SafetyCulture Summit 2020

Beehive Inspection Checklist

Identify and manage hive threats with beehive inspection checklists

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Published October 13th, 2020

What is Beehive Inspection?

A beehive inspection is the process of observing and monitoring beehives to check their condition and identify and assess threats against residing colonies. Beekeepers can perform this inspection any time of the day; ideally, when bees are foraging, lighting is sufficient, and the temperature is sitting between 60 and 100°F (15-38°C). Beehive inspections should be performed on a regular basis to manage beehive growth, but not too often as to disrupt natural hive activity.

4 Crucial Things to Look Out For With your Beehive Inspection Checklist

Beehive inspections will vary depending on your preferred inspection plan. Initial inspections are typically performed a week after setting up the hives. This helps determine the nature of your next hive inspection. Initial hive inspections commonly cover the following:

  • General appearance
  • Reproduction
  • Signs of pests
  • Capacity
  • Weather condition

Here are some key things you need to look out for during beehive inspections:

Presence of a queen

One of the most important things you should check for is the presence of a queen. A healthy and active queen is essential for a colony to thrive. Spotting the queen will require some skill and practice. Check for honeycombs, honey, and eggs or larvae. Eggs are a good sign that a queen is present and has laid within the last 1-3 days. Once you have confirmed the presence of a queen, you no longer need to check on her during every single inspection moving forward.

A healthy brood

A brood is where the queen lay its eggs. Checking the brood determines the health and productivity of the queen which is essential to the overall strength of the colony. The queen’s nest should display a healthy frame of brood that looks like a bulls-eye, with capped brood in the center and a ring of pollen and capped honey around the outside.

Signs of imminent swarming

Swarming is a natural process that occurs at certain times of the year. During this process, a large group of honey bees leave their original colony and fly off to establish a new one. Swarming is a cause for concern for beekeepers since it translates to less honey being harvested for that year. A colony may also lose up to 50 percent of its population and resources, making it difficult for the colony to return to its original productivity. This is why during inspections, you should check for signs of swarming so you can apply the appropriate control measures. Honey bees swarm due to lack of space, which means beekeepers should be proactive when it comes to avoiding hive congestion.

Indication of mites, pests, and predators

There are various threats against successful bee colonies. Mites such as varroa and tracheal are some of the most common pests beekeepers should aim to control. Wax moths eat beeswax, which can cause significant damage to stored combs.. Beekeepers should diligently perform timely beehive inspections to identify threats and other issues before they worsen.

What is iAuditor and How to use it with a Beehive Inspection Checklist?

Have confidence in performing beehive inspection with a versatile, digital checklist. iAuditor is a digital inspection tool that improves how people work throughout the business. Automate your paper checklists and replace them with a digital one that enables beekeepers to:

  • Build digital templates in minutes
  • Easily perform and record beehive inspections using a mobile or tablet device
  • Capture evidence by attaching and storing photos and notes with inspections
  • Produce comprehensive reports of beehive health and instantly share them across multiple recipients
  • Automatically store a secure record of every inspection conducted
  • Proactively manage hive threats by providing corrective measures with collaborative actions.
  • Visualize and track data with analytics.

Author

Jai Andales

SafetyCulture staff writer

Jai is a content writer for SafetyCulture based in Manila. She has been writing well-researched articles about health and safety topics since 2018. She is passionate about empowering businesses to utilize technology in building a culture of safety and quality.