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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Applegate, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Opening hive, check, more advice?

    I opened up the hive this morning, and being only the third time I have opened her up this year (1st year), my adrenaline was pumping. That felt good. What didn't feel good, was not knowing exactly what to do. My intentions were to open it up, check the top box and see how far they were on the last box (I've got 3 on) and possibly add another one. I felt ok taking off the top box, but dismantling it any further didn't feel right. When I pulled the top box off, one of the combs from the next box came with so I quickly but not hastily put it back down. I noted that there was not all capped honey on the top box..so I just put things back together and walked away....sort of pouting. I guess I panicked a bit, since I was taking apart their home and I could tell they were not happy about that (obviously). I'm not sure if I should have gone ahead and dismantled it or what. At night after the heat of the day they are bearding (not too severely though, maybe 3 inches long and not too thick). I probably should have just sucked it up and kept going, but I was feeling guilty. So what do you think I should have done? What would you have done?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Black Forest, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Opening hive, check, more advice?

    Have you been through a good bee school? Many beekeepering clubs will do classes for new beekeepers. I would also look for an experienced beekeeper nearby to serve as a mentor for you, and try and invite yourself along on hive inspections with other local beekeepers. Nothing better than another local beekeeper who can not only give you guidance and help you understand what you are seeing, but also help you learn tips that are applicable to your local area and climate.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Applegate, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Opening hive, check, more advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackForestBees View Post
    Have you been through a good bee school? Many beekeepering clubs will do classes for new beekeepers. I would also look for an experienced beekeeper nearby to serve as a mentor for you, and try and invite yourself along on hive inspections with other local beekeepers. Nothing better than another local beekeeper who can not only give you guidance and help you understand what you are seeing, but also help you learn tips that are applicable to your local area and climate.
    That's definitely the next step. I know there is a bee school around, although they are more than likely a conventional type of organization, as most folks around here use chemical treatments and langstroth methods. I plan to stop by at another warre beek's place on my way into town this morning. Hopefully she can help. I'm sure I just need to get my big girl panties on and go for it, but still would like some advice here on the forum...you can never have enough of that!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Opening hive, check, more advice?

    To me personally, I always go in with a game plan. I don't just open the hive up for no reason. Even if it is to learn, have some objectives in place. Sometimes I just pop the top and don't pull a frame but see how they are filling the super and where they are at, sometimes I go thru the whole hive. Again, it just depends on what my objectives are. I'm not sure about your area, but this time of year for me I don't go into the brood nest, unless I think they might queen less. I stay in the supers and check stores as well as mite counts(I mostly do that with a sticky board). Just my .02 and I wouldn't feel guilty about going into there home.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Lakeland, Florida
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Opening hive, check, more advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by squirrel View Post
    When I pulled the top box off, one of the combs from the next box came with
    Well I can help you with this part. When you loosen a box or inner cover from the box below...instead of pulling straight up and pulling the frames below with it......after lossening...twist the box a good 45 degrees around before you lift off. This breaks the attachement comb and will keep the frames down where they belong.
    As for checking your hive....Your the beekeeper...put on that viel, put gloves on and just start doing it. Keep your smoker handy and lit and use it. Not excessivlly but when needed. get in there box by box, frame by frame and see whats going on. The more you do this, the faster you'll get. If the box's are just honey...set em to the side and get down where the brood is. Not saying you need to go into the brood everytime but it still needs to be inspected occassionally. no one really likes getting stung and those that it bothers...wear protective clothing. I use a hat/viel, t-shirt with a white dress shirt over that. jeans and boots. very rarely do I get stung in this getup but even then....they really dont hurt much. Anticipation of the sting is really worse than the actual sting. Good luck with the ladies!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Applegate, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Opening hive, check, more advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by VodoBaas1 View Post
    To me personally, I always go in with a game plan. I don't just open the hive up for no reason. Even if it is to learn, have some objectives in place. Sometimes I just pop the top and don't pull a frame but see how they are filling the super and where they are at, sometimes I go thru the whole hive. Again, it just depends on what my objectives are. I'm not sure about your area, but this time of year for me I don't go into the brood nest, unless I think they might queen less. I stay in the supers and check stores as well as mite counts(I mostly do that with a sticky board). Just my .02 and I wouldn't feel guilty about going into there home.
    I definitely had a game plan! I would not open it just to open it, since that goes against the whole warre principal. It's just that once I was in there, the game plan changed due to what I saw, which was not capped honey, and lots of bees still hanging up in the top box, and not feeling right about going much farther. I get a little nervous about having the hive open to long (is that just being paranoid?), and didn't feel like I had enough time before they got really mad. Thank you for the advice on staying with the supers. That's what felt ok about, going any farther didn't feel right. So would you have added another box do you think? Or just check stores and keep it at that due to the time of year. I'm still seeing bees going in and out with pollen, just not as much. Lots of orientation flights yesterday (atleast that's what I believe was going on). Confidence is something I'm sure is built with time and experience. Newbie jitters.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Morrison, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Opening hive, check, more advice?

    I nail down my warre bars with brads so that they don't come up like that. Also, if the box and the one below it is completely full, the comb will likely be joined to the side of the box making what you are describing less likely. If you need to get in there to check things out, I would not pull off a box if another comb comes with it. You are asking for a huge mess that way. You could get some wire, wrap it around a couple of sticks and slice the boxes apart with a wire cutter. If you do this be sure that you are pulling along the length of the bars, so that you aren't chopping too many bees in half, and stop before you pull the wire all the way out of the box.

    If you do that, you may consider nailing down the bars when you have it open. You could do it with a manual brad driver pretty quickly without too much disturbance.

    http://www.amazon.com/Great-Neck-Saw...ds=brad+driver

    Of course, you could always stay out of the hive too.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Applegate, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Opening hive, check, more advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Santa Caras View Post
    Well I can help you with this part. When you loosen a box or inner cover from the box below...instead of pulling straight up and pulling the frames below with it......after lossening...twist the box a good 45 degrees around before you lift off. This breaks the attachement comb and will keep the frames down where they belong.
    As for checking your hive....Your the beekeeper...put on that viel, put gloves on and just start doing it. Keep your smoker handy and lit and use it. Not excessivlly but when needed. get in there box by box, frame by frame and see whats going on. The more you do this, the faster you'll get. If the box's are just honey...set em to the side and get down where the brood is. Not saying you need to go into the brood everytime but it still needs to be inspected occassionally. no one really likes getting stung and those that it bothers...wear protective clothing. I use a hat/viel, t-shirt with a white dress shirt over that. jeans and boots. very rarely do I get stung in this getup but even then....they really dont hurt much. Anticipation of the sting is really worse than the actual sting. Good luck with the ladies!
    Ah! Slight twist..great advice thank you!
    How often do you personally go through the hive? And if the boxes have honey would you harvest them now or put them back on and wait until fall-ish?
    After I opened it up and exposed the top box I wasn't too worried about getting stung so much, I could see that they didn't seem to worry too much about me, just the disturbance.
    Thank you for your encouragement!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Opening hive, check, more advice?

    I wasn't trying to imply that you didn't have a plan, I just didn't see one laid out. My plans often change depending on what I see, or it's something for next time. I tend to spend less time in them this time of year due to robbing, but I also do what I need to get done. As Santa Caras stated, you will get more proficient each time you are in there and working. As for adding another box, I am not sure how full your other box is. A guideline would be about 80% full of comb and bees. As to maynard's suggestion to wire, that's a good idea, you could also try dental floss.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Applegate, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Opening hive, check, more advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by VodoBaas1 View Post
    I wasn't trying to imply that you didn't have a plan, I just didn't see one laid out. My plans often change depending on what I see, or it's something for next time. I tend to spend less time in them this time of year due to robbing, but I also do what I need to get done. As Santa Caras stated, you will get more proficient each time you are in there and working. As for adding another box, I am not sure how full your other box is. A guideline would be about 80% full of comb and bees. As to maynard's suggestion to wire, that's a good idea, you could also try dental floss.
    My bad, naturally defensive . I really just wanted to see how far they were and see if they needed another box. Also wanted to check in on honey stores while I was in there. I watched a video of another beek adding a box to the bottom by dismantling the hive. I'm sort of a lone ranger as far as the bees go here and wanted a way to do it myself...gonna look into putting together a lift someday...that sounds glorious. Thank you very much for the guideline...when the time is right that's what I will look for.

    @Maynard: like the wire idea.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Essex, England, UK
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Opening hive, check, more advice?

    I can vouch for Maynards method with the wire cutter as this is exactly how I seperate boxes. I try to find a gap on a corner of a box and work the cutter (I use fishing line) diagonally from the corner to the opposite corner. As long as you try to keep generally in line with the combs and not across them, its an excellent method. If it helps, I dont look inside the hive as such at all. In April I nadired a 3rd box and thats it, nothing else since. I wont lift the top box to check for honey until the end of summer.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Applegate, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Opening hive, check, more advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Teabag View Post
    I can vouch for Maynards method with the wire cutter as this is exactly how I seperate boxes. I try to find a gap on a corner of a box and work the cutter (I use fishing line) diagonally from the corner to the opposite corner. As long as you try to keep generally in line with the combs and not across them, its an excellent method. If it helps, I dont look inside the hive as such at all. In April I nadired a 3rd box and thats it, nothing else since. I wont lift the top box to check for honey until the end of summer.
    These are the answers I'm looking for! Timing! Thank you.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Applegate, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Opening hive, check, more advice?

    I love this site. It's so nice to have lots of other beek's just a mouse click away.

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