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Update and inspection by first time beekeeper

Thanks to everyone who contributes advice on this page.

I posted a while back about a cold snap and some chalkbrood. That cleared up to almost zero now that we have had some warm, sunny weather. I started with a nuc back May 30th. I am in Northeast Ohio, USA. We get cold winters here. Two weeks ago, I added a second brood box. Today, I did an inspection and I am sure, made mistakes. I try to be smooth and calm. I still have not found the queen, but I have not been fretting over that. Inspections with the second brood box are trickier. I think I need to build a stand to set the top box. My top brood box (8 frames) is built out fully on 5 frames, but ALL honey. Some capped. When I set that box aside, I had lots of bees on top of the lower box. I smoked them a bit and started inspecting. I found all frames fully built out and found a lot of brood, but the pattern of capped brood seemed more spotty than last inspections. I have a few pictures I am going to attach. When I got to about my 5th frame, I noticed the entire front of the box and landing board was carpeted in bees. They weren’t there before the inspection, and I think I smoked them out there. I stopped inspecting and just reversed myself, and put everything back together. It has been about half an hour and most of the bees are back in the hive, but there is still a thick beard directly under the landing board. I was a bit nervous seeing that many bees outside the hive, but they were surprisingly calm. Anyway, just wondering if anyone has some comments on how to do a better job inspecting a double brood box set up. It seems like I smoked them down into the lower box and crowded them out.

Hello Mark, when you remove the top brood box and put it aside put a tea towel over it and that will have a calming effect on the bees in it till you need to check it.
When your working in a hive brood box, either a single or a double it is common that any disturbed bees will accumulate around the entrance being a bit confused. Once the hive is closed up the bees will get back to work.
As the hive expands they will provide more room for the queen to lay eggs.
How old is the queen? A bit concerning to see the spotty pattern, maybe she is beginning to fail if she is over a few years old.
Cheers

Thanks Peter.
I am not sure how old she is. I just got the nuc in May. 2 weeks ago I had really nice big blocks of capped brood. After I put the second box on, I let them go almost unchecked for 2 weeks. All I did at week one was peek quickly at the newly installed frames on top to see what they were up to. I will take your advice on the towel next time. I will keep an eye on the brood pattern and ask my nuc supplier about the queen and show him some pictures. He seemed really conscientious about making sure I had a good laying queen before he would let me pic up the nuc and his review from the state inspector that he included gave him extremely high marks and written compliments. Thanks again Peter, I appreciate the tips.

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I suspect that adding a second brood box was done too early, I would have held off from doing that till at least 80% of all the cells in the brood box was in use by the bees. It is a common mistake to add a second brood box too early, that might be the cause of the spotty brood pattern.
Normally a nuc has a young queen with it, sometimes, but not all ways a new season queen.
Cheers Mark

You’re probably right. I jumped the gun because I thought I needed to travel.

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