top, feed if necessary. 

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I just pull the second to outside frame out, check the stores, replace the outside frame with a full honey if it needs a frame and scrape the box while its out, check for brood, bayvarol in then feed, if its failing I squash the queen and unite.

 

Next round I scrape the top of the hive, strips out, brood check, equalize the hangers and over bubbling hives with the not so strong, scrape the excluders, super with wets and hope for the best.

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For me the spring check is pretty intense and time consuming can only do maybe 50 hives a day. AFB check which includes check for queen condition or any other brood problems, feed if need be, scrape top bars, plus boxes that are getting jammed up get the inside scraped plus outside of end bars, balance hives to a limited extent only if very needed for extra weak hives, place treatment, unite queenless or dead to strong ones to enable empty brood boxes to be re populated with a view to re splitting in a few weeks. As to scraping bottom boards I'm with John. If the board is particularly messy I'll clean it but most boards are left. The bees build little nodules on the bottom boards to give themselves a leg up to the combs, and I like to leave those in place.

 

And of course I make brief notes about each site so I know what they will need at next visit, for example if a site is very advanced and likely to try swarming very early I'll make a note of that so I can beat them to it.

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As per @Alastair although feeding syrup for me is like poking the sleeping bear so is avoided.. I swap out any wet boxes and scrape any wet floors, top bars excluders, mats etc.. with a 7mm riser most floors don’t have bee ladders built. 
I also write in chalk on the front of boxes the numbers of brood frames to help with a second equalise next round.. hit the strong one then the weak one to play Robin Hood.. had 2 colonies today with virginQ following failure.. unfortunately for them they got pinched which means 2 nucs will be swallowed from the system tomorrow. First round is spring clean out just as I was taught to do. Full strip down weather permitting of course... it can still be too cold to smash the clusters here at the mo. 

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6 hours ago, Stoney said:

As per @Alastair although feeding syrup for me is like poking the sleeping bear so is avoided.. I swap out any wet boxes and scrape any wet floors, top bars excluders, mats etc.. with a 7mm riser most floors don’t have bee ladders built. 
I also write in chalk on the front of boxes the numbers of brood frames to help with a second equalise next round.. hit the strong one then the weak one to play Robin Hood.. had 2 colonies today with virginQ following failure.. unfortunately for them they got pinched which means 2 nucs will be swallowed from the system tomorrow. First round is spring clean out just as I was taught to do. Full strip down weather permitting of course... it can still be too cold to smash the clusters here at the mo. 

Box swap, AFB, mite wash,feed check, wax propolis off top lugs, mark issues, note taking.

paint queens when found.

note any breeder potentials.

a lot really and I don't necessarily do it all. 

probably feed 2 a site, avoid if possible.

 

24 hives takes 1.5hr approx depending on weather and beginning/end of day...

Use a black marker on lid.

Talk with farmers. 

 

Like the chalk brood number on box front re strength.

Though what was 2 brood can turn into 7 between rounds, so could be frustrating.

 

What do you use to play music? 

Looking at a blue tooth speaker, with a good radio. Bit rare. 

Leaving the Ute radio going like listening thru a wall. 

 

 

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28 minutes ago, Gino de Graaf said:

 

Like the chalk brood number on box front re strength.

Though what was 2 brood can turn into 7 between rounds, so could be frustrating.

 

What do you use to play music? 

Looking at a blue tooth speaker, with a good radio. Bit rare. 

Leaving the Ute radio going like listening thru a wall. 

 

 

Agree re brood growth can happen quick but gives an idea of where the tall poppies are so can be cut down.. speeds up my equalising a small bit anyway..  
music supplied via Sony speaker and through Spotify premium. I hate listening to ads. 

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If any beginner is reading this thread - it's all very good advice, but take into account the area that you are in and your climate, and the area the writer is in.  Don't go doing major hive inspections, if horrendously cold weather is forecast over the next few days - you have broken all the hives natural seals.  

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Dunno. My first season in Leeston, hive inspections began on the 15th of August. As a recently arrived North Islander, to me it was bitterly cold even my fingers got cold, we even worked in the rain on occasion. I didn't enjoy those days a lot, being covered in cold, crawling bees.

 

But the recuperative powers of a healthy hive are amazing, never seemed to be any real harm done.

 

Guess it all depends though. Opening a varroa ridden weak hive, having it open too long, handling it roughly and doing the wrong things, on a nasty day, could tip the scales and kill the hive.

 

Many is the time though that I have looked in a hive and found it in serious trouble of some sort, and have contacted the owner and said they need to do whatever to it urgently. Then weeks later they call me and say they looked in the hive but it was dead. Did you do what I said to do I ask? No, they say, it was too cold. They don't get that if something needs doing, no point standing back cos it was cold, while the hive dies.

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3 hours ago, Gino de Graaf said:

What do you use to play music? 

 

Me, the truck radio, which came with a pretty good sound system stock standard. Only issue, leaving both doors open on a windy day has not been a good plan.

 

Just a few days ago I posted a video here of some hives coming out to play after a storm. Was shocked when I played the video how loud the music was, at the time of filming I hadn't registered it, will have to turn it off for future videos.

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I don't generally mark individual hives except for potential breeders but I do record what's happening in my bee book every time I go to a apiary. This will include the date, how high, how heavy, average brood and bees, how much I fed and what type of feed along with recording any deaths or Queen problems as well as varroa treatments in or out and of course any disease. Most recording is done with abbreviations and takes about 30 seconds.

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23 hours ago, yesbut said:

Just out of interest, what do you commercial characters do with a hive you're opening for the first time since April/May

Get up pack a lunch and go to shed, about 1/2hr drive.

make coffee and think about what yard to do first, drink coffee,check weather, make another coffee, check smoker fuel, hive tool water, drink coffee, make thermos, check syrup just incase needed.

Stop at petrol station and fuel up, chat to farmer and/or other beekeeper, almost smoko time, lucky I made a thermos, have smoko. Drive to first yard, unlock gate and find a tree fallen over track, lucky I got chainsaw on hand, by the time tree cut up and moved the shower cloud beckons, don't want to get wet as a bit cold so sit in cab and wait it won't be long, cloud moves on and sun comes out, but just want to finish listening to Bohemian Rhapsody as its an anthem, Ok lets go, but it's lunch time so need to fuel up for the task ahead. Lunch finished and nothing on the radio, suns out, light smoker and grab hive tool and go check first hive, lid a bit tough to lift off, stretch the back ready for lifting boxes, top box off, stretch back again, kneel beside hive and get stone under the knee, limp back to truck to check knee pads, put them on. Wind getting up a bit, but still sunny a bit. back at hive check 3rd frame in all looks good on that frame. another shower cloud coming, stretch back again, put hive back together. Sit in cab and have another coffee while waiting for shower cloud to pass, check phone, two messages left, they could be important better drive up the road to better reception and check. Lucky not important, must remember to pick up milk on way home and check specials at bunnings on way home for tools I don't need but might. Since I'm down the road and nearly smoko time I better head back to shed and have smoko, last coffee in thermos, so check truck, not sure why. Right on the board, first hive all good. Better head back home as traffic can be a bit rough and slow, get home tell the wife had a heavy day and back sore, she asks if I'd like a coffee...tomorrow another day.

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On 26/08/2020 at 7:48 PM, yesbut said:

Just out of interest, what do you commercial characters do with a hive you're opening for the first time since April/May...

the big thing is getting cleaning done while there is no major time pressure. ie all the prep work.

last thing you want is to be slowed down later on when things are really busy because hives are not cleaned.

full inspection, start sorting out weak hives, feeding hives etc.

first round is always slow but once thats all done speed will pick up as we get into the season.

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11 hours ago, Dennis Crowley said:

Better head back home as traffic can be a bit rough and slow, get home tell the wife had a heavy day and back sore, she asks if I'd like a coffee...tomorrow another day.

Obviously a v long coffee break to write that epistle.  I need a coffee break to read the whole thing and have a laugh - two good ways to start off the day

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2 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:

First round of the season my back nearly kills me....even worse this year because of gaining so much weight over lockdown :( 

My backs the same.. an empty box to sit on while I scrape scrape scrape has helped.. 

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On 27/08/2020 at 7:19 PM, Dennis Crowley said:

Get up pack a lunch and go to shed, about 1/2hr drive.

make coffee and think about what yard to do first, drink coffee,check weather, make another coffee, check smoker fuel, hive tool water, drink coffee, make thermos, check syrup just incase needed.

Stop at petrol station and fuel up, chat to farmer and/or other beekeeper, almost smoko time, lucky I made a thermos, have smoko. Drive to first yard, unlock gate and find a tree fallen over track, lucky I got chainsaw on hand, by the time tree cut up and moved the shower cloud beckons, don't want to get wet as a bit cold so sit in cab and wait it won't be long, cloud moves on and sun comes out, but just want to finish listening to Bohemian Rhapsody as its an anthem, Ok lets go, but it's lunch time so need to fuel up for the task ahead. Lunch finished and nothing on the radio, suns out, light smoker and grab hive tool and go check first hive, lid a bit tough to lift off, stretch the back ready for lifting boxes, top box off, stretch back again, kneel beside hive and get stone under the knee, limp back to truck to check knee pads, put them on. Wind getting up a bit, but still sunny a bit. back at hive check 3rd frame in all looks good on that frame. another shower cloud coming, stretch back again, put hive back together. Sit in cab and have another coffee while waiting for shower cloud to pass, check phone, two messages left, they could be important better drive up the road to better reception and check. Lucky not important, must remember to pick up milk on way home and check specials at bunnings on way home for tools I don't need but might. Since I'm down the road and nearly smoko time I better head back to shed and have smoko, last coffee in thermos, so check truck, not sure why. Right on the board, first hive all good. Better head back home as traffic can be a bit rough and slow, get home tell the wife had a heavy day and back sore, she asks if I'd like a coffee...tomorrow another day.

It is "hard being a beekeeper.

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On 27/08/2020 at 7:19 PM, Dennis Crowley said:

Get up pack a lunch and go to shed, about 1/2hr drive.

make coffee and think about what yard to do first, drink coffee,check weather, make another coffee, check smoker fuel, hive tool water, drink coffee, make thermos, check syrup just incase needed.

Stop at petrol station and fuel up, chat to farmer and/or other beekeeper, almost smoko time, lucky I made a thermos, have smoko. Drive to first yard, unlock gate and find a tree fallen over track, lucky I got chainsaw on hand, by the time tree cut up and moved the shower cloud beckons, don't want to get wet as a bit cold so sit in cab and wait it won't be long, cloud moves on and sun comes out, but just want to finish listening to Bohemian Rhapsody as its an anthem, Ok lets go, but it's lunch time so need to fuel up for the task ahead. Lunch finished and nothing on the radio, suns out, light smoker and grab hive tool and go check first hive, lid a bit tough to lift off, stretch the back ready for lifting boxes, top box off, stretch back again, kneel beside hive and get stone under the knee, limp back to truck to check knee pads, put them on. Wind getting up a bit, but still sunny a bit. back at hive check 3rd frame in all looks good on that frame. another shower cloud coming, stretch back again, put hive back together. Sit in cab and have another coffee while waiting for shower cloud to pass, check phone, two messages left, they could be important better drive up the road to better reception and check. Lucky not important, must remember to pick up milk on way home and check specials at bunnings on way home for tools I don't need but might. Since I'm down the road and nearly smoko time I better head back to shed and have smoko, last coffee in thermos, so check truck, not sure why. Right on the board, first hive all good. Better head back home as traffic can be a bit rough and slow, get home tell the wife had a heavy day and back sore, she asks if I'd like a coffee...tomorrow another day.

Start work at Wiotapu 12 p.m. by jumping into an already loaded truck and we drive for a couple of hours before unloading 120 hives into five or six apiarys. Almost get back to the shed for a late breakfast when I get swapped into a truck going the other way. Back to where I had just come from and super hives all day till we run out and then meet another truck from Havelock North with more boxes and keep supering till we run out. By that time it was well after dark and we were doing hives using torches.Head back to Havelock North and get home at 11:30 p.m.

and that was during the school holidays before I had left school.

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I have come to the conclusion that you lose the ability/desire to go through 20 less hives a day with every 10 yrs age growth.

In my 30's I was going through 100 hives a day, my 40's it was 80, now in my late 50's it's 60, and in 2-3 yrs i'm sure it'll be 40.

Or I just had a slow day, need a coffee.

 

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LOL, your calculations would be about right, I'm 65 and 50 hives a day is usually about it for me.

 

Depends though, I had to AFB check 105 hives for someone, they were new, ungummed up, singles, nicely laid out, easy peasy and I was able to pop them off in a morning and still able to go check 2 other (smaller) sites in the arvo.

 

For my own hives, think I have learned how to get a bit more done each time and make less visits.

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