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Brood inspection

Hi There,

This is my first flow hive and I am new to beekeeping. I added my Nuc last Friday and I am planning on doing my first inspection this weekend I didn’t spot the queen but there was a lot of larva, is there anything I should be Specifically specifically looking for.

Thank you
Michael

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Welcome to the forum Michael, there is a lot of reading here and lots of nice folks to give you advise and tips as your learning and trying to figure out what your seeing.
As with lots in bee keeping advise and opinions can differ and it doesn’t mean one is right and another is wrong. Bees are adaptable insects and fairly forgiving of our mistakes.
My advice is to leave the nuc for two weeks undisturbed. Give them time to settle down and learn their new location. Give the colony time to get down to caring for brood.
After two weeks they will be calmer and might be ready to be moved into a full sized brood box hive.
A common mistake by beginners is to put a super on far to early and that can actually cause issues. Only add a super when 80% of the cells on all the frames has either brood, nectar, pollen or capped honey and the frames are really covered with bees. They need high density living.
Some folks will advise feeding a nuc a 1:2 sugar water syrup, When I do a split I give then syrup for a few weeks to stimulate wax production so that they can build out the new frames easier and faster.
Cheers

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Hi Peter,

Thanks for taking the time out to send the information, I greatly appreciate it. I did put the Nuc in my 10 frame brood box with the cover last week Friday.

I have 5 frames with bees honey, nectar and some capped brood along with uncapped larva. When I pick the bees up they suggested that I feed them a one to one sugar water mixture which I have been doing so since I put the bees into the brood box.

I did learn from watching the flow hive videos not to put the flow super on until like you had said that the empty frames are full. I have been doing so much reading, watching videos, I also joined the beekeeping course that Flow Hive offers.

So I should what at least two week before I open the hive again? I guess I am anxious to look for the queen because when I transferred them over I didn’t see the her. I am assuming she is there because of the larva.

I want to see the bees bring in pollen back to the hive should I continue to feed them for at least two weeks?

As for the nectar, I am not sure what it looks like in the hive. If you look at the picture inside of the cells it looks like a shiny liquid is that the nectar?

Sorry for all the questions. Thank you again

Michael Smart,

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

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Hi Michael, Ok, I can work with 1:1 syrup, but here 1:1 is fed to build up stored syrup for Winter or a dearth (no nectar about) and 1:2 is to stimulate the colony into wax production and to boost the bees and the queen. I do walk-away splits and feed as a matter of course. I feed usually for a couple of weeks with a split.
Leave the hive for two weeks then do a full inspection looking for larvae which will confirm the hive is queen rite, if you see her then that is a bonus. I don’t go into a hive to see the queen, seeing larvae and/or eggs saves time and less disturbance to the colony.
A tip, when you are in the brood box take the outer most frame first after giving a few puffs of smoke on that frame, it will be a tight vertical and slow lift on that frame to give the bees time to move out of the way as the frames are bunched together. The next, and all the other frames move sideways towards the space then lift out.
Tip2 In the brood box after I remove the first frame I move all the other frames over and then take the first frame in on the other side, the reason is to isolate the queen on the frames. If you work in from one side the queen will move across the frames more often than not and if there is a frame against the box she could end up on the side of the box and then hard to see her.
Bees go out foraging for nectar OR pollen, not both in my opinion, watch the bees coming back to the hive at the entrance and you will see pollen on the hind legs of those foraging for pollen, those without pollen will be bringing in nectar.
Nectar in cells is the shiny liquid, the bees lower the water content then cap it as honey. The frame in your pic has cells with pollen and nectar and on the left in capped honey. Also some possibly eggs or light bouncing off the nectar. A fairly good covering of Italian bees also.
Don’t apologize for asking questions, if you don’t ask then I can’t help you.
Tip3 Lifting the roof for a quick look is going to set the bees back on average 4 hours to all settle down and get back to work - so don’t do it… A full inspection should be done every 3 weeks to check the brood, check for any disease and issues, the general health and strength of the colony and to be confident that all is good till the next inspection. That will take the bees 24 hours to get over it, but inspecting every 3 weeks is a must. If you find an issue like chalk brood then I work on that hive weekly.
I’m heading into Winter now, My Winter is wearing jeans instead of shorts at my apiary seldom a day under 70F.
Cheers

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Hi Peter,

Since I am in NYC, and my hive is at my house upstate, my wife said when she was feeding the bees she seen some little black beetles running around underneath the roof of the hive. What treatment if any I can use to control or get rid of the hive beetles? When I get home this weekend I can send a picture.

Because we have paper wasps, wasps, Carpenter bees, bumblebees and other honeybees that get pollen from our cherry blossoms and other flowers in general should I reduce the hive entrance.? It’s only been a week but I have not seen them trying to get into the hive.

As far as harvesting honey when the time comes I was thinking the last harvest I would do would be in the fall like September to give the bees enough time to get ready for winter.

When preparing for winter should remove the flow Super and the queen excluder then add a shallow brood box?

Winter by me gets cold and snows. Assuming I will be feeding them throughout the winter is it best to wrap the hive with some type of blanket and do I close the entrance to the hive?

Thank you again appreciate it!!

Michael Smart,

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Hi Peter,

I have a water source with a little of salt in the water for the bees but have not seen any bees drinking from it. Any suggestions?

I use “beetle blaster traps” that I put between the first and second frame in on each side in the brood box. 1/2 fill with cooking oil. There are other traps on the market but these are inexpensive and reusable and do a good job.
My hive have the entrances reduced to about 10cm’s(4 inches) all year, the hive is then easily defendable by the bees against attack. Better to reduce the entrance before an issue happens, close the gate and the horse will stay in the paddock!!!
September sounds a reasonable time to stop extracting but check with local bee keepers in your area, even your very local climate will dictate when to let the bees store for them selves, but better to let them do that too early than too late.
As for removing the super I wouldn’t while there is still honey in it, as the honey stores in the brood box gets used the bees will take honey from the super down into the brood frames. When it is empty then remove it.
As for adding a shallow brood box, again check with locals. When I was living West of Sydney a double brood box was the standard, up here in a sub-tropical climate a single brood box works well.
If you remove the super for winter then there is no reason to remove the QX as the cluster can’t go higher up in the hive for warmer air leaving the queen shivering.
My thought on adding a 1/2 brood box for Winter is then why not leave it on all year to increase the bee numbers in the hive. The only disadvantage is an inspection will take some extra time. Food for thought.
Winter — You may need to feed them if they didn’t get enough stores in during the season. Sounds like a similar climate to my brother, he leaves a super and a 1/2 of honey on the hive for the bees and that carries them over a 3 month spell of some snow and freezing winds. He uses polystyrene sheeting about 1/4 thick cut to size and uses duct tape to hold it to the outside of the hive. That stuff is a fantastic insulation. Easy to cut with a hand saw and won’t harm the bees.
Cheers

Hi Peter,

Thanks again for your advice it has been extremely helpful. Oddly enough when I spoke with the local commercial beekeeper where we would normally buy our Honey he offered some information when I was asking him questions but was kind of reluctant to give out info so I just stopped asking.

I haven’t found anyone in my Area that has a flow hive yet or even a hive. Maybe I’m just not looking in the right places.

I think I made a mistake when I added the 5 new frames. After I put the 5 frames from the Nuc I place them in the center of the brood box. Then I put the empty frames next to them on either side 2 on one side and 3 on the other.

Was I supposed to move the two outer frames that have honey on them and put the blank frames in between those or the way I had it was ok.

Is there a difference between a queen cell and a swarm cell. I heard them talking about it the other day on one of the videos I was checking out.

I am going to do my first inspection this weekend. I will send some pictures maybe someone will spot something that I am sure I will miss.

Thanks again!!
Michael Smart,

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Some commercial bee keepers are very secretive to the extreme and see a person with one or two hives as being in competition to them. In time that sort of attitude and narrow minded thinking will do him harm.
I’m the opposite, I have bee keepers in my area, some quiet close and some often ring me or visit my apiary for a chat and advice which is freely given. They range from a guy with 30 plus years and 40 hives to people who want to start out and not sure about how to go about it. The last thing I want in my area is a bee keeper who doesn’t know how to care for their hives and risking spreading something like AFB that can end up in my apiary. The more we can exchange advice, information and experience the better it is for everyone.
Maybe do a Google for a bee group near Montgomery or your local bee gear shop, even start up a new group with a few beginners is a fast way to learn more. Some bee groups are anti Flow Hives so best that you have a Langstroth hive till you know their attitude, after all, it is a Langstroth hive, sort of !!
Your setting up of the full brood hive is correct, Keep the brood cluster in the middle, then frames of stores then the new frames(hopefully fitted with foundation) to the outside. That way the cluster is together and the bees will build out the comb that will then become honey frames and the present frames of honey will be emptied to become brood frames for an expanding colony.
There are a couple of types of queen cells, a supersedure cell, a swarm cell, an emergency cell and what I call a ‘play queen cell’, They all are queen cells. A play cell is one made anywhere on the comb which is only half made then left, it is ignored even if the colony decides a new queen is needed so they will make more when that time comes. You will most likely see one or two play cells in most hives, I used to tare them down but find another is made to replace them. My thinking is it serves a purpose in the hive in keeping it calm, something like giving a baby a dummie (pacifier), the baby knows it won’t provide milk but it stop crying and sucks anyhow so calms down.
True queen cells are made when a queen begins to fail in her egg laying so it is a supersedure cell. A swarm cell is made when the queen is doing her job and the colony decides because of the climate and restricted available space that 1/2 of the colony can move out to find a new location to start again, the over crowded hive then has enough space to build up again and produce a new queen that the colony has already begun prior to swarming.
Cheers Mike

Hi Peter,

Well we did the first inspection. We did not see the queen, but there are a lot more bees almost covering all 5 frames completely. They have started drawing a little new comb on two of the 5 empty frames, the new comb was attached the the other frame. It was exciting seeing a couple of bees hatching and some new capped worker cells. I did see a couple of I think drone larvae but did see anything else. We won’t go back in for 3 weeks. Aside from pushing the comb back in line is there anything else I can do to keep them drawing a straight comb. Maybe we will get to see the queen. Did see any small hive beetles

I the tray picture what is the yellow liquid, when I tilted the tray it was running?


Michael Smart,

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

The best advice I can give you is you want the bees building straight comb then use wired frames and full sheets of foundation and you will also have less drones being produced. Even checker boarding with each second frame having foundation fitted will help reducing wonky comb.
As for the yellow liquid in the tray my thought would be spilled honey and nectar, what else could be in the tray that fits that description?
An excellent set of pics and all look healthy.
Cheers

Thanks Peter,

I think may order the Acorn one piece plastic frames they are available with standard, heavy or extra heavy wax, although I don’t know what the differences or if it makes a difference if I need standard wax or heavy.

Michael Smart,

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

I don’t know the Acorn plastic frames so I won’t offer an opinion. I get out and about to help beginner bee keepers with issues or perceived issues, and have seen some plastic comb in plastic and wooden frames that have warped but also seen frames that are perfect. Maybe those that warped were manufactured too light for the job, so I would consider the heavy duty as being on the safe side, maybe extra heavy duty as being extra safe but it makes me wonder if they manufacture a range of frames with differing foundation thicknesses if they maybe already know the standard frame might be a problem too often…
Here in Australia our bees wax is chemical free compared to in the US where a lot of bee keepers are against using bees wax for a range of reasons. So here I don’t know of any commercial bee keeper who doesn’t wire the frames and fit full sheets of foundation and in doing that here is the better choice both for the bees and the bee keeper. There are of course beginners and those with a single hive or two here that want to do their bee keeping their way and learn from their own experiences.
Cheers

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Hi Peter48,

So this is our Second inspection in three weeks later after our first inspection. We did not see the queen but, there is a lot of larva, new capped brood and two of the frames I almost filled with new comb. We see a lot of shiny fluffy new babies and also spotted some hatching.

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Dose this look like the queen?

I’d say it’s just one of many other newly emerged workers judging buy how hairy the thorax is. Also looks a bit too small to be a queen.

Only very young queens will be that fuzzy and they end up with a completely bald and polished thorax as they age.

I’d say I find my queens 8 out of 10 inspections but I don’t actually try to look for them specifically more for signs that they’re nearby. Of course some queens are more adept at hiding than others.

This is one of my queens from several years ago, a week or so after being released from her cage that came as part of a package.

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Those frames are covered with bees so there is a very fertile queen in the hive. Looking at the pic that you have circled it does look like a queen by the length of the thorax and the lack of distinctive black bands but the pic is too blurred to be positive.
Cheers

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Hi Stevo,

Thanks for the reply, I was hoping to see the queen but not really concerned that I didn’t because I did see the larva cap and uncapped. In the picture she looked a little fairy but wasn’t sure that I’d ask.

Thanks again.

Michael Smart,

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

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Hi Peter,

The hive looks really good, I have been watching the bees from the outside and it is amazing how they function as a cohesive hive. We were watching the new fairy little bees, which I think was their orientation flights, they were not going to far from the hive and flying in sort of a figure 8 pattern then landing back on the board.

The other day, there were a couple of bees on the landing board looked like they were kissing. Then a bumblebee was trying to get inside of the hive but he or she had no luck the honeybees made sure of that.

I was hoping to see the queen but not really concerned that I didn’t because I did see the cap and uncapped larva and a lot of it. I will find her soon or later.

Thanks again.

Michael Smart,

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

They are probably getting ready to finish being nurse/cleaner bees and start their job as foragers.

If you haven’t already I would recommend you get a copy of ‘The ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture’ by A.I.Root, it’s one of the oldest American bee books but is still full of great information although not all is still relevant. I have the 1959 edition and you reminded me of this bit I read last night:

‘When a week or ten days old they take their first flight outdoors. There is no prettier sight in the apiary than a host of young Italians taking a play flight in the open air in front of their hive. Their antics remind one of a lot of young lambs at play.’