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Discussion Starter #1
I am obviously a new bee keeper and seem to be having a few issues (I am currently awaiting a mentor to be assigned to me)

One is that I recently installed two nucs into separate hives (10 frames total; 2 queens) I had went out there about four days after to see if I could make sure that my queen's were there as well as to provide some sugar syrup.

During this first inspection, I had given a few puffs of smoke (not much) as well as a few puffs inside after I had opened the hive. This seemed to have no effect at all (as well as the fact that they seemed to speed up and get more angry after I smoked them) I tried to not be very "jerky" and was careful as I removed one of the frames to inspect to see if I could find the queen. The very minute that I did, they seemed to get very upset and swarm around me. Needless to say, I incured my first bee sting. So, I closed up and said I would wait until a later date.

Flash forward almost one week, I tried again and the same scenario (only no sting this time. Thank goodness!) They seemed VERY upset. Because of this, I really have no idea if there is a queen at this moment. Also, it has been almost two weeks since I have had them and they don't seem to be drawing out any more comb on any of the other frames (I use 8 frame hives) Is this normal? I would have figured that some of the other frames would have been drawn out by this time. I have tried to look into different literature that I have as to the time frame and none state exactly how long it should take.

Any input as to what I may be doing wrong to make them so mad or as to why they don't seem to be drawing out comb would greatly be appreciated!
Thank you!
 

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Make sure that the smoker itself is not too close to the bees because it will be too hot and irritating to them. As far as the queen situation, have you looked for any eggs? That is the best indicator if you can't find the queen.
 

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It is not uncommon for the two outside frames to take a long time to draw comb. When you smoke them, smoke the entrance, lift the cover, smoke the top, wait a few minutes, then open them up. Sometimes you will get a sentry checking you out for some time. If you acknowledge their presence it emboldens others to chase you out of the hive. I taught bee workshops last year without a veil. Bad only because I could not get those new beekeepers to wear veils around the teaching hive. This year I almost always wear a veil, unless a first-timer wants to get up close and they do not want to borrow the veiled jacket or full suit. What are you using for smoker fuel? I hope it is natural and cool. Inspecting from 10:00 to 2:00 helps because they are busiest foraging for food and daily activities.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I could have been smoking too closely to them possibly. Also, I would smoke the entrance and then immediately take off the cover, smoke again and then just go to work. Now, I will try to wait a little while. I have however been going in between the hours of 12-4. Thank you for the input. If I have any more issues, I will be sure to post!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
P.S. I have been using dryer lint for fuel as someone had recommended it. I am open to any suggestions that other's think may be more better suited.
 

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Often times bees do not respond well to perfumes, colognes, or other fragrances. It may be that residual fabric softener fragrences in the dryer lint may be stirring the bees up. I would use some other smoker fuel that has no possibility of having any residual fragrances.
 

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Most of the clothes we have are mixes of nylon, rayon, polyester and other synthetics mixed with cotton. I would be mean if somebody burned plastics in my face too because they are toxic. Lint makes a great fire starter but pine needles, dead rotten wood, grass clippings or things that grow might be safer. I used to use burlap but now it is hard to know it has not been treated or exposed to chemicals. Cardboard is bound with formaldehyde glues so that is not a good choice either.
 

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Most hardware stores sell burlap bags that works really well. I use the 1x2 cuttings from when I build my hives. Also scrap saw dust works well. I use an alcohol based starter I use on my bbq. Also you could use the wood pellets they sell at the store also. Then just put some grass on the top when it gets good and hot and you will have tons of smoke.
 

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As Honeycomb noted, don't worry about finding the queen. Look for eggs and larva. If you see those, you know the queen has been laying within the last few days.
 
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