How to deal with natural combs?
I am a brand new beekeeper. I live on a farm in south Texas and my step-father bought one deep hive (before I got down here) about a year ago. He has not checked or monitored it yet, so I am taking on the roll of beekeeper. Recently, I read "Beekeeping for Dummies," and now feel like I am ready to at least give the hive a peak to see if they are healthy.
As of now we only have one deep hive.....I know that this is not ideal, etc., etc. I am working on that and will rectify it in the near future with another deep hive and some supers.
Today I went to open the hive for the first time. I want to make sure they are healthy and with a queen since they have not been monitored to this point. When I took the inner cover off I realized that there were only 9 frames and that the bees apparently built a natural comb where the tenth frame was supposed to be. Nearly all of the bees were all over this natural comb, WHICH WAS STUCK TO THE UNDERSIDE OF THE INNER COVER. By the time I realized that this comb was stuck to the inner cover and covered in bees, the comb broke off and fell with a jostle down into the "empty" slot it occupies. Needless to say, the bees were then quite upset with me. I tried to fool around in there for another minute or two to check some of the actual frames and the bees were getting more and more aggravated. Then I decided that I would give them some reprieve and close their house back up. They were very unhappy. So my question is this:
How do I get that natural comb out of there without destroying anything or hurting myself? I really want to check on them and make sure they are doing okay...and get that comb out and slide a tenth frame in there so that this does not happen again. Any advice? It would be much appreciated.