Hive Management

This section is all about how to take care of your hive throughout the year. As in all things bees there is no one “best” method and, many times, the bees don’t read the same books we do and they don’t act as we expect.

The website is an excellent resource. They have a awesome .pdf located here. Below are some excerpts from the lengthy document.

  1. KEEP APIARY RECORDS: Maintain a record of the hives, apiaries, locations, and seasons. Both paper checklists and online tools are available to assist with record keeping. Consider individually marking your hives and equipment and maintaining photographic evidence of apiary health throughout the year. Should anything happen, such as a pesticide kill, vandalism, or theft, photographic evidence could be valuable. Items to record include:
    • Colony temperament
    • Queen “rightness”
    • Diseases and pests
    • Honey production
    • Management actions performed
  2. TOOL BOX: Keep the following items handy for hive inspection activities:
    • Cold smoker, starter fuel, and matches
    • Hive tools
    • Hammer and nails (and metal frame tab fixers)
    • Queen cage
    • Marking pens
    • Field notebook and other record keeping tools
    • Fire extinguisher
    • EpiPen
    • Veil: Always wear a veil, even if you are approaching a hive for simple, quick tasks.
    • Clothing: Wear clothing that covers all skin. Periodically inspect bee clothing for tears or openings.
    • Footwear: Boots or work shoes are recommended when working with bees to protect your legs and ankles. Tuck coveralls or pants into footwear or close pant legs with strapping to keep crawling bees out.
    • Gloves: Wear gloves to protect your hands and wrists to avoid stings. Tight fitting gloves are best because they allow you to move nimbly within the hive and avoid crushing bees.
    • Body Odor: Scents in perfumes, shampoos, soap residues, cologne, etc. can attract or irritate bees, which are highly sensitive to scents. Do not apply anything with a scent.
  4. INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT (IPM): There is a compounding effect when more than one disease or pest is present. Learn to:
    • Recognize the signs of pests and disease presence.
    • Understand how pest and disease life cycles can harm colony health.
    • Know how environmental and climatic factors — like season, hive location, and food resource availability — affect pests and diseases.