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I did my first inspection ever today and as part of my record keeping I took some photos. I installed two packages in my hives last Friday and I had yet to go in and check if the queens were released. Between work and the rain I just hadn't gotten to it until today. I had left a large space on one side of the center frame so the workers would have better access to the queen cage that I had rubber banded to the side. I was worried about how much brace comb I was going to have to scrape off after 8 days. So before we left for Easter brunch today I suited up and made a quick inspection.

I had a little trepidation about starting the smoker but it turned out to be no problem. Admittedly I cheated a little by dropping a small piece of a fire starter wax cube in with the wood chips. That seemed to get it going no problem.

Once I got the outer cover off on the first hive, removed the feeder and got a look down through the inner cover, I could see that yes, there was going to be some brace comb.



I took the top cover off without any issues; the hive tool wasn't even needed. But I was a little surprised by just how much "brace" comb there was. I now can understand why people go foundation-less. The bees had made an almost complete comb running down the middle of the hive. It was a beautiful pure white and fortunately it didn't seem to have any eggs or stores in it yet.



I scraped this thing of beauty off the bottom of the inner cover and put it next to the hive. I'm not sure if the bees will reclaim the wax or if I should just make myself a small bee's wax candle.

I continued the inspection and everything looked pretty good to my eyes. The outer two frames on each side of the eight frames had nothing on them except the trace beginnings of being drawn out. But the next two frames were about a third of the way drawn out.



The center four were each about 50 percent of the way drawn out. And thankfully the queen cage was empty and the queen was released.



When looking around the center most frames I spotted her majesty tending to her duties. She was a lovely dark color and was easily twice as long as the other bees.



She seemed to sense I was checking her out and quickly slipped to the other side of the frame. Long live the queen!



The second hive was much like the first. A nearly complete comb hanging in the space next to the queen cage. This one was stiff enough to support itself when I set the inner cover down.



The frames were drawn out much as the first hive had been but I didn't see the queen in this hive. I did however see some capped cells. I'm not sure if these are brood or capped stores. Can anyone else tell from this pic? They were on the center frames, so I am hoping brood.



I had to cut the second inspection short as I was now officially late for Easter brunch and my wife was getting irate. I didn't see any eggs but didn't really look hard for them. That's something I'll have to concentrate on in my next inspection.
 

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Looks good to me! The pic you ask about has capped brood on it. If you look near the bottom of the pic to the right and middle bottom you will notice grubs inside the cells that are almost old enough to cap. Your hive is in good shape. Not to mention you have a bee in the middle of the capped brood are that is feeding a larva as well. Pretty good queen and bees you have there.
 

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Bee-utiful, great pictures. I'm about to go crazy waiting till time to go pick up my packages. Please continue to post pictures of your future inspections.
 

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That black queen is beautiful! Thanks for showing us that.

I think that first hive, like you said, is a very good example of why people go foundationless. While they're slowly pulling out your foundation at a snails pace, they've already made a lovely sheet of useable comb without any foundation at all.

If I were you, I would pop a piece of foundation out of a frame and rubber band that piece of comb in the frame so the bees can use it.

Those are some pretty bees. Thanks for sharing!
 

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So I was totally wrong about frame-less comb not having eggs in it. Taking a look at it again under better light, I could see lots of eggs.

 

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Oh MY and what a pattern! I could not for sure say that the caped cells were brood. It would be rather unlikely in 8 days, unless the queen was immediately released and began laying from egg to capped worker brood is usually 9 days and the cells had to be drawn. but there is clearly larva present in the pic. Good job
 

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Nice photos. I do think I have had a queen that dark. Most of mine seem to be a lite amber color, somtimes a little red mixed in. Kind of neat for me to see one that black.
 

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Great going! I'm on the same schedule you are! Installed two nucs and also going foundationless. I was lucky enough not to have any cross-comb. Like other said...I'd clip or rubberband comb to a frame and stick it back in somewhere. On mine, they filled in both hives each, two full sheets and a half on the no foundation frames. The one plastic frame that came with each nuc that had been barely touched in each nuc was still barely touched. Thinking in two weeks when I go back in, I'm gonna pull that out and replace with a foundationless frame. I never saw my queen in either one and it was kinda cloudy so I never saw eggs. I did see larva so I'll take that as a good sign. I did notice that there was a lot of either nectar or sugar-syrup everywhere so I pulled the feeders off. (tell me I did right on this....they had been feed for a week on 1:1 syrup but looks like they may not need it) So if in two weeks if they've filled out more......I guess I can throw on a super and see if how they do with that. My son thought it was kinda funny that on some cross comb filled with honey that I had busted open when I took off the top feeder....the bees were lined up like cattle at a trough drinking all that up.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the encouragement and feedback everybody! I will continue to post inspection notes here as it is much more fun then just journaling them for myself. MajorJC, I hope to see some pics from your install soon. Santa Caras & JStinson, I will put that piece of comb back in and see what a happens. I'll let you know how it turns out.
 

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So I was totally wrong about frame-less comb not having eggs in it. Taking a look at it again under better light, I could see lots of eggs.

What a super photo!!
 

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Nice photos. I do think I have had a queen that dark. Most of mine seem to be a lite amber color, somtimes a little red mixed in. Kind of neat for me to see one that black.
My Queens that have seen are very black however the workers and drones are also quite dark. It is interesting that your Queen is darkish yet your bees are amber coloured...should help with spotting her.
 
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