<ZBees Apiary - Queen-right Colony

ZBees liquid gold... fresh from the colonies!

Lifetime member of the North Carolina Beekeepers Association

     There are many things to consider when inspecting the apiary. First, never open up a colony of honey bees just to see what they are doing. If curiosity kills the cat... then, it can also make a bee colony abscond [leave the hive box]. IF you do not have a purpose for opening the hive, THEN leave the bees alone!

     Reasons to conduct an inspection:

Queen-Right, what is it?

     Queen-right is the term used by beekeepers to describe the hierarchy and condition of a honey bee colony. There can only be one queen per colony and when no queen is present, then the colony becomes unstable and it risks the chance of dying out (dead-out).

Swarming, what is it and how can it be minimized or prevented?

     Swarming is the act of an over-crowed colony leaving the hive box because there is no more room to expand the brood. If a swarm action does occur, then it is typically the beekeeper's fault for failing to conduct proper inspections and foresee the problem. Honey bee do not arbitrarily swarm and leave a perfectly good colony for no reason


Sometimes, a healthy colony may have an excessive amount of drone cells among the brood. Two frames of 50% to 80% drone cells is acceptable. At this point, move the drone frames-D-  to positions 2 and 9 fro drone trapping. If more than two drone frames exists, then remove the excess frames from the colony. If possible, see if drones are needed in another hive. If not, destroy the drone frame. DO NOT leave frames out for pests to get them.


Example: Frames 3-8 contain brood frames with excessive drone cells. Remove the drone frames from hive. Option 1), shift remaining brood towards center. Move existing frame 2 and/or 9 to openings left by drone frames and replace position 2 and 9 with the drone frames. Shift frames 1 or 10, as necessary to fill in any spaces between frames 3-8. Option 2), leave frames 1 and 10 as is, and put either C, F or E frames in vacant positions, where drone frames were before.

Inspecting Your Colonies