Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

My Inspections - A rolling update every time I crack the hive with new photos


UPDATE 6/26/2016: I had to inspect on a Sunday vs. Saturday, but that was OK as it was nice and warm around 85F today. I found my frames to be able 90% drawn if brood found on frames 2-7 and then honey/pollen mixed in on a lot of the frames, and some of the center frames are starting to look like more honey than brood. My Queen was hanging out on Frame 1 today. Also on the corfulte I counted maybe 5 or 6 very small SHB (guessing they are young).
I added my 1st Medium Brood Box today (I have 1 more to add once this one is 80-90% drawn)

UPDATE 6/18/2016: My inspection was a short one because I had to get back to a family event. I focused on the foundationless frames, and even though I didn’t take a photo I spot checked Frame #5. Looks like my Queen has moved to laying some brood in the middle of Frame #2 (I got some shots of 4, I am guessing, day old larvae).

UPDATE 06/11/2016: Looks like my girls are still going great without any feeding. This time I only got to inspect 5 of my 8 frames, before my hands started to go numb (nerve and tendon issues in my hands/wrists), but what I saw was great. Again I used very little smoke (list my first inspection) and saw my Queen. She was on Frame 4 - AGAIN! - but I still found good brood signs elsewhere on the other frames, so me gets around. Anyways check below for my photos. I did add a photo showing my corflute on the SBB.

UPDATE 06/04/2016: I did an inspection today. There is a lot of build out on my foundationless frames. I found TONS of uncapped honey/pollen along with a lot of capped worker cells and a nice amount of uncapped larvae as well. I didn’t find my queen this time, so I didn’t shake off my frames but did use my fingers to get the bees to move and look behind them. To me things look great. I took a LOT of time (of course the pictures will never be able to show it all!) to really look into each opening. I cleared my coreflute and found nothing but debris, but I still replace the cloth to catch and SHB that might still be around. Speaking of SHB I never saw any signs of them nor any damage to capped brood…maybe the bees won and they died off? Lastly I missed getting a photo (phone was at the house and I had to get going to town) of the bees bearding (I think it was).

UPDATE (2 days later; 5/30/2016): As noticed by @Dawn_SD there wasn’t enough room on the outside of my frames and that was because I didn’t take into account I was getting a NUC which I couldn’t shave down the frames to fit 9 wide (like @Michael_Bush takes about) so I went in and pulled the 9th frame, then shifted the 8 (still tight together) to the center of the hive and I will just deal with whatever I get on the outside edged. I guess just another reason to go Package over NUC next time…
See on the Frame 8 photos (below) an updated picture of what they have drawn in comb in 2 days - WOW.
I also added a photo of the Hive in my garden from 5/28 and then a close up, just after the NUC was installed 5/21 to the top part of the photos I took.

Well I got out to do my inspection around noon whn it was 65-70F, almost no wind but a gentle breeze at times. I used a little smoke, but not too much as I read on @Michael_Bush site that too much smoke might cause the queen to run and I was hoping to find her today (I did!). I installed a 5-frame NUC into the Deep that came with my Flow Hive Complete on 5/21 and these frames have a green base plastic w/o wax (that I can tell) that the bees have been building over. If you want to see me install the NUC and a bit of video of the frames at that time check it out via Installing my first NUC (Carniolan) hosted on YouTube.

Below I will detail what I think I’ve found, but all and all I feel really good! I also feel there will be endless years of learning. Now I will try to show what I think things are in the photos and if anyone can correct/confirm please do!


FYI I watch them take in a lot of bright yellow and dark orange pollen. Probably more dark orange than anything though.


Hive Locations:
The hive in the northern section of our garden.

Close up (taken right after the NUC was installed 5/21/2016). I cut a custom board and seal the factory bottom entrance and cut a 2in opening into the bottom side of my Inner to give them a top entrance and then I have the roof backwards so it give them a clear opening.

Inner Cover (6/4): I put screen over the hole with staples for now, but I did it after the NUC was in so I did it in a hurry so it wasn’t off the hive for too long, which is why the staple spots kind of look silly. So far no sign of them sealing over it, so they might be enjoying the air and humidity flow.

Overview (Updated 6/4/2016): Here is what I had once taking off the roof and the Inner. I (now) have 8 frames in this box and plan to have 9 frames in my other (Medium) brood boxes. The new foundationless frames are 2 to the left and 1 to the right.


6/4: From nothing at all the last time my hive was cracked open on 5/30 to this. Not much, but still working along.

6/11: Well they are building out a lot and the golden color in the middle is uncapped honey (both sides).


**5/28:**A nice bit of comb is being drawn out.

6/4: This has been drawn down a whole lot. This is the left side, but the right side looks pretty much the same.

6/4: The left and right sides are getting honey stored on them (right side shown).

6/11: Almost done with this frame. Still a LOT of uncapped honey along the top and on both sides.


**5/28:**The left side looks pretty empty aside from a little bit of capped brood along the bottom and some uncapped larvae (upper left) (high lighted)

6/4: Again uncapped honey in the honey in the upper left and right (red) and capped worker brood in the middle/bottom (blue) area (hard to see, but none of the full frame shots showed it well).

6/11: Uncapped honey across the top section, and then a lot of capped and uncapped workers brood in the main part of the frame.

Close-up showing all the uncapped larvae at different sizes, plus a lot of capped worker brood.

**5/28:**The right side looks to have some capped brood center bottom and some honey in the upper right and then (maybe) uncapped larvae on the left side/center.

6/4: Lots of uncapped honey in he upper left and right sections and then a bunch of capped brood (and some uncapped larvae) in the middle of the frame. It’s obvious a lot hatched from the week before, but then I can see where some is now larvae so the queen has been there.

6/11: A lot of uncapped honey in the upper left and right side of the frame again. Then some capped worker brood along with a LOT of uncapped worker larvae in the main body.

Close-up of just one section showing how much uncapped larvae there is.


5/28: The left side looks to be lots of capped brood all over the place, capped drones (red) and uncapped larvae (blue), honey in the upper left of the frame, and then the green cells are I have no clue???

There is my queen! I found her pretty quickly while looking at the left side of frame 4. I watched her for a few minutes then took a lot of photos and carefully put the frame back.

6/4: A fair bit more capped drone on this side (once again looks to be about the same amount as the previous week) scatted all over the middle to bottom left to right. Then a LOT of capped worker and a lot of uncapped larvae.

6/11: Uncapped honey in the upper left and right sections of the frame, then a fair bit of uncapped and capped worker, then still some capped drone cells at the bottom and from the looks of it a few new drone cells along with a few larvae that look to get capped drone…I guess whatever the bees think they need.

Close up showing the capped and uncapped workers:

**5/28:**The first side looks to have some capped brood along the bottom, some drone cells in the upper middle (red circle) and then honey upper right along with maybe some pollen (purple)?

6/4: Some capped drone along the bottom (maybe a dozen or less) that look to be in the same place, so it’s old and waiting to emerge. Lots of capped worker in the middle (left to right) with some uncapped larvae spread around in the mix.

6/11: The right side is now just covered in capped worker cells with quite a bit of uncapped larvae in there too. Not much, but still uncapped honey in the upper left and right.

Close-up of uncapped and capped worker cells.

This time my queen (green circle) was on the right side of frame 4. She started to run on me, so I watcher her until she was back in the middle of the frame and I put it down. The hive still sounds “happy” (as best as I can guess LOL! - how about normal) so I’m sure she is OK.



**5/28:**Brood all over the place along with some cells that were brood that has emerged, but still looks “rough” around the edges.

6/4: A fair bit of capped worker in the upper middle, then a LOT of uncapped larvae (at all stages - guessing days 4 or 5 - all the way to 8) all over the entire center of it (you can see the larger ones clearly). Then to the left and right edges are bands of color that I’m wondering if it’s packed pollen or a honey? See a closer photo before.

Honey, Pollen, or ???

5/28: Brood and then in the upper left is some honey.

A bee emerging. I saw the start of this when I was installing my NUC. How I wish I had a camera to film.

6/4: Most of the honey has been cleared out from the upper corners, but it is now covered in capped worker brood and some uncapped larvae as well.


5/28: Lots and Lots of brood, then some honey in the upper right (yellow) and then it looks like some uncapped honey or pollen along the top/left (blue).

6/4: Lots of capped (a lot less than last time, and maybe some newly) worker cells all over the frame with honey along the top and the upper left/right. I think I saw a few uncapped larvae, but not many on this side. The odd cell that is being build off the bottom of the frame (on the wood) is an uncapped and unfilled cell with it’s side facing outwards (red).

I did see 2 bees emerging (blue) in the upper-left area though! I watched them for a few minutes and I just wish I had a camera to record them the entire time!!!

5/28: Quite a bit of brood and then some honey in the upper left.

6/4: Lots of capped worker still (some have emerged and then I think there are some newly capped, but not sure) and what looks like honey starting to go in?

Uncapped honey shimmering around the bottom/middle?


5/28: A lot of honey or pollen cells that aren’t yet capped? Or is that just new comb that they haven;t done anything with? But I’m sure I can see honey/pollen in some of the cells.

6/4: Cover in a lot of uncapped honey from center to right top to bottom, but the far left is just empty cells. This would be the outside (or right) side of the frame.

5/28: Honey on the top/left and some over on the mid/right. Then the rest looks almost like uncapped honey/pollen?

6/4: Tons and tons of uncapped honey and then under the circle (blue) are capped worker cells and some uncapped larvae. This was be the left or inside of the frame.


5/28: They are just starting to draw comb on this one as well.

5/30 - 2 days later: Wow they have drawn out a LOT more on this frame. I just saw it as I was pulling frame 9, so had to take a photo.

6/4: It’s being drawn out more and more. It’s hard to see, but there is comb behind all those bees on it.

6/11: Clearly they are working the hardest on Frame 2, but Frame 8 (like 1) is getting some good TLC. The dark copper-ish color is uncapped pollen. So they are using Frame 8 for pollen, where Frame 1 and 2 are honey so far.


Mostly I found a lot of debris and pollen on it, but I think I found a single SHB? He was dead and I know the photo is bad, but in real life it looked like a SHB.

…and then some SHB larvae (about 6-8) that I’ll show and highlight below. I killed them all.

5/30, 6/4: I pulled the tray (now with the cloth - sorry no photo yet) and just debris. No signs of SHB or SHB larvae.
6/11: Here is a photo of how my corflute looks. Lots of debris. Looks like I had a bee get stuck in between the corflute and the screen last time. While the dark dots look like dead SHB with this photo, they aren’t - instead hey are parts of dead bees that I guess just fell through?

CONCERNS: SHB and the SHB larvae worry me. Clearly they were in with the NUC (or they moved in quickly from somewhere nearby?), and maybe that’s a reason I should have got package (next time I will get a package actually, mostly so I can learn both methods of getting a hive going). I never saw signs of damage to the capped brood that I could see through the bees. Now that I have adjusted the bottom board (see MODIFICATIONS below) I guess I’ll pull it more often to see how much other junk and SHB I find in a few days or should I wait again until next weekend? I’ve also looked at the Freeman beetle trap and I think using some silicon dried around the edge of of the insert that comes with my hive and then fill it with oil. Thoughts and advise please?
UPDATED 5/30: I have decided top keep trying the corflute with the cloth and then check it every day/other day. Today I found nothing except debris on it and then I found and kill 1 SHB in the hive when I was pulling frame 9.
UPDATED 6/4: No signs that I could find of SHB. Nothing in the corflute and nothing on any of the frames, but only time will tell.
UPDATED 6/11: Still no more signs of SHB or their larvae.

Also I had noticed a queen cell when I installed the NUC (sorry no pictures) and a lot of drone brood, but this time around I could not find the queen cell and there was less drone brood, but still some capped. Also there seemed to be less capped brood than before and a bit less honey? I am wondering if they had planned to swarm because they were out of space (a bit of one side of a frame was only half build when I got the NUC) and then decided not to once I got them in their new home?

MODIFICATION: I did move the corflute (plastic tray) of the SBB to the lower slot after using the bottom side of picnic table cloth. I then taped the back of the hive so as to avoid any extra air getting in from the moved down insert. Cedar described it in the How to make an easy small hive beetle trap video on YouTube. This time I didn’t have double sided tape (stopping at the store soon!) so I had to use staples.

I feel like I do not want to open the hive for a few weeks as I saw how much they got done in just 1 week and figure if I leave them alone they could get so much more done! When does everyone think I might want to do the next inspection?
As is I watch them on and off when I am home during the day (weekends) or at least check on them while I do chores in the morning and when I get home from work. I got a bench about 8 feet to the side of the hive.
NOTE: I’ll be pulling the plastic under the bottom board mid-week or by next weekend to check for more SHB/SHB larvae.

If anyone would like me to send them the original images to look at closer and provide any advise that would be awesome, but I don’t expect it.

In the end no stings and I just have my Ultra Breeze jacket, goat skin gloves, Carhart tan jean tucked into my socks. Boots of course since that is about all I own. Ohhh and I NEED A BETTER CAMERA or a zoom lens for my phone. Maybe a GoPro to mount on me so I can go back and look again.

I am also thinking about getting the following:

Frame Grip - So I can hold it better for photos. If I’m not taking photos I just told the ends and all is well.
One Handed Queen Catcher - So when I find her, but I want to look more into things I can grab her and keep her safe without the worry of her falling off. LINK
Toolbox - It was just such a pain taking all the different things down there with me today. My hivetool goes into my pant leg pocket fine, but the smoker, smoker fuel, lighter and then the extra things like tape, felt and stapler for messing with the plastic SBB insert. What does everyone suggest for a toolbox/tray?
Bee brush - I so far just use my hands by putting my finger over a clump of bees to make them move, but if I needed them to move more I should get a brush since my geese won’t loose any big feather.


Why so much dead space between my 8 frames in broodbox
Western Nebraska, Eastern Wyoming Panhandle Beekeeping

Hi, everything is looking good. I have one suggestion & that is to check & clean the slide every few days. The last thing you want is SHB breeding up in the debris.


Great suggestion! I have tons of stuff those old picnic table covers I can cut up.


I’m not sure what your saying there. I was thinking that the debris & shb larvae was on the core flute. I would just pull that out & clean it every few days. Wax moth also lay eggs in that stuff. I see in my observation hive, wax moth larvae feeding on the sweepings that end up between the gaps of the perspex & the bottom of the hive.


Yeah they were on the corflute that I pulled out from the bottle of the SBB. I made the SHB trap like Cedar spoke about in How to make an easy small hive beetle trap
I just sucked at describing it until just now. I have updated my original post.


Wilma here. I just read this to Jeff and now he understands thanks.


Cool! It didn’t help I was using the wrong terms. I updated my post and linked the video to help others avoid being confused by me :smile:


OK, but I hope you shaved down the shoulders as Michael Bush suggests, because your outer frame bee space looks all messed up to me on the wall side… :sweat: Also, the risk of rolling bees when you put that last frame in is very high. :flushed:

I agree with the red and blue cells - the blue ones are probably uncapped drones. The green ones look like early dead larvae to me, but the light is a little tricky. Don’t worry, if they are dead, the bees will just clear them out and get the cell ready for new eggs.

Looks like new comb for sure. There are so many bees on this frame, it is hard to tell what is under them from the photo.

If you get one, make sure it is one of the cast metal ones. The others have a nasty habit of warping or even snapping when you hold a heavy frame.

If you catch the queen, I recommend marking her. It makes it easier to know which frame she is on so that you can take even more care when replacing it.

I have one of those wooden ones, that doubles as a nuc/swarm box. However, I wouldn’t recommend it, because it is VERY heavy! :blush: I now have a nice waxed canvas tool bag - much lighter, cheaper and carries everything I need.

Beautiful photos, thank you for sharing.


You know I tested and checked width of frames and all looked good. I just remeasured the frames I have out because of the NUC and they are good. Clearly the NUC frames are wider. I will open and pull frame #9 (since no comb) today or tomorrow depending on weather. Then I will scoot the rest towards the center and leave even gap on the left and right.
Good catch! Being new I didn’ think anything of that on the outsides.

Glad to hear it seems like thing are what I think.

Yep frame 7 was busy busy.

Thanks for the feedback and hopefully I’ll have a grip so I can angle for better light for photos next time. The cast iron grip looked best.

I had thought to get markers for my queen just to make it easy.

I will remember that any the toolbox and go look at the local hardware store at what might work.


Ok I pulled the 9th frame. I really could see how the bees barely could go past the top bar of the frame and that was without any comb, so thanks for the catch! I shifted the 8 frames (still tight together) to the center of the box and put the top back on.

I saw and killed 1 SHB that happened to be on the 9th frame when I pulled it out, but upon pulling the Corflute I didn’t see any SHB or SHB larvae, so hoping that means they are a small infection.


Thank you for your generosity. I am glad that you could see the problems the bees can have. The difficulty is that sometimes they build bridging comb on the outer frame. If that happens (it does in about 1 in 4 of my hives) I use a follower board like this, until they have drawn out the comb. Then I remove it, and they do great with 8 frames:

Please keep us updated. It is great to hear how you are doing with your bees, and it is generous of you to share so much, thank you.


I love all the feedback everyone keeps giving me and I love to read and learn here on the forums so I am just trying to share with others! The write-up must have taken me about 2+ hours including making the photos small enough and circling things, but it was great to share.
But sharing so much help you point out my spacing issue that I might have missed until it was too late.
So with the Follow Board do you just put one on each side of the hive to fill the space? From what I’ve read that exactly right. Some people have talked about leaving them all the time as a form of “air gap insulation” in the winter.
I completely see my bees making bridging comb as they were doing it int he NUC and I still catch them doing it (I saw some starting in one of the middle frames today when I pulled the 9th frame, but I didn’t plan a full inspection so I didn’t want to pull and clean).
I should be doing another inspection next Sat/Sun (based on forecast and weather) and will probably post just as much and photos again…

Questions: Is there a lot of value in knocking the bees off my frames more so I can inspect it closer? I’d think it would be good to get a real feel for what is behind all the bees.
And… Since I failed to mark my frames before installing the NUC, is it OK to use a normal Sharpie to mark the frames or will the fumes be bad for the bees and I should use something else? I was going to mark them this weekend and forgot, then today I was going to do it and I got worried. I’ve searched online and see most use Sharpie, but talk about them just fading and getting waxed over so maybe it’s all just a waste…


Hi Logan, I am coming into this a bit late, however upon inspecting your frames there does not appear to much honey stores on your frames and considering the number of bees on each frame and the amount of wax they need to produce to draw out the new frames, you should consider feeding sugar water (1:1) unless already doing so. But if there is enough forage nectar from flowering plants in your area then it may not be necessary.
One other thing and it may just be a personal choice of mine, but I never handle the queen unless moving or marking her, the risk is too great. If agitated she can fly or jump off the frame as many people on this forum have found out, when she is discovered on their pants leg or on the ground.
As for SHB or Wax Moth larvae, its very hard to tell the difference, a light dusting of diatomaceous earth on the corflute will dehydrate the larvae and is not toxic or messy.
Your frames and comb are looking great, not much too worry about or change for you the beekeeper. Keep up the good work.


Never too late to share information!

There are a LOT of wild ground flowers in my area right now and they are pulling in pollen like crazy that I’ve seen when sitting and watching (I did that a LOT this week while I was off work and working around our place on repairs and such). I was surprised how little honey I actually saw, but figured they wouldn’t be building new comb if they didn’t need it and didn’t have the food to do so since I have read and know it takes a lot for them to draw up a frame. So far I am foregoing feeding to help encourage them to forage on their own and build as they see fit. I have been very surprised at how fast they built up the #8 frame (I’m assume you saw the updated photo from today below the one from Saturday?) and I took that as a good sign…?
The one side of Frame 7 (the very of the photo before I had to drop the size to upload here) looked like they were filling it with honey, but then again I’m new so if you or anyone else (@Dawn_SD, @JeffH ) would like I could ZIP and upload the raw photos (DropBox link) I took which shows a lot more at times (plus I took close ups of almost all frames which is about 3 shots per side)?
This year I just want them to build out this Deep (so the 3 frames - there were 4, but I pulled the 4th today) and then 2x 9 frame mediums and store up for winter. I honestly don’t plan to even use my Flow Frame Deep until 2017 since for me it’s all about letting them prepare and survive winter.

As for a Queen catcher, I was thinking about getting it to Mark her, but also to grab her if I feel the need to do an inspection in which I might bother her and therefor to keep track of her so she doesn’t take off and get lost/killed. Otherwise I plan to do exactly what I did Saturday…find her, and put her away LOL.

I’m actually going to be ordering 60lbs or so of diatomaceous earth for us in my garden (the hive is at the far north end of the garden and I just updated the main post to show it) so I might toss a bit of that on the corflute into the cloth (I need to take a picture of it, but I did what Cedar did in the video I linked)


I just use one follower board only on one side of the hive, that is usually all that is needed until the comb is drawn. You can leave them in as insulation, but I wouldn’t - I would rather insulate the outer walls of the hive and give them as much food storage space inside as they want.

I probably do that about once per month - a rapid downward jerk rather than knocking or impacting the frame on something. The rest of the time, I can see enough without shaking all of the bees off. Also, I try never to shake a frame with the queen on it (did I mention how much I love having a marked queen? :blush:).

Totally fine to use a normal Sharpie. You could use a Queen marking pen, if you have one, but I use a Sharpie all the time. The ink is well and truly dried ages before I close the hive. They do get waxed and propolised over the marks, but you can usually read enough to stay useful for a year or two.


The sharing is what makes this forum so useful. I learn new stuff every day here, both from newbie questions/vidoes/photos/posts, and from crusty old experts like @JeffH, @Michael_Bush and others. :smile:

So thank you for your time and effort. Please don’t tell my husband how much time I spend here every day… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I like 8 frames in an 8 frame box. There is never any trouble with "bee space and it leaves room on either end to separate the end frame and lift out for inspection without fear of rolling the queen.

Pictures look nice, lots of bees.

Nuc beats a package every day of the week; no feed, no wondering if the queen has been accepted, just place them and they continue growing.


Got it about he Follow Board. I’ll keep an eye during my weekly inspections and see what comes of their building the outside frames.

Yeah I’ve read the downward jerk works well, and don’t worry once I find the screen I do a look over the frame as best as I can, watch her a bit (I love to watch her!) and then put her away ASAP! Marking her is on my list to do (once I get the stuff to do it).

Cool, well I’ll probably sharpie it just to make it easier for me to sort my photo’s post inspection.

@Red_Hot_Chilipepper Thanks for the share! It’s good to hear that from the photos things look well. Well I would like to run all Mediums down the road so when taking the hive apart for a full inspection it never gets too heavy (I might be 32, but I need to watch it…can be hurting myself at home!), but I figured the bottom Brood being a Deep would be OK. Next hive (already thinking about it!) I think I will ether A (hopefully!) get to split and move them into a Medium, or else I will get package bees and do all Mediums. I’d love to try both Package and NUC to learn. I went for NUC this time for the exact reasons you listed!

Keep an eye out as I’ll keep posting new pictures…you guys think a new thread each time or maybe just date them under the previous ones? I kind of like the idea of dating new ones under the previous ones so the changes week to week and can seen.


Hi Dawn, thank you:) I know what you mean about the time spent on the computer. My grand kids know where to find me when they arrive: In the computer room. I’ll have to put a stop to that. I’ll have to get them used to finding me out the back instead. I’ve been busy the last 2 days. I harvested 2 Chinese water chestnut plants for 3.5 kilos!!! They’re all peeled & ready to slice to put in the freezer. Then this afternoon I harvested 16 kilos!!! of ginger, my annual ginger harvest. That’s ready to wash, peel, slice & bag up to put in the freezer. They forecast rain for the next 3 days so that suits me fine. After the rain’s gone, it’s back to the bees for another robbing.


Hi @JeffH, you and Wilma put a lot of time in making videos and keeping us informed and entertained. Sorry for calling you “crusty”, but I thought you might enjoy it as you are an artisan bread baker too! :smile:

I love Chinese water chestnuts and ginger - at least I can eat those without restriction, unlike bread. Oh well, still lots to enjoy in life! Hope your bees are doing well, and I hope your freezing goes smoothly and quickly for you.

Best regards to Wilma too,