Caring for bees is a noble task, whether your goal is to collect their delicious, golden honey or to create a strong pollination system on your farm. Cases of hive collapses have been reported over the years, and the survival of bees across the globe is facing quite an enormous challenge.
Pesticides are named one of the culprits, but so is the widespread monoculture crops that limit the environment safe for bees. Such is the reason why efforts are being pushed to provide a more nurturing environment for bees to support the world’s food system.
As bees are wild creatures, it’s amazing how humans are able to manage apiaries and somehow manipulate the direction of bees. However, nature, which we all heavily rely on can be unpredictable, so bees are still exposed to threats that can contaminate or introduce disease into their hives.
This is why a regular hive check is important; so is ensuring nutritional supplementation for bees like BeesVita Plus that can make bees less prone to disease and make them healthier. To make sure that bee hives are at their optimal health, here are the things you should ensure:
1. Hive Traffic
Inspection of colonies doesn’t usually mean beekeepers do the task every day. However, the colonies should be visually checked daily to ensure healthy hive activity. When one says healthy hive activity, this means that there are lots of protein coming in to feed the colony. You can do this by looking at the hive entrance.
You should also check for intrusions, such as an invasion of other insects like yellow jackets, to larger animals like skunks. Robbing activity can destroy a colony in less than a week if there’s no routine monitoring.
By regularly checking hive traffic, you’ll recognize the behavior of the beehive and will notice signs of trouble quickly, allowing you to perform safety measures to save the colony.
2. Presence of Pollen and Honey
When bees fly in and out of the hive, observe if their legs are covered with tiny pouches of yellow dust. This is the pollen that they’ve accumulated from flowers and plants, it’s a clear evidence that your bees are working. The bees combine pollen with a substance they produce to create bee bread, which then becomes honey.
Honey is stored in the upper part of the hive, so if there’s a presence of honey, that’s an indication that the bees are well-fed.
3. Evidence of Brood
Check the hive for signs of brood within the comb. It is where the queen bee lays her eggs, which then become larvae. A queen’s brood is evidenced by the presence of white worms. By seeing white larvae alone, you’ll know that the queen is alive and healthy. Still, you have to make sure bee space is cleaned and regularly maintained, and don’t forget to close the hive after inspection.
4. The Queen Bee
Seeing the queen during hive inspection is an assurance that the hive is balanced. During inspection, be careful not to lose or crush her. Some beekeepers mark the queen so they can easily identify her, as she can be found anywhere in the hive.
5. Smell and Sound
According to beekeepers, one way of detecting a healthy hive is through how they smell. A hive of healthy bees smells like “beeswax in the sun.” Meanwhile, an unhealthy bee hive smells very different — there is a very distinctive, unpleasant scent.
A healthy hive also emits the usual hum of buzzing bees, and you’ll know if something is wrong if you hear a cacophony of disgruntled buzz. It may be an indication that the queen is missing or she has died.
To make sure your beehive is healthy, you should also keep things tidy and orderly. You would be surprised how a little disarray can create chaos. Hive hygiene is a must!