Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

Inspecting Lower Brood Boxes



So I put a 2nd, empty brood box on top of the first.
It occurred to me just now (don’t judge me ) when I need to inspect the bottom brood box when the top is full, what do you folks do with the upper brood box during that inspection to minimize the possibility of losing the queen if she’s in the top one?

Thank you.


If you have one of the flat top covers what I do is flip it over (flat side on the ground) and then place the top box diagonally across that while I do my inspection of the bottom box. If the queen is in the upper box and drops out, she just drops into the cover and I carefully return her to the box.


Good question. I lost mine (or squished her) when I was making a split and w/o a flat hive cover to set the upper box on one has to improvise a safe solution.


Thanks @Chipper and @Bobby_Thanepohn.
So I only have the gabled Flow out covers.

You’re responses let me know I have to improvise the equivalent of the upended flat cover. I think I may use transparent plastic bins I’ve seen at larger retail stores.


@Jstrano If a brood box can fit in one, I say go for it.


I did another beekeeping course yesterday with my local beekeepers association.

The instructor said when he does an inspection he lays a sheet/tarp on the ground and has a spare hive box which he puts the other boxes on top of.

The benefits of this system include less bending, you’re not putting your box of bees on the ground and if the queen does happen to fall out, you can easily find her.

He stated that on a couple of occasions when putting the hive back together he found the queen wandering around on his ground tarp and was able to pick her up and put her back in the hive.


Just use an inner cover sitting on the ground (good to have spares anyways). Though I do like @Mattress’s suggestion - but wind will be a factor with a tarp.


A spare roof works best with the box positioned diagonally and something to cover the box to keep it dark. Tilt the box forward before lifting off to check for queen cells on bottom bars. Always inspect bottom box first.


I have a nice weatherproof stool I keep in my main bee yard all the time. I sit boxes of bees on that. I only use one brood box so I don’t have the problem of the queen being in the boxes I sit on the stool. Only supers with honey while I do brood inspections.

At my other yards I use an empty super to (as @Mattress says, “less bending”) save my back.


The first step in an inspection is to set down a bottom board, and if you don’t want to bend over to lift heavy boxes (and no one should) a couple of empty boxes. You could even do it the other way around and put the empty boxes down first and then a bottom board. Now you can lift boxes off and set them on this until you get to where you want to inspect. The queen is unlikely to run off or get hurt, but of course, any bee you squish COULD be the queen, so you always try not to squish any bees…