Inspection #2. Still clueless but improving!

So inspected the hive today, a bit over 2 weeks since the first inspection. I see some recommendations for weekly checks but I prefer a less intrusive approach. In saying that, I do check the bottom tray every couple of days at least/. I don’t use oil, I did but it seems like a dirty method to me. I use water and it appears to be doing the job. I see quite a few drowned HB and I am yet to see even one on a frame.
I took some photos of today’s inspection. As I said, I’m still a complete novice, but I can see capped brood, larvae, honey and maybe eggs? not sure on that one though.
Didn’t see the Queen. And still about 4 frames not drawn.

Im pretty cautious so take the following as lightly as you can as Its so hard to speculate via pictures compared to in person.

I would carry out a poke test for AFB or EFB, some of the cells look quite sunken the pattern is a bit patchy, it is also quite dark comb. Very hard to tell in the picture, but do you recall anything looking like this?

This pic is not from your Brood Frames, but it is a later stage of AFB a Bee Pupae having turned to a goop and some black dried pupae remains in other cells.

These pictures from your inspection, just had me thinking it would be good to check for AFB, I make it apart of my inspection routines, to poke a few cells with a twig in patchy areas just to be safe.

Screenshot 2024-02-16 at 1.43.58 pm

Maybe its just a shadow over the comb making it darker or possibly a spot where it scrapped when being removed. I also see something a little oozy on this.

Id say they are probably just older frames, nucs often have some older frames in them, and you need to consider cycling these out for some freshies when the bees build out more and get stronger. Cycle them to the edge one by one with a fresh brood frame in the middle, and the bees can build this out with new comb and then the queen is likely not going to be getting back over to the side frame to lay more eggs in it. Or you can look at putting an old frame above a queen excluder to make sure no more eggs are laid in there, and remove it once the brood has hatched.

Probably best to wait until the colony is stronger though.

They might need some feeding to build up stores too. How is the temp in New York? Might be a bit early in the season to be seeing a lot of progress.

All in all id inspect again in a week, with a plan to also start feeding the bees and carry out that poke test. Spotting eggs can be so hard, my eyesight is not the best couple that with looking through the mesh of a bee suit hood. I find I have to find a spot with the sun over my shoulder shining right into the back of the cells and get up close to see eggs. If you have a camera its good to take a video changing angles with sunlight in shining on the frame to see if you can zoom in after the fact.

Have you reached out to some locals, maybe the person you got the bees from?

Keep on posting here too.


Thanks Kieran. Yea those frames are probably old and I’ll do as you suggested. I’m in Australia BTW… a long way from NY. Coming to the end of Summer and still quite warm.

I need to get my prescription changed obviously, I read NY City, Not NE Vic. :joy:

Being that its late summer they are progressing slowly. I have chatted to a few people in Vic the past couple of weeks and they have seen plenty of nectar coming in. Of course it can be pretty unique even 10km away. Im about inland 25km from the coast and have a totally different season, compared to the year long season others tend to have in Northern NSW.

A pic of the overall bee population when you first open the hive would be great too.

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Yea it seems a little slow to me, but, we have had regular heavy rain events so that may have impacted nectar supply. I did take this photo a couple of weeks back. I had the entrance reducer on (since removed) and they were a little hot I guess. Gives an idea of the population though.

That is quite a nice bee population, good to know they are strong, were the numbers much the same inside during the recent inspection?

Cheers Kieran. Yea there were plenty of Bees when I went in today.

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@JeffH . I’ve had a comment here and elsewhere that the images I’ve captured indicate potential AFB. I’m not convinced… but… now I’m worried. Thoughts?

I’ve just done a matchstick test… all good. No stringy goop. Tested several cells across a couple of frames.

Hi Paul, did you test the cells with sunken caps? I notice that a lot of bees are emerging in the area of the sunken caps. A few years ago I got concerned about some sunken caps, which prompted me to remove them, only to find healthy pupae beneath them Then I started to theorize that brood caps can sink slightly just before the bees emerge.

We need to look out for sunken caps with a darker than normal color beneath them, coupled with perforations in them. Those caps are definitely worth taking a closer look at. If the infection is bad enough, you’ll be greeted with the characteristic foul odor upon removing the roof. The smell of just one infected larvae, when held close to the nose is quite obvious.

Paul, now you can’t say you’re clueless, especially since you’ve been here since late October, & did at least 7 hours reading. You know more than the bloke who picked up bees from me this afternoon.


Thanks Jeff. I’m thinking you are right with all you’ve said. I did look closely at some AFB affected frames online and the appearance of the caps was different to what I see here. Plus I don’t have many perforations… a couple only. No smell either and also a lot of viable larvae is evident.
I tested a few cells with a matchstick across a couple of frames. Just a white mass that I assume is pupae but no stringy bit attached to the match stick.
Other comments suggest I need to feed them… Not even autumn yet. The slow progress must be due to a lack of resource but is that enough to dead out the hive at this time of year?
Thanks for your help!!!

Today’s mission!!!

You’re welcome Paul. The only cells you test with the match stick are cells where the brood has turned into what looks like wet dark chocolate syrup. They are the ones that smell rotten. The reason for the match stick test is to determine the difference between AFB & EFB. With AFB, the syrup is ropey when slowly withdrawing the match.

You know… probably got that wrong. I’ll test again. But not before I do my next inspection.
I’m.going to feed them for a week or so and see how that works out.
Thanks Jeff.