First real inspection.

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Slowmodem, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Today is forecast to be 65F (18 C) with east wind around 5 mph (8 kph).

    This will be my first real solo "go into the hive" experience. I currently have a 10-frame 2-deep hive, with an empty medium box on top to cover the mountain camp sugar on the top frames. I plan on moving my hive around 4 to 6 feet to a slightly more sunny spot (it will still be in a mostly shaded spot from 5:00 pm to sunset). In the new location, I am going to add another level of cinder block for my back, and a landing board which will be under the SBB (just because I like the looks of it). I plan on doing a frame-by frame inspection. I plan on cleaning the SBB. I will probably take all the mountain camp sugar that's left out of the hive.

    My thoughts are to set up the new location and level it. Break apart and inspect the hive, then reassemble it at the new location, placing the SBB on the landing board, then the two deeps.

    1. Does this sound like a logical procedure?

    2. Is there value to counting the dead bees on the SBB? From what I've read, it's a good idea to keep a small garbage bag handy, as dead bees, and other misc. stuff should be removed from the area just to keep a clean yard. But since I'm carting them off, should I count them?

    3. I am considering swapping the top and bottom boxes if they're all/mostly in the top. Everything I read/listen to says that bees like to "build up" and not down.

    4. I bought another set of boxes (8-frame) and plan to split the hive this spring. I feel that it will still be cool (maybe cold) a few more times this spring, and the bees might struggle if split now. However, others talk about it being swarming time here already. Is it too early to do a split?

    5. If both deeps are full of brood, honey, etc, is it too early to put on a super?

    I know that all this hinges on location and what I find in the hive. But, I'm trying to think about things I might encounter this afternoon and plan a course of action, and (and I really hate to keep saying this) as I've read, it's good to keep the hive open for as short a time as possible.

    I appreciate those that take the time to read this lengthy post and any thoughts on the subject.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Be careful with the landing board. DO NOT create a space between it and the screen bottom board that is inaccessible to the bees, but the wax moth and SHB can raise young in the fallen debris.

    If you can give each half 2 frames of brood each, a frame of pollen and a frame of honey each, plus whatever more you can give, make your split. Then reduce the entrance down to approx. 1 in. until it is crowded on a warm day.
     

  3. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    That was the question I forgot to ask. I have the small entrance reducer (I guess it's 1") in place since I set it up last fall. There was a lot of congestion the past week or two. I was going to swap it to the larger opening (maybe 4"?). But, if I do a split, I'll leave it at the 1". That's a great tip. Thanks.
     
  4. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Good luck today, and let us know what you found and how you made out! :thumbsup::mrgreen:
     
  5. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    I will! I'll try to take pictures, too (all I have is a phone camera, but I'll do what I can).
     
  6. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    You've read some of my posts so you know I'm a rank newbee so I won't add any disclaimers to what I write. ...and I know very well what you mean with your "as I've read" comment! :wink: :smile:

    I'll be paying attention to your reports on this, Greg. Looks like you have a plan. Definitely prepare the final stand in advance. Are you going a whole 8" block higher? I went another 4" block on top of the original 8" blocks...seems to be about right for me.

    I also put a piece of roofing felt between the blocks. I figured this would do three things... It would make the blocks "stick" together and prevent them from sliding on each other (like two blocks are gonna slide with 100 pounds sitting on them!<grin>). Secondly, it creates a vapor barrier between the top and bottom block. And last...it'll make people ask me what the black paper's for. :wink:

    I'm not sure I follow you on "adding a landing board". ??? As Iddee stated, be careful of creating hiding places for pests.

    I wouldn't think there would be many dead bees on the ssb...from what I understand, the bees will haul most of them out. But, having said that, "I've read" where further up north beeks do have to clean dead bees out because the bees are basically clustering most of the winter where down here the bees often have days good for cleansing flights and some house cleaning.... If you do have a good many dead bees just spread them out and mentally mark off a 1/4 of them and count the bees in that area to give you a rough guesstimate of the total number. I'm not sure how that data will be useful to you, but if you don't count them you won't have another chance to get a count for that time period.

    Have fun!!!
    Best wishes,
    Ed
     
  7. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    :mrgreen: Some of my finest moments were while doing one of my first inspections, balancing a comb of bees with one hand, looking through the still-need-to-get-accustomed-to-veil, and taking pictures with my free hand. It's amazing the wood didn't crush from how tight I was holding those frames!!!!...I was exhausted when I closed that hive up!!! :lol:

    Ed
     
  8. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    I'm 6'1" and my back is not so good, so I'm going to try the two full block thing. I may end up lowering it some, but it's a start.

    I guess it's really called a hive stand. But it looks like a place for them to land on the front before going into the hive.

    669FrmHiveStand.jpg
    I will and thanks. My parents live on another house on the property, and my dad is wanting to learn about this, too. He still gets around ok, and I'm glad we can do things like this together. :)
     
  9. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    I understand the back thing...operation in '93(?) and the doc keeps asking me if I want to talk to a surgeon again (not that you can really tell that I do!!!). :|

    I gotcha on the hive stand now. It will make a place or two for something to hide in but not as bad as I envisioned. The bees will be able to get under there if they want to, too, just not directly from inside the hive.

    Your dad being interested in the bees and ya'll doing it together is GOLD...and something to treasure!!! Get somebody to take lots of pictures of ya'll working together. I think my daddy would've like it as well...miniature livestock!!! ;) :)

    Ed
     
  10. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Ok, it's hard to know where to start. Things went ok. I didn't really know what I was going to find, so it was a real adventure. I think overall it went well, but I didn't get as much done as I wanted to, as time was working against us toady. But there will always be another day.

    I started by preparing the next site for the hive. I tried to get it level, but it's probably got a little slant to it, and it will probably settle some. But it's close, I think.

    Got the equipment down to the hive and got the smoker going. Got suited up. Here's me (right) and Dad (left) ready for bees:

    [​IMG]

    I took the top off and looked in. Lots of sugar left and about half a pollen patty. This picture is of the top frames after I took the medium off that had been around the sugar. The sugar had been to the left of the picture where the newspaper remnants are:

    [​IMG]

    They had started building some comb up in the empty area.

    I took the sugar out. I was surprised the newspaper held it. I was afraid the newspaper would be mush and split and all the sugar would go down through the hive.

    I pulled out the two side frames (I guess you would call them either 1 and 2 or 9 and 10). The inside of the inside frame was mostly drawn, but there was 1 1/2 sides that they hadn't drawn out yet. Also, it was like that in the bottom box too, but I'll get to that in a minute. Here's a picture of the inside of frame two (the inner most frame I pulled out):

    [​IMG]

    The comb looks really white and well formed, but it is a little bit wide (going into the empty space where the opposite side of the next frame is not drawn out).

    Oh, there are two things to mention here. Up to this point, there were several times that we had to walk away. The bees were not happy at all. And, walking away seemed to calm them down.

    Then, the smoker ran out of fuel. Walk away again (a little quicker this time). I went up to the house to get some more fuel for the smoker, then I realized the fuel was in the tool box at the hive. :doh:

    Back to the tool box and fuel in the smoker. I also learned that a smoker will stay really hot for a while after the fuel is gone. ouch!

    Anyways, got the smoker going again, (I'll probably get another one. This lid is really hard to get on, especially when it is hot).

    Being short on time, I put those two frames back in and tried to get the top box off of the bottom box. Wow. That propolis is some strong stuff! It took both of us (me lifting and him hive-tooling) to get the boxes separated. And they had built some comb connecting the bottom box frames to the top box frames. We lifted and twisted and it finally came loose. Whew!

    More unhappy bees and we walked away again.

    When we got back to the hive, here is what I saw:

    [​IMG]

    Since it had been so hard to get the two boxes apart and it was getting late, I didn't get to pull any frames out of the bottom box. I wanted to get it off the SBB and get that cleaned off and get everything moved. I was curious about those worm looking things on top of the frames, though. Are those wax moth larve? I didn't think they looked like bee things. The bees were just walking all around them though and not paying them any attention.

    The bottom box frames were full in the middle. The outer two on each side were barely drawn out. But it looked like they were strong and vigorous in the middle 6 frames on both levels, and it looked like they were starting to draw out comb on the next frames out.

    We got everything moved and the boxes restacked and the top on. A lot of the bees were still at the old "residence" but hopefully once all the smoke clears and they can smell the house, maybe they'll get back. I moved the hive maybe 10 feet (or maybe a little more).

    Oh, the good news is that I didn't see one hive beetle. I'm sure it's just a matter of time before they find me. But, I was very happy about that.

    I know that's a lot of pratter, but I think it was a good day. Hive moved, no hive beetles, and no stings. I didn't get a picture of the hive after it was moved as the battery was dead in the phone. I'll do that tomorrow.

    I appreciate any feedback on any of this. As I say, it was my first time solo going into the hive and I think it went ok. Hopefully next week I can go in and worry more about pulling frames instead of moving the hive.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  11. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Hi Greg:

    First, great that you and your dad got to do this together. I wish I might have had that opportunity.
    It was probably the burr/bridge comb that made getting the two boxes apart so difficult, but it's nothing that unusual. The propolizing on the edges doesn't seem overly bad.
    Those white "worms" are actually pupae (developing bees) that were in that comb the bees built between your boxes. Perfectly normal. You will find in the future when you remove your top box and expose pupae like this, it is a great opportunity to look for varroa as they stand out like a sore thumb on the white pupae.
    The picture of the one frame shows that they have built bridge comb between two of your frames (at right angles to what you want). I would also check the comb on that frame as it appears as if there is space between the comb and your foundation. You may have to scrape off this portion of the comb to clean things up and let them redraw it.
    For a first time in.........Well done, and thanks for the pictures!
    :thumbsup:

    Hey, I just noticed! Nice guy, you're wearing gloves but poor old dad is on his own? :lol:
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  12. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    Ditto what PerryBee sez.

    Did you reverse the 2 brood boxes?
     
  13. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    I thought about it, but it seemed like there were more bees in the bottom box than the top, so I left it as is for now.

    I do see about the "building up" though. Like I said, the middle six frames in both boxes were full of bees and comb. The outer two frames on both levels are practically untouched. But, I'm sure that they will fill them up in time.
     
  14. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Thanks for that head's up. I will study that frame further. I didn't notice until I looked at the picture that some of the cells in that picture were capped.

    I really wish that I could have gotten into some of the bottom box frames. I also really wish that I had the time to try to find the queen. But, that'll be next time.


    Dad had a pair of gloves, but he had just tied his pants legs with string, and hadn't put them on yet. Since he was only wearing tyvek overalls, I kept him at an arms distance from the bees as much as I could. I really want to get two of those good bee suits everyone is talking about. But that can wait until summer.
     
  15. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    One thing you can do Greg once you get a little more comfortable and the hive gets a little stronger, is move those frames that are undrawn in a position or two, moving any that have honey or pollen (but not brood) outward towards the sides. This should get the bees working 'em.
     
  16. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    Probably drone brood was between the top bar and bottom bars of the brood chambers, that is the normal pattern bees follow, lol after your working hard to have them draw out worker comb, both for storage and brood suggest you invest in a drone frame to draw out mites drone brood is the brood of mite choice and besides that you can keep your stock relatively intact genetically if your drone force is strong.
    Barry
     
  17. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I hear what you are saying, but it seems to me that there is a whole lot of room between frames, for them to build out that far. I want to ask- are you putting 9 frames in a 10 frame box? Or, are you using a 'frame spacer' to even out the spaces between all the frames? Either of these things could produce too much space between the frames and cause them to build an extra 'floating layer' of comb between two frames like in this photo.
     
  18. Zookeep

    Zookeep Active Member

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    only thing I would like to add about the split is drones, are there any yet around? unless you plan on buying a new queen for the 2nd box, my 1 cent worth,not good enough yet for 2 cents:cool:
     
  19. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    When I started last fall, I started with the lower 10-frame deep. The guy gave me five frames of bees, eggs, and stuff. The other five was undrawn plastic frames. When the bees started multiplying, I put the second deep on there and moved two of the five frames into the top deep to encourage the bees to come up to that level, too. So there were a lot of undrawn plastic frames in the two deeps and there was a lot of space between the undrawn frames. So when the bees started drawing out a frame, there was twice as much room between frames as there should have been. I currently have 20 frames in two 10-frame deeps. The outer two on each level are still not drawn out. There, I think I said that right.
     
  20. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    I'm hoping to get the local state-authorized inspector over here in the next week or two to take a look. After today, I think I'll wait for that until I think anymore about the split.