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After never haven worked with bees, in my 53rd year, I built a top bar hive this winter. I built the hive based on the readily available Phil Chandler design with top bars based on the book "The Thinking Beekeeper" having the pointy triangular guide.
I incorporated a viewing window of plexiglass which was the only thing I really botched... I routed a lip for the window and glued it with gorilla glue. Since the weather has warmed up the plexiglass expanded differently than the wood and pulled away a bit toward the inside of the hive. I have decided to leave it as the bees don't mind and my only isssue is that a few bees come out that way when I open the wood cover to peek.. New design will be regular glass with a mount that allows for expansion... OK I ordered my bees early in winter (before the maple sap started flowing...) and picked them up on May 12. Since it was a nice evening I put them in the hive and pinned the queen cage to a top bar exopsed and drilled the candy plug etc...I gave them a quart of sugar water. The next few days it was very cold and the bees occupied a smaller and smaller sphere in the upper corner of the hive. finally it warmed up and the bees became active slowly feeding on the sugar water. On the 16th I checked the queen cage and she was out, so I got that out of there.so far so good. Then I did a minor inspection to ensure comb building was straight on the 20th before I had to go away for two weeks.
As you can imagine when I got home I was eager to see what was going on, so the day after I got home I did a full inspection of the hive. I was very pleased with what I found. There were six full bars of comb all straight along the guide and a start on 7 & 8 bars. One thing I didn't expect was a nice patch of comb on the back of the follower board facing the first comb. It didn't seem to interfere with anything so I left it alone..(Is this OK???) Most of the first several bars were full of capped brood with capped honey and pollen at the top. On the later bars I found uncapped larvae. Also on one bar I saw what I thought was one lone drone cell. (Is this possible / common??) I located her majesty on the last full comb doing her thing, which was a relief. Put everything back and took the sugar water out as the bees didn't seem interested in it anymore. I did leave it out several feet away from the hive in case t5hey wanted it still-- no takers as far as I can see. I have a number of wild cherry trees that were blooming when I got back but the bees zoom right away to parts unknown passing them all up. I am curious as to where they are going, but so far have been unable to tell.. They seem to be having a fine time of it coming pack with their little legs full of pollen. so no worries.
 

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Congratulations on your new hive and your first inspection! Sounds like everything is going along swimmingly for you. It's funny because I have black cherry trees and tons of clover, borage, etc. in my yard, but I hardly ever see my girls working it. I think I heard somewhere that they prefer to feed a certain distance from the hive. Or maybe they're like my kids who are not interested in what's in the fridge and would rather go out to eat.

BTW -- lone drone cell's happen/are common. But they can freak out new beeks because they look so big compared to the worker cells around them. Nothing to worry about, though.

Keep us updated!
 
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