I'm looking for any advice on how to squash fewer bees when doing hive inspection. Especially when moving deeps and covers. I've tried brushing the bees off the top of the box when putting the covers back on, but I still manage to get a few of them.
To Iddee's advice, I would add:
1. With your hive tool, give a twist (near both ends of the frame) to enlarge the space between the comb you're lifting and the adjacent comb(s).
2. I usually lift my first comb with a frame-lifter tool. It fits into the space better than my fingers, gets a good hold on the frame and reduces the liklihood of its slipping.
3. Work slowly and smoothly.
Of course, there's nothing like experience.
Slow and careful is the the word. Despite all you do, accept the fact that there may be few who get killed. You'd be there all day just trying to get one hive just right and safely reconstructed if you worry over every single bee....In a hive of 30K, two or three is barely on the scale of importance, because you need to get in and out as soon as is practicle.
a mjrice snip:
Especially when moving deeps and covers.
to this I will add:
If I have bees on a cover I simply tap (bump) the cover on the ground directly in front of the hive and allow the bees to climb or fly back into the hive. <it is good habit to look prior and after the fact to make certain the queen is not on the cover or on the ground.
as a new bee keeper you should learn to 'herd' the bees with the smoker as I think Iddee has somewhat suggested above.
over the long haul removing burr comb between the boxes (top bars and bottom bars) is one 'habit' that will minimize the crushing of bees.
self admitted sinner----> any 'potential' new bee keeper who has ever seen me manipulate bees has never accused me of being a gentle bee keeper.
Yep, that's when you light the smoker back up and herd them down into the box. The extra 2 or 3 minutes to light the smoker will save many bees. That's why I use a self lighting propane torch to light my smoker. It works quick.
thanks for the picture. that is how bees should look at a certain point in the season. if the top box is drawn I would think about adding another box. a new bee keeper might not get a lot of honey out of their first year's endeavor but they should try to get as much comb made or drawn as is physically possible.
getting a smoker lit and keeping it lit generally requires practice. light it every time you make an inspection and work at keeping it lit thru the entire inspection.
Bee brushes used to be a common tool that one would get in a Beginners Kit from the Supply Companies. If you had one of those, you could have brushed the bees off of the top edges of the box before putting on the inner cover. They would have found their way home.
Maintaining a lit smoker is one of those beekeeping skills that one should develope. Work on it. You will be glad you did.
Experience! I don't have a lot of time under my belt like a lot of you guys, but I have noticed for myself that working slowly and being more confident has done wonders for our bee populations. I used to feel like a serial killer every time we worked the hives!