Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry for 2nd post, I think this is a better place to ask.

This is my first year of beekeeping and I need some advices. I started from scratch, no foundation built whatsoever.

Personally, up until now, I was VERY EXCITED about this new hobby/side line/wanna be a semi-commercial if possible. So far as a new beekeeper, my inspections were going flawlessly up until today... I'm still excited but I got a very bad experience and I felt like ****.

FYI: I bought 2 nucs in june and I was focusing to reproduce bees and split, honey was NOT important for me this year.

But today, I did a throughout inspection of both hives. Each nucs now became 2 deep brood boxes (10 frames full of bees) and 1 empty deep super (combs barely started in the super).

Today I realized the WEIGHT of the boxes (OH , my GOD) this is SOOO heavy. I'm 330, 6 feet and I have shoulders bigger than a door frame. That being said, I'm pretty new with EVERYTHING. But to me, killing a bee is one too many. In my head I'm like there is no way I can inspect without killing so many bees and I wish I could be more delicate but I find it VERY difficult to do so. Although I want to be SUPER gentle with them, they are putting comb everywhere and sticking everything together so I feel like I'm invading their nest A LOT even though I want to be as gentle as possible. To me, this felt almost like a bear tearing up the whole place. It looked impossible for me to NOT crush so many of them, I'm ALWAYS scared to kill my queen when squeezing the frames together, when I'm stacking boxes one over the other and when I put my boxes over my top cover to inspect the bottom box.

So here's what I did : I did my inspection from top to bottom. Took the super off immediately without even looking because I couldn't see any comb (barely started). Then, I inspected the first brood box, and when I was done, I put the brood box on top of my super already sitting on my top cover. Then I checked the bottom brood box completely. Thing is, I couldn't find the queen at ALL in my last 2 inspections, although I checked the 20 frames of brood in each hive. Before, I was able to find them without ANY problem, but now it's like a mystery I can't solve... I was able to find eggs, so I'm not too worried but I'm still ALWAYS worried until I don't clearly identify where she's at. I wish I could just cage her and keep moving with my inspection and relax while I'm doing this.

That being said, when I tried to put back everything together, they were ALL around the place, they were like an ice cream cone melting on the side of the cone. When putting the hive back together, even though I was smoking a lot to clear the top area to put the 2nd brood box back in place, they were immediately back laying around the edges of my bottom box. I tried to do it quick but once I lifted the 2nd brood box it was SOOOO F. heavy I had no choice to put it back on so many bees and resulting of smashing bees again. :( Also, it's taking me forever to inspect only 2 hives I can't imagine having like 40 of them right now to be honest.

I feel like ****, I feel like I lost a bit of my orientation while I was inspecting the hives, this felt so overwhelming after the inspection although I felt very confident up until now. I felt discouraged and I wish I would have been better to find my queen and not stress so bad to kill my queen and bees during my inspection.

I'm ready to get roasted if you feel the need to. But man, let me know what you guys think, any advice/recommendations/questions...?

Am I the only one to feel like that, am I doing this the wrong way?

Let me know and thank you in advance for those caring to help!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
739 Posts
Well, the best time to do a real thorough inspection is before you put the supers on. And you don't need to do a complete inspection of every frame in every box. I have queens I never see, little buggers hide real good, but if I see teeny larva, big larva, capped brood, and baby bees, I don't worry about finding the queen, I know she's in there somewhere. I only do a 'complete' inspection, maybe 3 times a year at most, early spring, and maybe again before I put supers on, and in the fall. Other than that I only inspect once every week or 2, just a quick look see, I might look at a few frames in the top box, take it off, then check a few frames in the second box.

When I first got my hives, I got overwhelmed too, but you will get into a routine, and it'll get easier. Oh, and when you place the box back down, set it down catty corner, and then shift it so it is inline with the box under it, you can do it slow, so the bees will move out of the way, if you can picture what I mean.

Good luck, and you'll be fine, just takes time to get the rhythm perfected.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,817 Posts
Beekeeping is a bit complex to learn, involving how to manage swarming, honey production, pest management, re queening, etc, Take one step at a time. Another thing is to understand bees are bugs, not people or even little puppies. They will get squished. You will learn how to manage in a way to minimize that.

One thing about the heavy deeps, if you are feeding them a lot, they may be filled with sugar syrup more than necessary, which would make them heavier than they need to be. When they are mostly full of brood they aren't so heavy. Also, consider using all mediums instead of deeps. I like that the best since every frame can go anywhere in the hive. That makes swarm managing easier for me too. A deep filled with honey is no picnic to lug around. There's no rule that brood needs to be in deeps. 3 mediums are equal to 2 deeps. Just takes more pieces. There are 8 frame boxes too, but I didn't like them too much. The stack can get very tall, and swarm control is harder. When placing a box back on a hive, go down with it turned at an angle to the other box and slowly turn it as you settle it down. Once on the other box, turn it strait with the lower box slowly and the bees will generally move away as the two boxes slide together.

About finding the queen, don't worry about seeing it. I never really look for the queen unless I want to remove it with a split, but I see them sometimes if I happen to pick up the frame it's on. Look for the signs it's there doing it's business. It's going to take a while before you understand the signs, but first one is eggs. Eggs mean it was around 3 days ago at least. More than eggs, you will learn to see the whole pattern of brood and determine if everything is good or not. There's a pattern of brood as they are laid generally in the enter of a frame outward over a few days. There will be capped brood maybe, out to open brood, out to very small open brood with just a smear of white liquid visible, then eggs, maybe even further to empty cells waiting for the queen to get to them. Once the center brood emerges, eggs again will be laid there and the pattern continues. You will see frames in different stages of brooding. You don't need to remove every frame, and you shouldn't anyway to minimize the disturbance. A few choice frames pulled to check, and you can see a lot. You will eventually learn to see signs of swarm prep and be able to convince them they aren't ready to swarm. Again, over time you will start to get it if you continue pursuing knowledge about them. You are not going to understand it all at once. Gonna take a few years. Someone could type out everything you need to know and you won't remember most of it till you experience a situation where you need the knowledge and go looking for it.

You will have failures for sure. You may squish a queen or loose it off a frame and never see it again, like I did a couple weeks ago. They will swarm, absolutely. Get back on the horse and continue the ride. Ask specific questions and don't try to figure it out all at once.

Semi commercial, you won't have time to worry about smashing a bee or seeing a queen unless you need to find it for some specific reason. Don't concern yourself with going commercial or selling queens, etc. Just learn about the bees right now and enjoy them. They are complex and amazing creatures created to do what they do. You can learn their ways and figure out how to manage them to your liking. I used to take a long time poking through a hive since it was enjoyable to see it all. Now, unless I am taking off honey or splitting off a queen, I get in and out in a few minutes unless I have time to spare. The more you learn about bees, the less time you need to inspect. Eventually you may get to know each colony and where they are at, so a quick inspection will give you the info you need that day.

Hang in there. A mentor would be good too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,551 Posts
shrekpower
I have been at this a few years and DanialD gave me lots of helpful advice along the way. But even with that and knowing the advice was always good but the listener not so much, you are not the only one who feels like he is doing stuff the wrong way. Looking often lets me know how little I still know. Enjoy it and be thankful that you probably won't run out of interesting things with these bugs.

I do use all mediums also and when it is as a honey super, I still can't lift it very well. I look up to those that can though.
Good luck.
gww
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Remain excited - you have discovered a fascinating hobby, that should be fun, not work.

First thought, 8-frame boxes usually weigh less than 10-frame equipment.

As you do more inspections, you will become less intrusive. You do not need to inspect every frame, nor do you have to find the queen.

No one likes to kill bees, but there are tactics that can help prevent bee deaths. When replacing a box on the hive, place in on ****eyed so that box sides only touch in four (4) small points. Then rotate the top box slowly to the proper orientation - the bees have the opportunity to get out of the way.

Smoke will not corral all your bees; too much smoke can cause even more commotion.

When doing inspections, always remove one (1) frame (I usually remove frame 2 after checking for the queen - hang on frameholder or upright leaning against the hive). Then you have more room to inspect each frame in turn, without fear of rolling queens, or other bees. Slowly separate frames, and then slowly lifting each frame to inspect kills less bees, and is less intrusive.

If your bees are getting roiled up, time to quit inspecting; you can start all over when both bees and beekeeper have the right attitude.

I never regretted picking 8-frame equipment, and inspections should be fun, and as to duration, shorter rather than longer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
613 Posts
You're getting good advice here, Just wanted to say that I inspect my 22 hives today in about the same time I did 2 during my first year (about 5 years ago?). And i expect next year I will be better again. You will get faster as you learn to "see better," and you will learn how to kill less bees.

Trust me on this.
 

·
Registered
6a 4th yr 7 colonies inc. resource hive
Joined
·
637 Posts
That you care as much as you do means you will be a great beekeeper. They are innocents in your care. Nothing wrong with a big awareness like this. It simply means that choosing the right equipment that protects your back and is kind to the bees is important to you.

PS- I use cover cloths and a quiet box for all inspections. Cover cloths are draped over the boxes and keeps the bees quiet and less stressed. The quiet box is where I offload frames to keep them protected from the sun and robbing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,409 Posts
There are established ways of dealing with box-weight issues and being overwhelmed by a larva-flow of bees - but unfortunately it takes us into the murky world of 'alternative' beehives ... :)

I run both vertical and horizontal hives - the verticals I try to keep as far as possible to no more than two-boxes(*). This often means having an extra-deep bottom box - but this never gets lifted. Likewise with the horizontals - the box never gets lifted (except when empty) - only ever the frames, one at a time.

I guess you'd call me an 'oversize' guy too - but at my age and height there's no way I would ever want to tackle tall stacks when there are proven alternatives available.

Keep going - but as you do, suggest you question what you're doing, and why you're doing it. You don't have to copy other people - unless it suits you to do so.
LJ

(*) One exception being 5-frame nuc-stacks, which can climb to as high as 5 deep boxes (4 plus a feeder shell) - but these are lightweight and a breeze to work with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,817 Posts
Just wanted to say that I inspect my 22 hives today in about the same time I did 2 during my first year (about 5 years ago?). And i expect next year I will be better again. You will get faster as you learn to "see better," and you will learn how to kill less bees.
Same story here. I was also just too fascinated with the bees and stayed in them way to long looking at everything. My first swarm caught hive didn't go anywhere, I assumed later it was because I inspected every 2 or 3 days, and every frame once or twice, and I always had to find the queen. It wasn't much to begin with but it didn't have a chance with me nosing around all the time.

You should probably hear some of everyone else's beginner stories.
 

·
Registered
5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
Joined
·
2,529 Posts
So to start with "what was the inspection for"
Lets say to see if you are "queen rite" then at the point of the first frame with eggs, small larvae, you are done, button up and go to the next hive.
If checking for room/needing a super, maybe crack the lid look in and add, do not add, you are done.

I rarely need to do a frame by frame inspection. To do a frame by frame just to do it is ok a few time but, I in general , have a need, I go until the need is realized, then am done.

you spoke about the inspection, but not a word about why you inspected. When you have had more time inspecting , you see things faster, and/or do not need to see every frame to confirm what you need to know.
I would mostly inspect for:
need to feed
queen rite
space
swarming
maybe supersedure.

rare I would need more than 2 or so of the reasons, then once confirmed , I am done

keep in mind every inspection has the risk of squashing the queen, I have done it, the exact way you described your inspection. By checking frames in the top of two brood boxes. when I removed the top brood box to see in the bottom one, she was dead on one of the top bars. Most frames have connecting bur comb at the bottom, When the frame is re inserted the bees can be crushed under the frame. I now remove the box in 1 shot to a extra bottom or top with a shallow super on it for space. Putting the frames back then has air under them. Smoke the top bars, smoke the bottoms then replace with minimal bees in the gap. Also working away from the hive will cause less agitation.

GG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,009 Posts
........
Today I realized the WEIGHT of the boxes (OH , my GOD) this is SOOO heavy. ......
This is why I am actively pursuing horizontal hives and small-format vertical hives.
No amount of honey is worth the broken back or injured shoulder.
Honey is way too cheap to bother with if you end up with medical bills and (worse) unrecoverable injuries.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I would like to thank EVERYONE that shared their thoughts on my experience, I read them all and this is a great community and I took great note of ALL your advices.

THANK YOu!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
When replacing a box on the hive, place in on ****eyed so that box sides only touch in four (4) small points. Then rotate the top box slowly to the proper orientation - the bees have the opportunity to get out of the way.
Take note of the above suggestion, but it's easier to understand if you see it done. I tried a few keywords on YouTube, but I gave up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
878 Posts
As I your post I read you have to cut out a lot of comb they drew in different places. Are you foundationless? If you are going foundationless then you will need to use a comb guide for them to start. I have found that a small strip of wax (about 1/2" or so is sufficient) gives them the guide to start. I have done 2 things. I bought foundation w/o wires, cut it to the size I wanted and put that in a frame with a wedged top bar. That was a great comb guide. The other thing once I had wax to melt I made my own strips w/o having cells in them. This has worked well also. Lastly I have read and experienced some that if I orient the frames east / west then they will draw more burr comb. If they are North / South then they seem to draw it straighter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,467 Posts
Unless I missed it, I didn't see any mention of how to replace boxes and kill fewer bees. When you set your outer cover on the ground or a stand, whever place it upside down. When you pull that super or 1st deep, place it kitty corner on the cover, so that there are only 4 small points of contact. Repeat with any other boxes you take off. Do the same when putting the hive back together. Put the box kitty corner on the one that's already one the hive stand, then taking a little weight off, rotate it slowly into place. That way you aren't just dropping it on top of all the bees on the edge. As you rotate, some bees will be pushed inside the box and some outside.
If you are going to put it on in line, you need to hold it tilted and just put the edge of the box on the edge of the hive, lower the other end almost all the was down and slide it into place, like closing a drawer, using the most care when you are almost all the way on..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
The OP mentioned killing bees while replacing his boxes.

When putting the hive back together, even though I was smoking a lot to clear the top area to put the 2nd brood box back in place, they were immediately back laying around the edges of my bottom box. I tried to do it quick but once I lifted the 2nd brood box it was SOOOO F. heavy I had no choice to put it back on so many bees and resulting of smashing bees again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
395 Posts
This is why I am actively pursuing horizontal hives and small-format vertical hives.
No amount of honey is worth the broken back or injured shoulder.
Honey is way too cheap to bother with if you end up with medical bills and (worse) unrecoverable injuries.
We've got several medium boxes with permanent bottoms and hinged tops purposely designed and used to transfer 'frames' of honey (because full supers are too heavy), swarms and small colonies of bees. Having some extra boxes around when inspecting your colonies is good practice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Sorry for 2nd post, I think this is a better place to ask.

This is my first year of beekeeping and I need some advices. I started from scratch, no foundation built whatsoever.

Personally, up until now, I was VERY EXCITED about this new hobby/side line/wanna be a semi-commercial if possible. So far as a new beekeeper, my inspections were going flawlessly up until today... I'm still excited but I got a very bad experience and I felt like ****.

FYI: I bought 2 nucs in june and I was focusing to reproduce bees and split, honey was NOT important for me this year.

But today, I did a throughout inspection of both hives. Each nucs now became 2 deep brood boxes (10 frames full of bees) and 1 empty deep super (combs barely started in the super).

Today I realized the WEIGHT of the boxes (OH , my GOD) this is SOOO heavy. I'm 330, 6 feet and I have shoulders bigger than a door frame. That being said, I'm pretty new with EVERYTHING. But to me, killing a bee is one too many. In my head I'm like there is no way I can inspect without killing so many bees and I wish I could be more delicate but I find it VERY difficult to do so. Although I want to be SUPER gentle with them, they are putting comb everywhere and sticking everything together so I feel like I'm invading their nest A LOT even though I want to be as gentle as possible. To me, this felt almost like a bear tearing up the whole place. It looked impossible for me to NOT crush so many of them, I'm ALWAYS scared to kill my queen when squeezing the frames together, when I'm stacking boxes one over the other and when I put my boxes over my top cover to inspect the bottom box.

So here's what I did : I did my inspection from top to bottom. Took the super off immediately without even looking because I couldn't see any comb (barely started). Then, I inspected the first brood box, and when I was done, I put the brood box on top of my super already sitting on my top cover. Then I checked the bottom brood box completely. Thing is, I couldn't find the queen at ALL in my last 2 inspections, although I checked the 20 frames of brood in each hive. Before, I was able to find them without ANY problem, but now it's like a mystery I can't solve... I was able to find eggs, so I'm not too worried but I'm still ALWAYS worried until I don't clearly identify where she's at. I wish I could just cage her and keep moving with my inspection and relax while I'm doing this.

That being said, when I tried to put back everything together, they were ALL around the place, they were like an ice cream cone melting on the side of the cone. When putting the hive back together, even though I was smoking a lot to clear the top area to put the 2nd brood box back in place, they were immediately back laying around the edges of my bottom box. I tried to do it quick but once I lifted the 2nd brood box it was SOOOO F. heavy I had no choice to put it back on so many bees and resulting of smashing bees again. :( Also, it's taking me forever to inspect only 2 hives I can't imagine having like 40 of them right now to be honest.

I feel like ****, I feel like I lost a bit of my orientation while I was inspecting the hives, this felt so overwhelming after the inspection although I felt very confident up until now. I felt discouraged and I wish I would have been better to find my queen and not stress so bad to kill my queen and bees during my inspection.

I'm ready to get roasted if you feel the need to. But man, let me know what you guys think, any advice/recommendations/questions...?

Am I the only one to feel like that, am I doing this the wrong way?

Let me know and thank you in advance for those caring to help!
_
.
Yup been there done that. I did and felt the same way in the past ! can not give you an answer other than that the coordination and confidence will come in time.
I dont know how high you have your hives but I made a platform about a foot high and about six feet long, that way I have plenty of room to put hives down onto, take your time ! yes I found it a lot more work than anticipated too, I think your on the right track, just take your time.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top