Some tips for hive openings:
- Go help other beekeepers at their hive openings and learn hands on. This builds your confidence and skills enormously. Join a beekeeping group and offer to come and help others open their hives. They will greatly appreciate the helping hands.
- Be prepared: bring all the tools you will need with you and assemble them within reach.
- Suit up - you will be more relaxed if you know that you have full protection. You will see experienced beekeepers opening hives ungloved and often unsuited. They know their bees intimately and work intuitively with them. Leave the unsuited bit until you know you have deep wisdom and experience.
- Avoid using scented soaps, shampoos, creams or cosmetics before you open your hive. Bees will think you are a flower if you smell like one and flock to you. Besides, your bees will get to know your smell if you don't disguise it.
- Bee relaxed. Move carefully and slowly around hives. Sharp, swift moves (e.g. swatting at a bee, banging the hive) set of alarm bells for bees. They will start to become anxious and may see you as a threat and the guard bees will attack.
- Here are some helpful videos:
Opening a modified Warre hive:
Opening a Kenyan top bar hive:
Comb management in a top bar hive:
Nadiring a Warre hive ("undersupering")