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Hi all,

Silly question, but what do you do with any mass of bees on inner covers, feeding apparatus, etc. when you inspect? When I am inspecting and need to get to the frames, I put the woodwork off to the side. Most of the time there are clumps of bees hanging out on it (~ 1-2 cups worth). They usually slowly fly off and (presumably) back into the hive because when I go to wrap things back up, most are not there any longer.

Should I brush them off into the hive before setting the woodwork aside? Will that raise the alarm level? My concern is that since I don't use a queen excluder, and rare of a chance as it may be, I might be leaving the queen out while inspecting. The hive entrance also gets a great deal busier with bees trying to get back in and admittedly it can be a little disconcerting when I am trying to stay focused on what I am doing.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated!
 

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I myself just bump them back into the hive. Hold the cover above the hive and jar it with your hand heavily knocking the bees back into the hive. Give em a little smoke and they will go right on down into the frames. The bees will be fine. You won't get every one of them but you should get enough to not worry with.
 

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I'm with drlonzo. Don't bang the woodenware on the hive (and personally I think bee brushes should be outlawed)...just shake the bees off and into the hive with a couple good shakes. Smoke does wonders. Set the rest aside. I will caution, I have found the queen on inner covers more times than I would have ever expected. Always, always look for her before you do anything else. As far as the busy entrance, do you have enough room to work from behind or to the side of the hive? It helps tremendously...both for your comfort, and the agitation of the bees if you are out of their way. Edited to add...Always look for their 'landing and take off runway' that day, and stay out of it. Foragers coming back full of nectar or loaded with pollen get pretty pissy when there's a person in the way of the landing board. :lookout:
 

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I will caution, I have found the queen on inner covers more times than I would have ever expected. Always, always look for her before you do anything else. :lookout:
I had one hive last year that on several inspections the queen was in a small ball of bee on the underside of telescoping cover....they were hanging through the hole in the inner cover. That is the only hive I have had do that, but it did it on several occasions.
 

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I am a complete Newbee, but, I just set the inner cover onto the telescoping cover I have set upside down, bees and all. I leave the inside cover right side up. Very first time I opened the hive, to make sure the queen was released, I was really surprised at how many bees were on the underside of the inside cover, tried to brush them off onto the frames..........BIG MISTAKE.
 

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> tried to brush them off onto the frames..........BIG MISTAKE.

Getting bees off is all about surprise. It is the opposite of gentle... the way to use a brush is sharp fast flicks. NEVER try to be gentle with a brush. Slow and gentle is not gentle, the bees hang on tighter and you push harder and they get angry... Shaking them off, jarring them off, these are easier. C.C. Miller called his technique "pounding the bees". You hang onto the frame (or the lid) with one hand and the equipment hanging from your hand and you hit that hand with your other hand.
 

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Michael Bush said it well about using a brush. I will add that the part of brushing that really hacks off the bees is when they're "rolled"...a gentle brushing will do that...kind of like removing a frame of bees and rolling bees in the process...it really puts them in an unladylike mood. Use short flicking motions of the bristles to catch them by surprise and they will pretty much go on about their business.

As for bees on the bottom of a cover, whether inner or top cover, I simply lean the cover (bee-side up) against the porch so that the cover forms an incline. I use bottom entrances and my bottom boards have porches. Bees have a tendency to "move up" to higher ground...the ones that don't fly off simply walk up the inner cover, cross over to the porch and go back inside the hive. Many times the cover is empty of bees by time I get through with what I'm doing in the hive.

Always inspect the bottom of the cover (inner or outer) as the queen (as previously stated) could very well be there. If I found here I would definitely make sure she goes back into the hive before I set the cover on the ground. It's also a good time to spot SHB that the bees may be herding and to give them the "pressure test".

Bottom line...check for the queen and then lean whatever has bees on it against the porch/entrance/hive.

Ed
 

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> tried to brush them off onto the frames..........BIG MISTAKE.

Getting bees off is all about surprise. It is the opposite of gentle... the way to use a brush is sharp fast flicks. NEVER try to be gentle with a brush. Slow and gentle is not gentle, the bees hang on tighter and you push harder and they get angry... Shaking them off, jarring them off, these are easier. C.C. Miller called his technique "pounding the bees". You hang onto the frame (or the lid) with one hand and the equipment hanging from your hand and you hit that hand with your other hand.
Thanks Mike!
 
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