You can do it either way, but I find it much easier to remove an outer frame and lean it up against the front of the hive. I can then pry the other frames apart, and in most cases I can see anything I need to without actually removing them from the box. Less upset to the bees and far less chance of rolling the queen. I can also handle uneven comb better this way, although I've learned to control that before it gets so bad I cannot pull frames.
You can also buy a metal frame that hooks onto the box so you can hang frames outside while inspecting, but I've been stung enough by getting my overly large belly in contact with boxes, etc that I'm not enthused by that idea. An occasional single sting is one thing, forgetting that frame and squeezing several dozen bees at once is not an attractive idea!
I'm not big on looking at every single frame unless I have a reason too, although beginners probably should for a while until they know what things are supposed to look like.
Not many people can pull a frame from the main brood (center) without "rolling the bees”. If one of those bees happens to be the queen? Big time setback. Hence the advice to always take the furthest outside frame first, to give more room when bringing a frame up for inspection.
Odds are the outside frame is either empty or honey stores. Extremely low odds the queen is there to begin with. Hence it is the,"safest first frame". Always take a second to move all the frames to opposite side carefully, then move frame closest to you about halfway between outside wall and rest of frames. Then carefully lift out. Now you have ample room further in if you slide frames closest to you after inspection.
Even if you only have 4 or 5 frames of brood, this is still a very IMPORTANT habit to develop. May you have fewer squished queens than your friend!
Haha, you must have propolis free bees if you can move the frames without prying them up first! Mine are glued down quite securely and there is no option of pushing them anywhere without prying them loose first! I have to pry the first one sideways and then use the hook on the hive tool to lift them.
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