Just last week I had planned to do a hive inspection with an apprentice when the weather simply wouldn’t cooperate. Here in the Northwest we’ve had odd thunder and lightening storms and even when that went away the day was still really windy and damp. I made a choice to postpone the hive inspection for another two weeks due to an upcoming weekend vacation and promised that I’d peek into the hive just to make sure that things were OK.
Fast forward a few days and I’d forgotten to peek in the hive as I was packing up for vacation. Oh no, what to do?
It’d finally been sunny here and likely the bees were finally able to get nectar and would likely have been pulling out foundation and filling it. If I waited too long I could force them to swarm but I definitely didn’t have time to go into the hive.
So I did the next best thing. I opened just the top of the hive, saw that the bees had indeed pulled out about 7 of the top frames and filled them and decided to put on a couple more honey supers for good measure. Unfortunately the bees had really made a mess of the honey they have stored already, trying to glue together a few frames, but that will have to wait until later to clean up.
As beekeepers it’s nice to think that things will always go as we’d like but with beekeeping being so dependant on the weather it can be challenging to do things at the “proper time” or in the “proper way”. So we make do. When it doubt peek in and maybe add a super. It’s certainly a better option than losing half your bees to a swarm.
Have you had to do peek-in hive inspections? What did you do and what was the result?