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Newbee here, one hive, started with three pound package in mid April, medium eight frame hive box. They're up to five medium boxes now, one so full of honey (almost all capped) that I can hardly lift it.

So I opened the hive today. Top box, good progress drawing comb. (just added it last week.) next box, heavy with honey. Next box I peeked at the top of the frames and saw capped honey. Box very heavy. So I assumed (mistakes start here) since it was a lower storey that it had a pretty good chance of being ready. Bottom two boxes brood. I outbox five in the three position, box four in the four position, a bee escape, then pulled a frame to show my husband our capped honey. Only it was capped honey and sealed brood. So I went to take off the escape, by now swarming with bees. Took it off anyway, put box three in the five position, closed up hive, put bee-covered escape by hive entrance. They're off the escape now, but on the landing in front of the entrance there are a couple of piles of bees, just all on top of each other, moving a little. It's not hot, actually breezy, and there was a brief shower after I shut the hive.

Sorry to take so long in the retelling. What are they doing? Every time I open the hive I'm sure I've killed the queen. I hate the way I crunch bees when I put boxes on, and drop frames, and bang things, and drip honey everywhere. I always suspect the worst, like balling. I found a flea beetle in the hive and was sure it was a small hive beetle till an expert told me no.

(All that said, I love my bees and I'm enjoying this adventure! Or addiction, maybe.)
 

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The second paragraph was a bit confusing [to me]. Of course, you know now that any box that you want to remove for honey must not have any brood or capped brood in it [or very few cells at most] before putting any bee escape under it. You can check this by looking underneath when the box is tilted up at an angle [if not too crowded with bees], but looking at most of the frames individually is better.

"I hate the way I crunch bees when I put boxes on, and drop frames, and bang things, and drip honey everywhere."

You have to smoke the bees away from the top edges of the boxes; a few puffs should do it and it works for 5-10-15 seconds. Not much you can do about the bees underneath the box. I find brushing only irritates them and doesn't work fast enough or last long. As far as banging and dropping :eek:, just try and relax more, work smoothly, and those things should become less frequent over time.

"What are they doing?"

I don't know. At times, probably asking the beekeeper the same thing.

"All that said, I love my bees and I'm enjoying this adventure!"

Well, that's good :).
 

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I completely agree with you...I cringe everytime I hear that crunching sound and the box has a "soft" feel to it rather than the harder wood on wood feel when you set the box down.

I found the turning the box sideways a little bit and then simply sliding the box to realign with the box underneath that I crush far fewer bees. It takes patience but it works better.

I agree with the idea of smoking the bees away from the edges as well. Brushing doesn't work so well.

I have personally found that you can move bees around by breathing on them and blowing air on them. I will tell you that they hate carbon dioxide and while it will move them, it will also simultaneously set them off and they will fly into your veil instantly. It's a defense mechanism. I'd stick with smoke and off-setting the boxes and then realigning. You can get them to move by blowing on them but at a high cost.
 
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