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First Inspection Today

We had a successful first inspection today. Some things we noticed:

Hive was quite agitated. Perhaps too much smoke and/or not waiting a minute before I opened the top.

Bees are building on one side of the brood box and not from the center out. I think this is because we rescued a feral colony and didn’t put the full frames (rubber banded in) in the center. So I moved the full frames to the center and left the empty ones on the outside. Made sure the frames were smushed together.

I removed some empty comb that didn’t have any brood for honey but was just hanging in the box.

Saw the queen on the top of the inner cover.

Saw lots of capped brood and some larvae.

In four weeks, there are about four full frames and the rest empty.

My only concerns at this point are: aggressive bees, and slow building of comb. And I hope the queen made it back in after inspection. I leaned the cover against the hive as I recall learning this in training.

I wish I could have taken a picture but i had enough on my hands managing the frame check and staying slow and calm.

Thoughts or feedback? Thank you!

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Make sure the smoke is nice and cool, not more than barely warm when you smoke your hands. It does help to give a couple minutes after smoking the entrance and under the top before going in.

Sounds good.

She was on top of the inner cover, under the roof? Sort of an unusual place to find her but that’s why we check the inner cover before putting it down on the ground! I try not to ever take the queen out of the hive (if I can help it). If I had found her on the inner cover I would put her back in the hive and leave the frame that she is on inside the brood box. You can gently pick her up and place her in the box or sometime she will run back inside in order to escape the light. Anyway, leaning the cover against the hive by the entrance is a good thing to do.

You could feed them sugar syrup to see if it accelerated their comb building.

You’ll want to check again in a week or two and make sure you see young larvae and eggs.

Sounds like you had a successful inspection. If you find the bees are still aggressive when you’re not inspecting or on subsequent inspections you might consider requeening.

As this is a feral colony, in San Diego county, I can tell you from the knowledge of the San Diego Beekeeping Society, 70% of feral colonies are Africanized. The smoke may be an issue, if you didn’t wait for a minute or two. Personally, I wouldn’t tolerate this aggression if there was any doubt. Once they are strong, they will be following you for over 100 yards in great numbers and at high speed!

I would requeen ASAP, and as it happens, Mann Lake is currently selling queens supplied by Olivarez - very high quality. Here are the ones that I like:

Relating to the slow comb building. We have had a nectar dearth in San Diego county for the last 2 months. You need to feed your colony. I use 5:3 sugar to water syrup. They will need a lot at this time of year, in order to make it through the winter. They are probably finding enough pollen, just not enough nectar. They can’t make comb if they don’t have food. :wink:

Hope that helps a bit more on top of @chau06’s great suggestions



Apart from the great advice from @chau06 & @Dawn_SD, my concern is when you say “Made sure the frames were smushed together”. It depends on whether hive beetles are in the area or not. I’m always careful not to bring rubber banded frames too close together on account of hive beetle issues. If bees are trapped between the combs, it can give somewhere for beetles to lay eggs in.