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Hive strength evaluation for newbies

Greetings from West Borneo, right at 0° latitude. :slight_smile:

I’m new to actual bee keeping. Just got my hives for the very first time last Monday. (4 days ago)

Today is the second time looking into the hives. Not as nerve-wracking as the first day. I’m trying to evaluate the hive strength. But I really need help… there’s no local bee keeping community here that I could find.

I have 3 hives but only looking into 1 today.
This is how the frames inside look like at about 2pm.
I have confirmed there was the queen 3 days ago. I also added 1 empty frame on that first inspection session.

What I’ve seen so far is that it’s very crowded but quiet and calm in there, and there’s really not many capped cells… And I’m not to sure if there’s egg laid (are they really really tiny?)

Thanks and Swarm regards,


Nice one :smirk:

Sooooo your’re on the beequator then…
Yeah I know… And welcome to the forum.

Looks like your frames have a good covering of bees, looks like a good healthy colony. Without shaking the bees off the frames you can’t see the brood however judging by the coating of bees it seems all is well. :+1: Would look better with the other 3 frames in the hive though. I’m assuming you got 5 frame nucs to start which is also good and with all those bees and a good nectar source they will build them out in no time.
Get those other frames in, on the outside of the existing ones and have another look in a couple of weeks.



Haha. Like that

We don’t have winter here. Just hot and hotter seasons.

Yes, more frames will be added soon. So if I have to add them on the outside of the existing frames, is it ok to move everything sideways?

Looking good and congratulations. First thing these look like 8 frame brood boxes, get all eight frames in their. He made the comment you added an empty frame, is a reason I’m saying that make sure you have all frames i.e. eight frames in each brood box. Otherwise, the bees will start building cross comb and it will be difficult to clean out. From what I can see right now they look very very healthy, you’ve got some strong hives.

Marty here, more than happy to have any kind of conversation you would like. This makes my start of my fourth year and I think I have learned a lot and still can talk, new beekeeper language :slight_smile:

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Sorry did not see the other post before posting mine.

Yes at the other frames immediately, just add them to the sides. Everything would be okay if you do not add them right away they will start building as I said earlier cross comb, and it will be impossible or messy to clean up later. Do not hesitate get those other frames in right away. There should be a total of eight in each box. Don’t try to shove the ninth one in, these are only eight frame boxes.

Make sure all the frames or as tight as possible to each other. This will allow a small gap against the outer box that is okay just keep it centered, but make sure all the frames or really really tight against each other.

Right now it looks like you have a small gap between your frames, they really need to be tight or it’s going to get messy

Thanks @Martydallas :slight_smile:

I honestly don’t know how many frames the box will host. Beekeeping “standards” are quite different here too. It’s really not like what I’ve read for the past one year of preparing for it.
So if let’s say it can fit 10 frames. Should I only put 9?

And about evaluating the strength of it, what do you see? Is there anything that can be quantified?

Looking at your photos, your correct it looks like you might be using an 10 frame box. N0, if it is made for 10 frames you should put 10 in, you likely can squeeze 11 in but that’s what the space on the side is for. Only put 10. If you do not put all the frames in and put them touching each other. The bees will truly make a mess

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Do take a picture and posted of the entire box. If in question it is good, questioning what you’re doing is learning and willing to learn, I’m here just take a photo and posted and will go back and forth until we get everything set up well for you

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something to keep in mind and for you to start looking and learning. I just posted a few videos on how to do a good test. you should not be needing to do this for a few months but something to start thanking about an learning

looked at where you are and looks like you should test from time to time

Thanks again @Martydallas

“So, Varroa have required beekeepers to put insecticides into insect colonies, the results of which are only just beginning to be understood. The effects of chemical Varroa treatments on honey bees include reduced longevity of queen bees, reduced sperm loads in and longevity of drones, brood death, and reduced queen laying patterns. Many more effects are believed to exist.”
We’ve done the same to humans… Shame… :persevere:
Since 2017, all the funerals I’ve attended are of cancer cases. It really feels as if there’s no other causes of death. Our local farmers can only mention brand names when we ask them about what they do with their pest control strategy.

But that’s not the topic for this thread.

Yes, Varroa is a thing here. It seems like Apis Cerana knows how to handle them well naturally. I wonder if their grooming skill could be taught to the Mellifera :slight_smile:

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I’m not suggesting chemicals. I’m presently using a essential oil mixture. And using a number of passive my to control such as a screen bottom board, somewhat mite resistant bees such as Russian bees, keeping a strong colony.

I don’t plan on using any chemicals at all, correct. I would not want to eat honey or do anything like this to my bees. The link was strictly for you to understand testing. Normally your first year you don’t have anything to worry about because your colony is that strong and that building up

My essential oil mixture is taking 16 fluid ounces of canola oil, 1 fluid ounce of tea tree oil 1 fluid ounce of Thyme oil.

Then taking it putting it in a jar and then taking what is known here in the US as bar or drink coasters flimsy paper but a little thick, soaking in the essential oil overnight at a minimum. Then taking the coasters and putting them on top of the brood frames. The bees tear the coasters apart and take it out of the hive. This mixture the mites don’t like. It made for a very strong colony for me last year with no mites.

Not saying it’s the mixture for everyone, but it’s working for me.

I learned this from an old-time beekeeper

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But your thread is all about number of frames. I’m virtually positive. Looking at your photos, now it’s a 10 frame box I would get all 10 frames, as soon as you can in the box

Wow. I like this!
Now I have to find out that this bar coaster is. Haha :slight_smile:

Thanks Marty

I’ll send you a link. I believe y’all are just now experiencing that mite issue. We here in the US have been experiencing it for 40 years or so. So we’ve got a little bit more experience on trying to manage them.

Too many people here are still using chemicals and I refuse to.

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This is what I use. The paper breaks up real easily. If it’s too compressed. The bees can’t tear it apart and it doesn’t do its job.

this maybe the one, look like it maybe not as heavyweight paper. I got a lot of them when I did so it has been a few years since I needed to order.

for the most part almost any Bar will give you a lot of them if you tell them what your needing it for. it is a great conversation starter as well

Just be aware on a strong hive. You may put two coasters on top in the middle over the brood frames.

There are other recipes I use for different aspects as well, that I have learned from this old-time beekeeper and his classes.

Anything placed around the perimeter of the hive. The bees look at it as, I don’t like it. I’ll get around to removing it when I want.

Anything placed directly over the brood box, they don’t like it, and they wanted you removed immediately. That’s where we need to place these disk, they need to be placed in the middle over the brood box on a strong hive.

So I’m constantly testing and paying attention to how many mites I see and whether or not I put one or two disc in at a time.

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I run a few 10 frame boxes: but I only put 9 frames in them. The trick to run 9 frames is to have even gaps between all frames with slightly larger gaps on the two outermost edges. Running ten frames can be very tight- and make inspections more difficult. The brood must be set up very well at the start to allow 10 frames to fit.

having said that- I am not totally sure that Anton’s hive is standard langstroth?

@Anton can you ask you ask the person who supplied you the hives honey many brood frames they usually use in your boxes?

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Yes. I’ve just asked. They put 10 frames. But it’s not standard Langstroth. I bought some standard frames and they are sitting almost on the floor. Is it gonna be a problem?

Not sure- how big is the gap at the bottom? If it’s too small you may squish bees when you replace the frames.