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Beehive Inspection Checklist

This checklist is meant to help you observe and track your colonies.

Observational beekeeping requires a way to assess the condition and progression of your hives. Created by Master Beekeeper Marta Soltyszewska, this simple, reusable beehive inspection checklist gives you a tangible way to pay more attention to your bees throughout the seasons. Download a print-ready template for use along your backyard beekeeping journey, and discover how better tracking and observation can help keep your colonies healthier, happier, and well-honeyed...


How to use and re-use the Beehive Inspection Checklist

Use one checklist per colony. Print the Inspection Checklist in color, dual-sided; laminate or slip into a plastic sleeve, so the checklist can be re-used as needed. Mark your findings using dry erase markers, and take photos of the completed sheets for your long-term comparison records. Erase checklist prior to next colony check (keep Varroa section for entire season).


Download Print-ready Checklist here:
Beehive Inspection Checklist
.pdf
Download PDF • 4.38MB

On the front:

Fill out the blue and light yellow Colony Information sections at the top of the page, describing the colony's location & type, queen information, seasonal and weather conditions, inspection purpose, and currently-blooming plants.


Then, continue down the checklist, filling in each green section according to your observations.

  1. Activity & Behavior Check

  2. Colony Inspection

  3. Food Stores Check

  4. Bee Health / Disease / Pest Check

  5. Hive Condition Check

How to read and use the checklist design scheme:
  • The inspections naturally vary in purpose and details per season – use the section/details relevant to the inspection purpose

  • Items highlighted in red = items that can be problematic or impose risks to the colony. Each of these items should be well understood by beekeepers so appropriate actions can be taken if needed.

  • Bright yellow sections = Decision points checks help summarize the inspection findings and make informed decisions for next inspections. We would expect to know Y/N answers to all these key questions by the end of inspection.

Section heading example
Section heading example
Example of Beekeeping Checklist with sample data
Example of inspection checklist usage.

On the back:

  • Beehive Assessment Sheet - used to report the details of every frame assessment. This is typically used in the Spring and Fall to see size and location of brood nest, location, and amounts of stored food.

  • Visual illustration of Honey Bee Life Cycles per cast (queen, workers, drones) and division of labor.

Example of Beekeeping Checklist with sample data
Example of inspection checklist usage.

 

Marta Soltyszewska

About the Author: Marta Soltyszewska

Marta Soltyszewska, a Cornell-certified Master Beekeeper, has been a dedicated backyard beekeeper for the past 8 years. She maintains an average of 7 honey bee colonies, housed in a combination of Langstroth and hybrid AZ Slovenian/Langstroth hives. Her primary objective is to uphold the healthiest colonies achievable, focusing on natural resistance to varroa mites through non-synthetic Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices. She prefers locally adapted Russian, Saskatraz, and recently, Minnesota Hygienic queens, as her experience has shown them to be varroa-resistant, highly productive in honey-making, and gentle.


Her secondary aim is to disseminate beekeeping expertise and encourage new generations to take up this enriching hobby, thereby aiding pollinators at large. With a Master Beekeeping certification and an academic background in biology and teaching, including a Master of Science degree from Poland and experience teaching Anatomy and Anthropology at a Polish university, she aspires to mentor budding beekeepers.


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