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I just added my 2nd brood box ( 5wks since package install, first hive). When I inspect do I need to inspect the 2nd brood box, then take it off and inspect #1, as I write this it sounds like a stupid ?) or do I just inspect Box #2 as I'm assuming the queen has moved up and is laying there.
 

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Wouldn't hurt too much to do a complete inspection each time in the beginning. People say it disrupts the bees and yea it does somewhat, but you learn whats going on. After some time you can take shortcuts as you gain experience. Frequent and complete inspections can give you a familiarity with the temperment and mood of your hive. Just be gentle and go kinda slow and be deliberate. They feed off your mood too. If what you're doing is for the good of the colony, then you will be on the same page.
 

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i take an extra bottom board out with me and put the top super on it with the entrance at a 90 degree angle to the position of the hive. then i do a full inspection of the bottom super. once that is done i put the second super on the hive and inspect that. i switch the supers if the brood chamber has been moved to the top super, it helps releive congestion and reduces the likelyhood the queen will lay in the honey supers if you do not use a queen excluder.
 

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By this next midweek it'll be 3 weeks since i put the 2nd deep brood boxes on my two hives. I plan to do a through inspection of all boxes then, just so I know whether the queen still has enough accessible laying room, and whether things are getting crowded yet or not, or when I might need to put a super on. I myself can't really tell all this by only looking in the top boxes.
It'll also give me more experience and confidence by getting right into the heart of things. I wouldn't do such a full blown inspection every week though, for sure- the bees deserve to be able to reasonably work in peace without some giant yanking off the roof and moving all the furniture around every week! ;)
 

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once the bees up and running for the season you can usually tell if there is a problem just by watching them for a while. once i am comfortable that i have a right hive i only do a thorough inspection once a month unless i see something at the entrence that gives me alarm.
 

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Where I live, I wouldn't rotate the boxes this late in the year. Because the bees are starting to make a honey crown in the top box, getting their stores in order for winter.
We do rotate in the spring if all the brood is in the top box.
 

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You only need to pull the top box if you suspect something is amiss. If you check the frames and you have eggs and the bees are in the top super you don't need to dig further. If something is going on and you want to find out what then pull it, it won't hurt. Like suggested place it on something so the bottoms of the frames are not hitting something flat (like a flipped up top lid or flat board.) I usually just set the top box on its side (short side so the frames are parallel to the ground) The bees will stay in the box, nothing get crushed, and it's easy.
 

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80% of the action in a 2 box deep hive is going on in the upper deep. While I don't think that it hurts anything to look through the bottom one, I don't think that it will be long before you look at the top box and decide that it is too much trouble for what you might learn.

The times that I go through the bottom box are when I am requeening and she happens to be down there, or sometimes when I am making nucs.

I look in the spring when there are no bees down there to decide which frames to toss.

When you take off the top box (and maybe honey supers on top of that), you will find that the returning bees stack up and start overflowing the sides of your bottom box since they can't move on up.
 

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I usually just set the top box on its side (short side so the frames are parallel to the ground) The bees will stay in the box, nothing get crushed, and it's easy.
Can you clarify this a bit? I understand the part about the short side, but wouldn't the frames then be perpendicular to the ground? I'm a bit confused. Is there a picture somewhere?
 

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Sorry, you are right they would be perpendicular...up and down. Like this "IIII" is how you want them so they don't touch each other. I will take a pic and post it to my flicker account tonight and link it on here.
 

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So are you guys not worried about swarming or are you saying that there will never be swarm cells in the bottom box? I would like quicker inspections, but I don't want bees in the trees.
 

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Sorry, you are right they would be perpendicular...up and down. Like this "IIII" is how you want them so they don't touch each other. I will take a pic and post it to my flicker account tonight and link it on here.
I get it now, thanks! That's what I thought. I will use this method this week for my inspection! :)
 

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So are you guys not worried about swarming or are you saying that there will never be swarm cells in the bottom box? I would like quicker inspections, but I don't want bees in the trees.
If you want a quick check for swarm cells just use your hive tool to just pry the back part of your hive box free, tilt it up towards the front and take a look for swarm cells. Stand at 45 degrees off the front of the box. That way your knee will keep the front of the top box on the bottom box and you can bend down and see if there are swarm cells. No cells then lower and move on. A very quick way to check. Oh, I usually don't even remove the top for this type of inspection (swarm cell check)...less disturbance and quicker. I run two boxes and I haven't seen swarm cells on the bottom box yet. (doesn't mean they couldn't or if you are running some other kind of combination (deep/medium).
 

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You can have swarm cells in the bottom box, but I have never seen them there without many in the top box. If you don't see swarm cells like Alpha6 just described, you should be safe from swarming. Supercedure cells are another issue.
 
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