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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Schoharie, NY
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    Default First top bar inspection

    Here is a video of my first hive inspection. I was just checking to make sure the queen was released, but then wanted to see what else was going on. What should I see in a hive that was only installed three or four days before? Does this look like the hive is doing well?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
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    533

    Default Re: First top bar inspection

    Holy smoke! I rarely use smoke on my hives as they are all very gentle. It's a good idea to keep a smoker lit just in case you need it, but you are using an excessive amount of smoke. If you are so nervous that you need that much smoke, maybe you should be wearing proper pants. Wouldn't take much for a bee to fly up your shorts and sting you in the most uncomfortable place imaginable. A little in the entrance will be ok in most situations with an occasional puff as needed. Bees will start buzzing everywhere when you open the hive. Not all will be defensive guard bees. Some may simply be returning foragers who return to a home that looks different. So just because there's bees everywhere, doesn't mean they need more smoke.

    Other than that, things look good I'd say. In just a few days, they already have comb built. It looks straight. They are festooning nicely. I didn't see the queen cage in the video, but was the queen released? Did you see any signs that she was laying?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Schoharie, NY
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    Default Re: First top bar inspection

    I agree the choice of shorts was a bad choice. I think that added to my worry. I did find the queen was released, but was unable to spot her. I was looking to see if she was laying, but didn't see anything. The comb looked very clear, but I didn't see anything in the cells, then again I only looked where I could and didn't try to move the bees. During my next inspection should I be looking for anything in particular? Im going only by what I have read and watched, so I really appreciate the tips. I will focus on using less smoke next time, thanks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Brainerd, MN
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    533

    Default Re: First top bar inspection

    I would just make sure you can verify three things.

    1. Is the queen laying?

    Here is the bee math on Michael Bush's website.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm

    The queen may not lay right away. If you check back in a week you may see eggs or larvae.

    2. The comb is being built straight.
    3. They have some stores/feed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
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    192

    Default Re: First top bar inspection

    One of the nice things about a top bar hive is that you don't need to rip it all apart during inspections, minimizing the disturbance. I usually take out one bar and then slide the other bars back to fill the space as I inspect. This way, only one bar is missing at any time. I can still remove every bar, but once I get done with one and put it back, the bees in the bars behind it settle down again and go about their business, minimizing the disturbance. Then once I get done, depending on what I want to do, I may put an empty bar in the front to fill the hole, or slide everything back forward and put the removed bar back. Looks like your hive has a great start!

    Ted

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia
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    392

    Default Re: First top bar inspection

    Echoing that thought: I found there to be a very direct correlation between the number of bars that were "letting the light in" (however slightly), and the general defensiveness of the hive. (And, upon reflection, I think it makes perfect sense.) Open the space of about two bars, then take a bar, examine it, and carefully put it back into position against the ones at the rear of the slot, even if the bar is unoccupied, so that the number of slots remains "1" and the size of the slot remains the same (and small) as the slot moves forward. Don't leave several openings; don't make the opening unnecessarily large. If bees begin to "boil out of a slot" you have a defensive reaction going on and it's quite difficult to close the slots at that time.

    Some folks have said that the best way to move is "focused, like a dance." You'll find that you can have a smoker "at hand" and both hands free. There will be hundreds if not thousands of insects in the air, flying everywhere around you. That does not necessarily mean defense and you don't have to use the smoker to "repel" them from you. They might land on you and ... fly away. That might freak you out. If you're uncomfortable, wear (bee suit) pants. Above all, be comfortable.

    A bee brush is a handy tool to have. With it you can gently push down to persuade bees to depart from an opening. ("Brush, brush, touch.") Bringing the bars to touch at one end, then cajoling them together with a gentle up-and-down motion, can work. But with so many openings it was difficult. As you continued to close-up you started to have less trouble.
    Last edited by mrobinson; 05-21-2012 at 01:30 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Moyock, NC, USA
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    207

    Default Re: First top bar inspection

    definitely put the bars back in. Besides letting light in to make them agitated or whatever the more bars you have out, the more room they have to get out and see whats happening.
    If you keep only two or three bars out they will mostly stay inside.
    If they aren't sticking their butt in the air and fanning their scent you probably haven't made them feel threatened and you shouldn't get stung. Even if the are flying all around and running into you as they whip by.I have be hit in the head and it startles me every time.
    with your protective gear you should let the bees crawl all over you. Try white gloves, I have "HEARD" they react negatively to dark colors, hence the white bee suit and dark brown bear.
    I go with a white tee shirt and sunglasses.
    I have Italian bees and they are DOCILE! What do you have?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
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    1,495

    Default Re: First top bar inspection

    If you are going to take videos you may want to get a tripod. It doesn't have to be fancy, could just be a bolt on the end of a stick. Set it up at the back of the hive and point it toward the front of the hive so that it the field of view is just the top of the bars and may be two feet about the hive. Then you can pull out the bars, pause for a second with the bar in frame, spin it around to see the otherside, and put them back. Having someone hold the camera isn't a bad idea, but if they are not close it doesn't help you much if they are not close enough for detail. Maybe get your videographer a veil and a Tyvek suit or something so they are not as timid. You can make a stand for a camera phone, it just takes a little more creativity.

    I love the red, it is nice to see a little color on hives (besides white). Hive seems like it is doing well for 4 days after being hived. By the end of the summer this could be a monster hive!

    You may want to use both hands on those bars. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. You seem a little bit rough. Slow down and you will speed up.

    Did you get stung and are you trying to mask pheromone? What kind of gloves do you have on?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Schoharie, NY
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    Default Re: First top bar inspection

    Thanks for all the advise. I will definitely try to be easier with the smoke and let less light in the hive. I have ordered a bee brush cause the popcicle looking thing I had was improvised when I found I couldnt get the bars back because of the bees in the way. I have Italians too and this last time they didn't seem to angry when I got in. I think what freaked me out the most was when I installed them I got stung on the hands four times. I had read that I shouldn't need gloves so I didn't wear any. If you want to laugh really hard watch my install video..beware I think I used some choice words in it. Try not to make fun of me too much though, ok. Once again thanks for all the advise.


  10. #10
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    Apr 2012
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    Schoharie, NY
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    Default Re: First top bar inspection

    I actually have two sets of gloves on, ones inside are cotton and the outside are those plastic covered gloves. I got stung on the hands a few times during the install and I think that freaked me out a bit. I'm already working on a suit for the camera man because they have to stay too far away to get any detail without it. Next time I am going to work on being slower, and I think wearing pants will help me to be calmer. Im not really sure why I wore shorts but I know when I realized it that I was realllllly nervous then. Thanks for the advise , I really appreciate it.

  11. #11
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    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    Default Re: First top bar inspection

    I think you will be fine. Pretty gutsy to install a package with no gloves on having never worked with bees. One thing I notice is that most people tend to put on their gloves before they get into the package and cant open them. To each their own.

  12. #12
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    Jan 2012
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    Albuquerque, New Mexico
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    Default Re: First top bar inspection

    Another suggestion is to either tie your pant legs closed with a strap or string or something or you can put your pants into your socks. I can speak from personal experience that bees will climb up your legs. They are not necessarily being aggressive, but when you sit down on them later or scratch that wierd crawly feeling on your leg you will get stung. I generally wear gloves too, even though it cuts down on dexterity. I don't find that dexterity is really that necessary when doing an inspection and I don't like it when my hands get all swollen and itchy for several days.

    Ted

  13. #13
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    May 2011
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    Kingsville, OH
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    959

    Default Re: First top bar inspection

    I know your a new beek, but I must say I had a ball watching your videos. I must repeat Smoking is Bad for your Hive!! Sorry I just had to say that. And BTW if you haven't get a Hive Tool,,flat bar.

  14. #14
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    Feb 2012
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    Aguadilla - puerto rico
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    Default Re: First top bar inspection

    lol, love the second video , you did Ok for your first time,but you learn a lesson to wear gloves next time and no shorts plz, the only thing that bother me the most was the color you painted your hives RED its a big no no, the reason is bee cant see RED as we cant see ultra violet they see more in the blue-green side of the light spectrum
    here something to read about what color bees see i will also put this on another post for all to see http://www.westmtnapiary.com/Bees_and_color.html

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Greenwood, Indiana
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: First top bar inspection

    Kenneth, I installed my bees five weeks ago, and I too was anxious about everything that could, would, maybe did go wrong. People on here kept telling me to LEAVE THEM ALONE, and chances were great that the queen was okay; yep, easier said than done if you're a worry wart like I am. I have to say that you are VERY lucky to not have broken some of those super-fragile combs the way you were handling them... I broke two, and I was taking more care than you were. I've opened my hive lots of times, saw brood, and then worried that there might be something wrong with the brood ... :-) . I rarely put on any bee wear, and I have never lit my smoker. I have been hit by bees a couple of times, but not stung. Consider this:
    The bees don't need your help. The queen's okay. TRY (you won't though) not to open your hive(s) for a month for any reason whatsoever (Gee, that's so easy to say.).
    Good luck!

    ETA This week, I finally carefully/closely checked every bar in the worrisome hive, and the last bar (by the entrance) had the queen, alive and well and living in Greenwood, Indiana. I know now that all's well that ends well. I will not disturb them again without VERY good cause.

    ETA #2 Just watched your second video, and I have to say that that was the funniest installing bees video that I have ever seen. LLOL!
    Last edited by Hoosier; 05-24-2012 at 11:36 AM.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Baker Oregon
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    Default Re: First top bar inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Franklin View Post
    I must repeat Smoking is Bad for your Hive!!


    Minute 9 on the instillation video is priceless.
    Last edited by RiodeLobo; 05-24-2012 at 03:18 PM.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Schoharie, NY
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    Default Re: First top bar inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by RiodeLobo View Post


    Minute 9 on the instillation video is priceless.
    Yeah my kids seem to love watching me get stung, they must have watched it 100 times already..Lol

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