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Hello All,

I inspected my hive yesterday and I have a few questions:

1. I read that one shouldn't take too long to inspect the hive, i.e., leave the hive open longer than 15 minutes. I have also read that one should be smooth, and slow in terms of movement. My one and only hive has two deeps and one shallow honey super. That makes 30 frames at one frame every 2 minutes. That timeline will not result in smooth movement, without many bee casualties...and probably some harm to the beekeeper as well. Thoughts?

2. I have read that it is preferable to work without gloves. As slow as I am moving, each time I go into my hive I get stung once on the hand. It's making me a little edgy. I finally break down and put gloves on. Although they're a bit desensitizing, they certainly add a good degree of confidence. In fact, twice I've felt a familiar buzz of a bee, as it stings my gloved hand, leaving behind a little stinger. As much as I'd like to be gloveless, either my inexperience or poor fortune leads me to want to wear them. Thoughts?

3. Do I need to remove the first honey super and replace it with an empty, or can I simply stack another one on top. And if I do that, should I rotate some empty foundation frames with fully drawn and capped or uncapped frames from the first honey super?

My thought is that I have a good hive, and as others have already cautioned, I shouldn't be too greedy during the first year. I should be sure to leave them plenty of honey. I thought I might leave them the entire first honey super, and take the second for myself. Here in Northern California, there's more flow to come.

Thanks in advance.

DG
 

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DG,

I too am a beeginner.
I think some of the need for protection is seasonal.
When I started with a 3# package this spring I never wore any protective gear, just shorts and tee-shirt.
Now granted, at first they didn't have much to protect, but after 4 weeks they had the bottom deep 80% full and they were still pretty calm. Of course a strong flow was going.
As the summer went on they became crankier and crankier. The heat was going up and the flow was tapering off. I know some of this has to do with the hive getting stronger but from what I'm told I think when the weather get's nicer and there is some flow going they'll calm back down, I sure hope so , it was WAY more fun that way.
The recent heatwave pummeling the midwest came thru here mid week and I went down to prop the cover up a bit more in shorts and a pollinator jacket and was lucky to get out of there alive.
Ungratefull little bugs :rolleyes:
Anyway, hopefully fall and spring they'll be in a better mood.

Dave
 

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My experience is:
1.) The colony will let you know when they've had enough. As pointed out the colony strength, weather, and flow will influence temperment and it changes.
2.)Whatever works for you. Remember that the bees leave a scent when they sting. If you have gloves full of stingers they seem to want to add to the pile even days later.
3.)You can just add another super when the first is nearing completion. They won't draw the comb if conditions aren't right, but if you get a strong flow they'll take care of business in short order.

Your mileage will vary.
 

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You don't really need to inspect the honey super frame by frame. The two deeps can be inspected quickly by simiply pulling an outside frame and then looseing the rest, and looking at a few of them. You only have to find the queen if you plan on replacing her. Eggs and just hatched larva will tell you if you have a queen. Checking the brood pattern on a few frames will tell you how well she is doing her job. As far as protection, you need to wear what makes you feel comfortable. Increaseing confidence will make your movements slow and steady, and result in less stings. Super them as they need the room. You can top super, or bottom super whichever you prefer. Top supering is much easier.

peggjam
 

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I'm real clumsy with gloves but find most stings can bee eliminated (or at least it seems that way) using frame grips. Only use my gloves with removals. I have the cast aluminum grip from Kelley; appear "better" imho than the other types offered by other suppliers.

Lew
 

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Just as peggjam says, you don't need to inspect every frame of your hives. I typically just look into the top of the supers to see how many frames the bees are working on and how many have fully capped honey in them. I normally don't pull any of these out unless I am re-arranging them to try to get the outside frames towards the middle to try to get the bees to work on them.

As for the brood boxes, I typically remove the second frame in from the end in order to create enough space to slide the other frames over to get at the fourth or fifth frame. I'll then pull that one to check the brood pattern and to look for any disease problems. I normally pull the next one also to check it for the same items. If I don't see any problems I'll insert the frame back into place and slowly slide the other frames back to the middle so that I can reinsert frame number two back into position.

If I don't see anything wrong I'll go onto the next hive body and do the same. Total time in each box is maybe two or three minutes.

Like Lew Best I use the frame grips made by Kelley. Not to possibly reduce the amount of stings I receive, but because they give me a much firmer grip on the frame that I'm inspecting. Before using the grips I had a tendency to lose my grip on the frames when my hands were covered with honey or propolis and the girls didn't take kindly to even a short drop down onto the top of the hive I was inspecting. The frame grips also make it much easier to grab a frame and pull it out of the hive when the girls had it all covered with propolis on the ends.
 

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>1. I read that one shouldn't take too long to inspect the hive, i.e., leave the hive open longer than 15 minutes.

It's a good theory but moving slow is more important than getting done quickly. With practice you'll get faster and smoother.

> I have also read that one should be smooth, and slow in terms of movement. My one and only hive has two deeps and one shallow honey super. That makes 30 frames at one frame every 2 minutes.

Why look at every frame. Set all three boxes in seperate places and start with the one with the most bees in it. That's probably the one with the queen and the brood nest. The ones with honey, all you care is if they are full or not.

>2. I have read that it is preferable to work without gloves.

Not for me.


> As slow as I am moving, each time I go into my hive I get stung once on the hand. It's making me a little edgy.

If you're not comfortable without gloves, then put some on.

> I finally break down and put gloves on. Although they're a bit desensitizing, they certainly add a good degree of confidence.

Confidence is a good thing. I wear gloves most of the time.

>3. Do I need to remove the first honey super and replace it with an empty, or can I simply stack another one on top.

Either works. Do what is the easiest at the time. i like to put empties under IF I have a reason to remove the super in the first place. If not, then I put it on top. It's too much work to move that many supers around.

>I thought I might leave them the entire first honey super, and take the second for myself.

How many brood boxes are there? Of what depth? Here in Eastern Nebraska I'd happily overwinter them on two Deeps or three Mediums. Supers are for honey. Enjoy it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone for the terrific advice. I can't tell you how much I appreciate everyone taking the time to provide input. This forum is as rich as the beekeeping itself. Cheers to all of you.

Michael, my current setup is two deeps (9") with brood, and one medium (6") with honey on the way. I have another empty medium (just foundation) waiting in the wings.

The two deep and one medium pattern is what the local experts prefer. We'll if two deeps work in Eastern Nebraska, which I'm sure has the balmiest of winters, I imagine that the same will work here in frigid California.

DG
 

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>We'll if two deeps work in Eastern Nebraska, which I'm sure has the balmiest of winters, I imagine that the same will work here in frigid California.

LOL. Thanks for the laugh.


When I was at Newport Beach in February it was 50 degrees F and all the Californites were wearing coats and complaining about the cold.
Of course when we left Omaha for CA it was -10 F when we left. We were wearing shorts and thinking it was lovely.

>The two deep and one medium pattern is what the local experts prefer.

I wouldn't try to get you to ignore the advice of the locals. They live there and I don't. Its better that the bees have honey and don't need it than need it and not have it.
But my guess is you could get the bees to take feed 365 days a year?
 

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DG,

Monday and Tuesday of this week I had to go through 4 splits (2 each day) to find the queens so I could put in a new queen into the queenless split. Monday took and hour and half to find the queen, add the new one, and put the hives back together. What I did was use two manipulation Cloths (Brushy Mountain has them). I covered the body of the one I had looked at with one, and used the other one to expose the frames as I needed them. Worked great.

From what I learned on Monday, it only took 1/2 hour on Tuesday.

Pugs
 
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