examination of a hive
- Ensure that your bee suit is
- Wash bee suit in non-perfumed
washing products. Note angry bees
will deposit pheromones and alarm substances on your bee suit and
- Avoid (if possible)
manipulations of the hive on cold, wet, thundery or windy days.
- Take wind proof matches so you
can light your smoker.
- Avoid being hot and sweaty
body odour issues
- Avoid having perfumed products
this can include hair shampoo
- Avoid having any alcohol this
can disturb bees
- Handling the combs gently. As
with any stock avoid sudden movements.
- Do not discard ash from your
smoker carelessly. Hot ashes are a fire risk.
- Age of hive and other hives in location. Have new hives been introduced recently
- Has new queens been purchased
and where from
- Has a swarmed hive been collected and introduced recently
- Location of hive in relation to other hives avoid hives
in straight lines to reduce drifting
- Location of hive in relation to public path
- Location of hive in relation to access by livestock
- Note general appearance
- Water source
- Available food sources note
some food like Canola may need frequent collection of honey
- Security measures to stop pests
and people electric fencing
- If electric fencing used are
the wires clear of vegetation
- Is the hive placed on a secure hive stand
- Is hive stand clear of vegetation
- Is hive stand prepared to stop ants and other
insects from entering the hive
- Note source of bee equipment
- Other bee keepers been recently
especially with their own equipment
- Hygiene of bee examination
of the hive entrance and surrounds
- Bees on active flight
path. Lots of bees with full pollen
- Many drones flying normal in
afternoon in late spring to summer
- Small pieces of wax at entrance
bees uncapping stores
- Bees fanning and exposing
Nasonov glands Queening issue
- Bees fanning colony too hot
- Bees issuing from hive in a swirling and ascending mass colony
- Bees covering entrance too
many bees in the hive, colony too
- Bees walking aimlessly around
the front of the hive possible disease
- Dead larvae actively being
carried out disease in the hive
- Dead larvae which are shrunken
- Dead larvae all at the same
stage of decomposition starvation or poisoning
- Mummified larvae Chalkbrood (Ascosphaera apis)
- Dying bees dead at bottom and
live on top Paralysis virus
- Bees unable to fly and
staggering around, bright black bloated abdomens Virus
- Bees fighting at entrance -
- Faecal spotting Nosema Dysentery (Nosema apris and Nosema
- Large pieces of wax at entrance
Mice in the hive
- Foul smelling Death of the
not stand in the flight path of the bees
the infra-red temperature of the hive
for wax moth Greater and Lesser and also any wasp presence.
of the hive
- For each supper note the number
of frames with brood on them.
- Ensure each supper and frame is
- Is there an active frame
replacement programme 3 frames a year?
- Check that the hive is queen right. Is there an active queen present?
- If you see the queen - note her
marking colour. Is the queen the same as the one placed in the hive?
- Note the condition of the queen
especially any thin queen.
- What is the condition of the
frames evidence of Wax moths or other pests?
- Where is the drone cells
problem if a lot and irregularly spread across comb.
- How many eggs are in each cell
if more than one may be workers laying or new queen?
you think there may not be a queen place a numbered frame from an adjacent
healthy hive containing eggs. If the workers do not raise queens then the
original hive has a queen.
- Check brood larvae are
pearly-white in colour.
- If there are a lot (more than
10% of empty cells in areas with capped brood, are heater bees entering the cells
trying to heat adjacent cells may indicate a cold hive.
- Ensure that the older frames
are at the end of the super. Check
condition of the combs. If you
cannot see through the comb replace.
- Estimate the amount of stores
present in the hive.
- A hive weight scale can be
extremely useful to provide information on the health of the hive.
of the bees
mesh #8 or #12
engine spray ether or Washing-up
liquid 500 ml
light 3100 to 4000 A
to check larvae
sugar to assist Varroa identification
Examination of the
a frame and knock down around 500 bees into a container with a lid.
the bees off a comb through a large mouthed funnel into the container.
the queen is not present.
500ml of windscreen washing liquid ethanol or alternatively methylated spirits
the bottle for 1 minute to dislodge the mites.
Examine for evidence of any Varro mites using a hand lens. This can be
assisted by passing the bees and alcohol through a wide screen #8 or #12 mesh
to remove the bees and then sieving again through cotton cloth.
Nosema dysentery - (Nosema apris and Nosema ceranae)
10 bees remove the digestive tract.
the digestive tract, especially ventriculus for evidence of Nosema spores
Acarina tracheal mites
10 bees and section across the thorax
cross-section for evidence of Acarinae
each bee for evidence of deformity particularly note the wing structure.
any bees of interest into 10% buffered formaldehyde
the remaining bees and submit for total crude protein concentration as a
general indicator of health
the hive debris
a sticky sheet into the hive floor 7 days prior to the visit
the hive debris into windscreen washing liquid or methylated spirits.
mites will float to the surface count the number
the number of mites by the number of days to get a mite/day estimation.
Bee Sting Management
- Remove the sting by scraping
out with your thumbnail. Do not
squeeze out the sting this will empty more toxin from the venom sac
- Take pain killers
- Be aware of sensitization and
antihistamines may be required.
of the general health of
crude protein concentration % can vary in working bees from 21 to 67%.
is important to maintain the workers with a crude protein concentration above
the protein concentration falls below 40% the lifespan of the workers will fall
from the normal 46-50 days to 20 to 26 days.
the protein concentration falls below 30% the bees become very susceptible to
European Foul Brood (Melissococcus plutonius) and Nosema (Nosema apris and Nosema ceranae). This is particularly important check in the
Autumn, as bees with low protein concentration will generally fail to
The weight of the
the hive on a weigh scale can provide invaluable information regarding the
number of stores and general heath of the hive.
This can also be integrated into a wireless system so that the hive can
be monitored through the internet. This
can prove to be a deterrent to thieves as your computer/phone can alert the
owners of any serious upset. The
progressive loss of weight may also be a helpful early indicator of disorders
such as colony collapse disorder.