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First time beekeeper, big fail!

So, I got my nucs last night and decided to be brave and put them in their hives now instead of wait for my husband for moral support. Well big fail there! I am brand new to this! I was so shaky, and accidentally dropped a frame an inch into the box, and it jostled the bees a bit. I didn’t look for the queen because I was too scared. Maybe I killed her :sob: And I was so shaky putting the last of the 4 frames in. They were all overgrown with comb that I couldn’t shut the lid down all the way. And my smoker wouldn’t light. So afterwards I just walked fastly away and I have no idea the damage that I have done. And there is still another nuc for me to figure out later today. There is about a half an inch of gap between the box and top lid. Also I left the dang 5 gallon bucket of sugar water out there. I did manage to put the sugar water in the bees in hive feeder. Wow I am a mess!

Whats the famous saying? Admitting you have a problem is the first step? :slight_smile:

Okay, you have to muster up the courage to get back in there. This time light your smoker first and get it going well for 10 minutes before even going to the hive. Then smoke them just a little bit-- you have to get in there and scrape off the comb outside of every frame so they fit properly. The bees need you to do this so they are in a safe box, don’t wait. If you haven’t fed the other Nuc yet you have to make sure they have enough food-- go slower this time, its not a race. You can do it. If your partner is going to be home soon its fine to wait for help, but every beekeeper does something they regret in the process so this was just your first learning opportunity hands-on. Don’t give up, the bees are pretty resilient. Take pictures of before you work them so you have that for memories, you will look back later and laugh about it.


Thank you Tim! I did go back out there about an hour later to scrape the comb and put the other nuc in their hive. And again I was shaking so hard I dropped yet another frame. Seriously what the heck is wrong with me? When do you think I should check to see if they still have queens after my circus act?

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At least a week, but no more than 2 weeks. Plan it carefully with somebody there to help you. Be calm. Think pretty thoughts. Practice lighting your smoker before you do it. Several times. Practice extinguishing it too. Make sure you have reading glasses on (if you need them), Pick a warm, sunny day with very little wind. Line everything up in your favor, and you will be fine.


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Dawn has given you great guidance.

I would like you to explore why you are shaking during the process-- the bees will do better (obviously) with you moving slower and breathing through each time you work with them, and you will actually enjoy the experience more! It is a bit like meditation-- you just have to go slow and not overthink things, and as long as you have your bee suit on then you are pretty safe. I had two bees get into my veil this afternoon and I’m still not sure how they managed to do that! But I remained calm-- and my lesson from others is that I close my eyes so the glossiness of them doesn’t encourage the ladies to nail me in the eye! I had walked far enough away from my hives to peel off my jacket and gently encourage the ladies out of my veil. I did a thorough once over of my jacket and then put it back on being extra careful to make sure the zippers were all done right. My point is, being calm is super important to not having a terrible end result or painful one! Dropping a frame isn’t great, but hopefully you will grip them more firmly next time. It takes some practice to get used to the sensation of something vibrating near your fingers (hopefully you are wearing gloves!) but you will sort it out in no time. Keep at it, you had an eventful day! Pictures my friend, pictures!

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My advise is to slow down. Your not making basic mistakes your making stupid mistakes. Sorry if that comes across as impolite but you need help and advise.

Your rewening the whole enjoyment of starting to look after bees.

Why not just open the nuc entrance fir a while let the bees come and go. Sit close and get used to the bees around you.

You sound terrified and checking on the hive, frames etc… will be a regular event and is fun if you Slow Down.

Once your comfortable with the bees around you then open up the nuc and again just relax and watch the bees.

Make sure all your equipment is working. Your smoker should be lit before you open up the nuc so no excuse there.

Then slowly take out a frame most of the bees will be busy working or drones so relax about getting stung. YOUR GONNA GET STUNG AT SOME POINT KEEPING BEES.

Place the frame into the flow brood then take a minute to settle use some smoke on your hands/gloves and on the frames before lifting.

Once you have all the frames in the flow hive.

Take the nuc over the brood box of the flow hive and with 2 or 3 downward shakes empty the rest of the bees out and leave the nuc open next to the Flow hive for the rest of the day/night.

Give yourself a few minutes then bottom board, roof on then grab a coffee.

Adding syrup can be done the following day and you won’t have all the bees around to scare you with the bottom board on😊. Roof off, centre cap of, feeder on roof back on. Your not going to get 5 gallons of syrup under a flow hive roof that’s for sure. Rapid feeders don’t fit either unless you have a shim or use a second empty brood box like I do.

I still get the joyus rush and beating heart collecting bees, driving over 1hr with them in my car wondering if they will get out :rofl: and introducing them to thier new homes.

You don’t sound like you’ve been around a colony before so probably why your scared. Just take your time, talk to them, might sound silly but it’ll relax you or talk out loud to yourself as your doing each stage to reassure yourself what your doing.

If your not relaxed around them they will become agitated and you’ll hate it and end up with an expensive wooden box.

YOU have to get used to being around a fair number of bees, you can’t keep running away they need you to look after them.

Breath, relax and tell yourself out loud to ‘slow down’, Take your time, work smooth and it will all go much better for you and the bees. Sounds like your a nervous and tense person, ask hubby for a hand. Don’t try to do too much in one go.

Thank you! I for sure need to practice lighting the smoker!

Oh I would lose my ever living mind if they ended up in my veil haha. I am hoping that this “exposure therapy” will help me not be so scared one day, because I am still very nervous. I am scared that I am going to get stung or that they will all swarm me and eat me alive haha. I tried to grip them firm but there were little bees on there that I did not want to squish!

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I can take it! I agree that I am making stupid mistakes. I did not think that I would be this scared. I don’t know! And you are right, this is my first time with bees and I have NO experience at all. I took a bee class and went to visit my neighbors hive, but that is the extent of my experience unless you count being stung a million times as a child and falling into a giant black hornet pit about 10 years ago and having 30 stings on my back and head.

I am a very nervous person for sure! Thank you Peter!

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I wanted to give another update. I ended up going back out an hour after my initial post and was able to get the other Nuc in. I also filled both sugar waters so that’s good. I was a very sweaty mess afterwards, but it was done. I managed to put my suit on for a third time tonight to scrape down a little more comb from the top of the frames, so they sit tight on top. And I also added a pollen patty in each hive box. I am going to leave them bee for a week and then check to see if I killed the queens. Is that ok? I wasn’t as scared my 3rd time out there, so I have to hope that it will get better each time. And I think I have the hang of my smoker, or atleast my husband has the hang of it.

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I have been taking pictures! This is all of the wax that I scraped from the top of the frames so the lid would close flat.

You’ve jumped in at the deep end so no turning back now and we’ll done on getting back out there. That looks like a job well done now.

Are your queen’s marked by the supplier of the nucs?

Spend time just sitting around the hive you sound alot more confident than a couple of posts ago.

You’ll be smashing it in no time Linzi :ok_hand:

Take your time and keep scraping any bur comb off the frames as you find it. It is daunting as a beginner to lift the roof off a hive and see so many bees, even if you expect it it will still knock your socks off. A few puffs of smoke will help to settle the bees down. Leave the hive for a week and when you look next week look for larvae and that will tell you if the queen is still alive and doing her job. In the brood box take the outer frame out first as it isn’t likely the queen will be on it. Break the next frame free levering it side ways then lift it out of the box in the middle of the gap, never lift a frame hard up against another frame as if the queen in in there she could be killed.
Relax, slow down, be gentle and you will make it a better experience for you and the bees.

Thank you! They are not marked but I had a beekeeper offer to come help me look for them next time I open the hives. I will for sure go spend some time out there. I want to keep opening the hives at this point, and explore. But I wont, I know they need to settle down. And I am still too shaky so opening it up will do no good!

Thank you Peter! Yes it was daunting to see so many bees haha, and to hear them! Thank you, I will take your adivce on the order to remove frames next time I check!

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