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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2 questions BEFORE inspection so I know what to do once I'm there in case either of these two pop up (as I've read they have for other new beekeepers)

1. If I find queen cells for any reason, should I scrape them off? In class we were told to make sure the queen isn't dead before scraping queen cells but what if I can't find her (just in case the q cells don't mean they are replacing a dead queen and not swarming)?

2. If there is burr comb should I just go ahead and scrape that? What if the burr comb has brood in it (as I've seen in some photos)?

Otherwise I'll assume things will go normally :p
 

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Tell us a bit more? Is it a 1 or 2 story hive? nuc? package installation? first or second season? (I'd assume first, but you know about assumptions...lolol) how long since first inspection? How many hives do you have, and do you have equipment for another? How many frames did the bees occupy last inspection?
Regards,
Steven
 

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JMO

1. No, chances are you will not be successful in preventing or stopping the natural course of the colony. Bee's build queen cells for two reasons, a) propagation and b) self preservation. Odds are you will miss a queen cell and they will swarm anyways.

I see this as a opportunity for a beekeeper to make a split or increase. Take a nuc or a full size with you and if you find the original queen, put her and a frame of honey in the extra box. A frame of capped brood will allow her to have new bee's and you don't have to put the nuc that far away, but put something in front of the entrance to force the bee's to re-orientate themselves and stay with the queen.

If you have more that one frame with queen cells, take the extras and put them in a nuc.

2. No, burr comb has a purpose and the bees will just build it back. Now if you like spitting or peeing into the wind, knock yourself out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have a one story hive. The package was installed on April 22. I did the inspection 10 days ago tomorrow. Unfortunately it has been cold and wet so they haven't been doing much of anything for nearly a week. Yes, this is the first year. Last inspection they had completely drawn out about 3-5 frames. It seemed to me things were moving much faster than we were taught about in class. They said it would be 4-6 weeks before we needed to add the 2nd hive body but it felt like they were a bit ahead of schedule.
 

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The odds are you will not find a queen cell. And if you installed them on foundation, or foundationless, there should not be any burr comb. Be sure to check all the frames for eggs, larvae, etc etc. It will help you learn. Look especially for the queen, so you can become aware of what she looks like, how she moves, her "court" etc. See if you can see any drones also. Probably not, yet, but you never know. By now you should even begin to see new bees emerging from their cells... if that's the case, and depending upon your weather (cold temps) the hive should really take off now.

If they have 8 of 10 frames drawn, I'd add the second brood box. The reason is I'd rather them have too much room, than not enough. Especially as we're encouraging them to draw comb quickly. You should keep feeding them until they've drawn all the brood comb - if in deeps, 2 deeps, if in mediums, three mediums.

Oh! As far north as you are, be aware of the temperature. You don't want to run the risk of chilling brood during the inspection...though I'm not sure it would be that cold now where you are. Your call on that. If temp is warm enough and you can loiter in the hive, look at the different colors of pollen. In fact, if you've not yet done it, spend some time watching the entrance, and observe the pollen sacs on the hind legs.

They are amazing little creatures, and you've embarked on quite an adventure! Enjoy, and good luck!
Regards,
Steven
 

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I have been too quick to destroy queen cells. Is your queen marked?

Try going in without smoke, or with just a wisp.

For me, I usually clean up the bridge/burr comb (often w/brood). If it requires using a lot of smoke for your comfort I would just remove the worst and button things up.

And how about that frame spacing? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
And how about that frame spacing?
I'm worried about the frame spacing since I messed that up a bit on first inspection :s Push all frames together in center this time right?

Thanks for all the help everyone. I'll be bringing the 2nd hive body with me just in case then. I'll try to find the queen again. Unfortunately she isn't marked. I'll try not to rush and see what I can find. Last time there was lots of capped brood, maybe they've emerged now.
 

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Michelle, don't worry too much about seeing the queen, she can be hard to find. Look for eggs and very young larva. If you see those you will know she was there and active in the last few days, and there should be no reason to worry. Adrian.
 

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Good luck! :)

move gently, take your time. Double check everything in place before you close up and leave.

I did my 2nd big inspection of my 2 new hives a few days ago (on their 12th day after installing nucs), and I found that a discrete puff of smoke every few minutes really kept them calm. We all stayed calm and I took my time in both hives. It went really well and it helped my confidence so much.
That in contrast to my 1st inspection a week before that with no smoke- when they slowly got more and more agitated while I was taking out and checking frames...finally they got obviously angry and I had to close up way too quickly and get the heck out of there! :cool:
 
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