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Okay, I bought a established colony about 2 weeks ago. It's 2 deep supers and a shallow. They seem to have settled in to their new location.

Question: When I open the hive to check, do I open all of the supers? How many frames do I pull out? What am I looking for?
 

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Look for a fair amount of honey and brood. Once you see that you can stop, or keep looking to learn. Report back if you don't see plenty of nectar/honey and some brood. If it looks like the top shallow is all honey (likely) just lift it off, set it aside, and look for the brood in the lower boxes.
 

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I'd only look for eggs, if you have eggs, you have a queen. As soon as you see a nice egg pattern just back out and button up the hive, no need to look futher.
 

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As a newbie open it up and learn. As
peggjam said, once you see eggs, back
off. There is always a danger or killing
the queen when you lift frames up in a
busy colony. Lift the frames straight up
and very slowly to allow the bees on that
frame to disperse as you lift. Slow and
gentle...... always.
 

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A trick I learned here: gently blow on the bees and they will move out of your way so you can see the cells/eggs.
 

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Also if the hive has 10 frames in it I like to pull out the frame against the side wall set it aside (don't put back in the hive this will give you room to pull out the next frame with out rolling up the bees as you lift up the next frame)the place that 2nd frame next to the hive wall this keeps a little extra space for pulling out each consecutive frames THIS will help from smashing the Queen
 

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I do the same as Velbert. The very outer frame
is usually honey storage. USUALLY..... It helps
to prevent rolling the queen.
 

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Hobie, you can cut critical years off of your learning curve by hooking up with your local beekeepers association and making a few friends in your area.
For example, we have a mentor program here in the Willamette Valley. As a new beekeeper, you call your mentor and say, "Hey! can you come over this weekend so we can inspect a hive together?"
Or maybe he or she will call and ask you if you want to spend a day plowing through hives in the field.
Don't try to learn it all by your lonesome.
There are people all around you ready to help you off to a good start.
:cool:
 

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"we have a mentor program here in the Willamette Valley."

These are good programs, with good beekeeps willing to spend some time walking a newbee through hive inspections and other problems that might come up. It would be a good idea for you to hook up with someone. I'm a bit east of you, about 4 hours worth, or i'd help you out.
 
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