Prototype further research

In order to create our prototype we realised that we would need to gather some specific information what bee keepers look for when they visit the hive. I sent an email to Dr Jeff Davey, who has been incredibly generous with his time and sent us this response:

How often do bee keepers visit the hive?
About every week in the summer – it takes ten days for the bees to produce a new queen and swarm, so that’s the minimum if you want to stop them swarming
What do you do during those visits? Is it always the same or different?
Suit up, get a smoker lit in case they get defensive, take a look at their behaviour at the entrance before you disturb them then every so often, open up the hive to take a good look.
What types of things do you look for on visits? Is it numbers of bees or other things?
Check they have enough to eat until you’re planning to visit them next, for signs that the queen is present (eggs if you can’t actually spot her) or that they’re not showing any signs of disease, and they’re not showing any signs of swarming (i.e. making new queens ready to replace the present one who’d leave with the swarm.)
What hive measurements do you take?
Usuall just note the number of frames that have brood an/or stores. See how many eggs (subsequently larvae) the queen has laid and how much nectar and pollen the bees have stored and how much they’ve turned into honey (dfor more Long term storage).
How do you store the information?
Usually in a notebook I keep in my bag. A lot of beekeepers will put a record card in the top of the hive.
Do you look for any patterns in the hive (such as bee behavior or health)?
A healthy, well-mated young queen will lay her eggs in a nice even pattern starting at the middle of the hive and working outwards so the brood is roughly the size and shape of a rugby ball (although it gets bigger than this at the height of summer). This will be surrounded by nectar, which is then dehydrated and turned into honey then capped with a layer of wax (this will be a different colour if there’s honey or larvae underneath). Pollen is usually stored quite near to the entrance, but can be anywhere. Pollen doesn’t usually get capped

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