3rd Inspection - Week 4

So a little background to start off with. I started with a 5 frame nuc 4 weeks ago. Added 3 foundation-less frames, and fed them pollen and sugar syrup for 1 week (the first 3 days after moving into new home was a high of 45, no bees were going in or out, that’s Colorado for you :slight_smile: ). They quickly built comb on the 3 new frames. 2nd week (2nd inspection) showed frames fully drawn, so i added the 2nd brood box underneath. Fast forward to today, 2 weeks after adding the 2nd box, and they are drawing out nice straight comb on the frames in the 2nd box.

Here are my observations, LOTS of honey on the outside frames. Lots of brood, some larva on the middle frames, surrounded by honey, and some pollen. On both outside frames had some drone cells, but not many. Wasn’t able to find queen, but its hot outside and even hotter in the bee suit, so i wasn’t taking my time to look. What i did notice is that they seem to be bringing in a lot of nectar, and filling in the new comb and brood areas with it, leaving little room for the queen to lay eggs. The 2nd broad box is only 40% drawn and also looks a lot like just nectar being stored.

The question, should i add my honey super, or still wait until the 2nd broad box is around 80% drawn? The queen is still laying from what i could see, it just seems she has to find the newly hatched areas fast as they will get filled up with nectar quickly if she doesn’t. Its a great brood pattern as well, very packed in with capped brood.

I don’t have pictures, no one is brave enough to help with the picture taking. I should get or build a frame holder so i can take them myself.

Also any tips on how to properly inspect 2 brood boxes is greatly appreciated. I think i did okay, but i killed a few of the girls, and it could be better i’m sure.


Tim, Death is inevitable with bees, but if you use patience when closing up you might be able to save more of them. When I do a complete inspection of both top and bottom brood boxes, I usually have an empty depp box handy with a cover placed upside down and set the empty box in it. I will remove about half the frames and place them in the empty box thereby making the top box lighter and easier to remove. I usually find it well stuck together with propolis and might have to use two tools to get it apart from the bottom box. Once it is loose I just set it on top of the empty box I brought along and then I can inspect bottom box.

You can also purchase frame rack that set on outside of a box and you can place frames in these. I have two sets. One will hold 4-5 frames and the other set will hold 10. Are you going to add a queen excluder? If you do it will at least keep the queen from going up into super and you can add it. 75-80% is the general rule, but I have to go out of town for about a month and will be adding a second box even though my boxes are about 60-75% percent full now.

I will be in Colorado next week and might be there for a month. What part of the state are you in?

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@tony, thanks for your reply. My inspection this morning was similar to what you described, but yours sounds a little better. I ended up with bees everywhere it seems. In the end and after looking around, not too many were killed, I was slow and carefully slid the boxes back. Lots of bees (maybe 50) where stuck outside after sliding the boxes back together, but they quickly made their way back inside. You aren’t kidding either about both boxes being glued together. I had to pry it apart, i find it amazing how strong propolis is. I have the queen excluder “in place” already, but it only has the crown board on top, so it isn’t excluding anything right now :slight_smile:

I live in lakewood, which is just west of the Denver area.


I would wait, definitely until it is mostly drawn and 80% full. Others may differ, but my concern is that if you add it now, they probably will not use it, plus you are giving them more space to defend than they have bee numbers for policing it against pests and robbers.