Hey all! I just did my first frame by frame inspection yesterday & thought my findings would be interesting in this thread.
I put my package in on 4/8, on foundationless frames. A week later I thought it necessary to check for brood, perhaps spot the queen.
@Dawn_SD you might recall this first inspection as a disaster - Filled with self-recrimination I posted shortly afterward that my barest initial movement of the center frame with the biggest section of comb caused it to crash to the floor of the hive. Lesson learned: new comb on empty frames is even more fragile than I realized.
From then on I limited my influence on the hive to replacing syrup, watching & listening to bees, & one veerrrry careful cross comb repair. My observations were that the colony appeared calm & purposeful, with what seemed like a burst of & then slowed comb production (ongoing cold wet weather not helpful I’m sure).
Finally yesterday, a day above 60F & lighter wind. I went in, expecting to see more comb & good brood pattern in various stages. There was more comb, thankfully mostly obeying frame lines, but I was starting to get quite concerned with all the capped nectar, pollen & empty cells I was seeing. I noticed some small, brownish papery pieces of comb on the floor, and just then when I lifted out the biggest section - I spotted a nice, even, large area of comb with single, brand new eggs! at the base of each cell
I did a few double takes from the eggs to the papery brown shape, & recognized that I must have a new queen. I carefully scooped up the brown bits for a closer look & sure enough, a hatched emergency queen cell!
Looking at the calendar, it’s pretty clear that I killed my original package queen in mid-April. Thankfully, she had begun laying & the workers did their job of creating a new queen. The time involved for the sequence of events needed to arrive at 1 or 2 day old eggs yesterday works out perfectly, back to the day the comb crashed and accounts for the 3-week gap in production even as my bees were appearing so businesslike.
So, I’m still sad I killed my first queen with a clumsy move…but glad I took experienced beeks’ advice & paid attention with minimal intervention. My colony is doing what they want & doing it well.