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New Beekeeper 1st inspection flow hive 1 week old New Jersey USA


#1

Hello all!

So today I had my first 1 week inspection of my new flow hive. A little back story, last saturday i installed a 3lb package. The bees were probably in the box for at least a week by the time I installed them. Not certain of the exact amount of time. I installed the queen per popular directions by suspending her cage in between 2 frames. I am using an 8 frame flow hive brood box with black plastic foundation. I have an inner cover on top, and then a Manns top feeder that has been feeding them sugar water all week. I put the inner cover between the feeder to hopefully reduce any burr comb building under the feeder. So now for the inspection details.

1 - removed roof
2 - removed feeder and set aside to make sure not to trap any bees in there feeding, practically no comb:grinning:

3 - removed inner cover. Huge bit of comb they were building that was attached to the inner cover, which then fell off into the space between the frames where the queen cage was suspended.:open_mouth: Queen had been released so I removed the cage. Now here is novice issue #1, I could not get the comb out that has now fallen to bottom. Tried to grab it but very squishy and breaking apart easily. Also covered with bees.

QUESTION - is it imperative to remove this? I left it in after my inspection. Hoping bees will just clean it up? It was a very large piece of comb. Maybe I need to go back in and get it out?

4 - proceed to inspect inner frames. Girls have been busy drawing comb. I was surprised to see wavy comb, but i suspect this was because there was so much space between the 2 inner frames where the queen cage was suspended. See couple photos. It was hard for me to see eggs. But after zooming in photos, I am pretty sure I see them. Still no sign of queen. I also see honey and nectar and pollen. Also looks like there might be a few capped brood cells. No sign of queen cells. A see a few distorted cells and a few larger cells maybe drone cells?

5 - All in all I am pretty happy after reviewing some video and photos, as I am pretty sure I see eggs.

QUESTION - For all the smart folks. Did I make a big mistake by leaving the comb down in the bottom of the hive? Should I go back in tomorrow and remove it or is that more stress for the bees?

QUESTION - What is the shortest amount of time that I can go back in without causing stress?

NOTE - I did not smoke them, they were very tolerant of me. I had the frames in and out a few times looking for queen and examining.

QUESTION - I also did something else in retrospect that might be stupid, due to an awkward moment, worrying about this comb on the bottom. I took a frame full of bees and put in into a frame holder on the outside of the hive while I worked to try to get the comb out. Was this stupid? Is it ok to have the frame full of bees out for a few mins? The temp outside was about 85 degrees. Bees didnt seem to mind.

PROBLEM? - When I installed the package, I also added 1/2 pollen patty to top of the frames. There was a small bit left, but I noticed some sort of larvae on it. Maggots? What could have done this? I have been fighting black ants all week so is that possible?

All in all i fee good an successful. Lot of great activity and progress after a week, but I am a nervous wreck about leaving this bunch of comb in the bottom of the hive. Also a bit nervous I missed her majesty.

All feedback is most welcome I have thick skin and eager to learn so be honest.

Thanks for reading. I have a lot of great video and pics of the event here are a few, let me know if you see eggs

Don


#2

Do I see the queen here on this same frame where I think I see eggs?

Anyone concur? I know it is a bit fuzzy but looks longer and thinner.


#3

Nice job on your first inspection. :blush:

They may clean it up, but they may also use it to build more crazy comb. :hushed: I would definitely remove it. If you were foundationless, I would suggest rubber-banding it into an empty frame, but you are not, so I would just freeze it until you have enough collected to make it worth rendering (or save it to use the wax pushed into the Flow super later).

New comb is inherently fragile, as you discovered. It is less so at cooler parts of the day. If you can go into the hive early in the morning, you might find it easier to pick up.

The answer is going to be “it depends”. Infuriating, I know, but true. A new hive will always be very stressed by our interventions, but if you need to do something for the good of the colony, you shouldn’t hesitate. Removing that comb will prevent further damage to the hive in the future, so going in again is justified.

Lots of people do that, so it isn’t stupid. It can be risky if the queen is on the frame - she may drop onto the ground and get trodden into the dirt. :open_mouth:

I do something different. I setup a flat roof upside down with an inner cover inside it next the hive. Then I put an empty deep box on top. The inner cover preserves the “bee space” at the bottom of each frame. As I remove a frame for inspection, I put it into the empty box. Even if I don’t spot the queen, the inner cover and flat roof make sure that she won’t be in the grass/dirt outside the hive. :wink:

Not ants. Probably wax moth or small hive beetle. I would remove that patty and don’t use any more. Your bees don’t need it anyway, as I can see plenty of natural pollen (different colors) on your frames.

So you should - you did a nice job of noticing an recording lots of good observations. I think that may be the queen in your photo, but it is too fuzzy to be sure. She often hangs out in the “egg zone” of frames, so it would be a good place to look for her.

Overall, you have a great start. Please keep us updated. :blush:


#4

Dawn has answered it very well and goes into more detail than us Aussies do.
Asking to identify the queen in an out of focus pic is pushing it. By the location on the frame it could well have been the queen but I will claim the 2nd if you don’t mind your honor.:grinning:


#5

In the US, it is the Fifth Amendment that you need to claim! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :rofl:

The second is right to bear arms… :open_mouth:


#6

Whoops, I slipped on that banana. The 5th will do me nicely thanks Dawn, my legal adviser :joy:


#7

Thanks all for the responses. Dawn, I really appreciate you taking the time to be thorough and answer my questions. It helped immensely. I am going to open the hive again tomorrow and fish out the comb and see if I can spot the queen. It has been raining all day here today so I will wait until then.

Don


#8

Nope… but as Dawn says you may imperil the queen by accident. I keep a nuc box handy ( which is handy for all sorts of things) and if I ever need to do any lengthy or disruptive manipulations of the hive ( like moving them into another box or searching for queen cells) I always pop her and the frame she is in into the box. That way I can relax and get in with it knowing she is safe. As an aside and a thread divergence if you have s bee buddy get them to mark your queen. It’s very comforting to see her whenever you open up especially when you are a beginner. Good luck and welcome to the addiction or even affliction :smiley: