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Author Topic: Hive Inspection Question  (Read 1483 times)

Offline Moonshae

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Hive Inspection Question
« on: July 09, 2007, 09:09:15 PM »
Ok, I installed two packages into hives back in May. The deeps are nor exploding full of brood, so I added a second deep to each. HOWEVER, when I inspected the first deeps, the bees seemed to form huge knots on the frames I removed, so that they would not fit back into the hive without rolling bees. I made the openings as large as possible for the last frames, but I ended up killing a lot of bees (saw the cleaners carrying body after body out of the hive the next morning, and there was a pile).

When I did my first couple inspections, and there were empty frames, replacing the last frame was easy. How do you do it with a large population without killing a lot of bees? Any time I've tried to "shake" bees off anything (inner cover, frames, etc) swinging the object down 12" and stopping abruptly just angry them off and had me dodging to avoid angry bees...they certainly didn't just plop into the hive and crawl inside. I'd be super hesitant to try to do this with a frame full of bees, considering the picture I just posted about my reaction to my most recent sting.

Thoughts? Advice?

Thanks!
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Offline 2-Wheeler

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Re: Hive Inspection Question
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2007, 11:21:39 PM »
Moonshae,
Welcome to beekeeping!

Here's a shot inside one of our hives after removing 4 frames.



Now with that many bees, some may get "pinched" when you put the frame back in. Putting the first three back in is no problem, but when you get the last one, I use some smoke first to clear it somewhat, then just push it in very slowly.  It seems to work without much collateral damage.  Others may have more advice.

Enjoy the bees (and the honey too!)
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Online kathyp

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Re: Hive Inspection Question
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2007, 11:47:36 PM »
i pull one or two frames from the ends.  that way i can separate, pull, and replace the middle frames without killing to many.  i gently push the middle frames back together and put the end, or next to end frames that i have taken out, back in.  it's ok to take those outside frames completely out and set them aside while you check the brood and stores.

DO NOT put them down by your feet.  i only mention such an obvious thing because i did it once.  bees up the pants are a most unfortunate thing!!   :-D
.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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Offline Moonshae

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Re: Hive Inspection Question
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2007, 12:03:53 PM »
Here's a shot inside one of our hives after removing 4 frames.

Mine are not quite this full inside, but close.

Enjoy the bees (and the honey too!)

Thanks, I will!

I think I may not have been exactly clear about what I'm experiencing...I wish I had taken the camera out with me, a picture may truly be worth 1000 words in this case. :)

 I start at one end, take out a few frames, and hang them on the frame hangars. That gives me the space I need to remove, examine, and replace the remaining frames. Then I replace the frames that are on the hangar when I'm finished. When I get to the last frame to replace, there may be a 3-inch knot of bees near the top of one or both sides of the frame. Maybe they're all trying to gorge on the small ribbon of honey that's at the top of the frame? Obviously, the opening left for this last frame isn't 3", so I'm trying to figure out how to get them to "spread out" on the frame to make it fit. Going very slowly and carefully seems to be a good idea, but maybe I wasn't going slowly enough, because they didn't seem to care that the room available for them to clump was being reduced.
"The mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled with beer." - Egyptian Proverb, 2200 BC

Online kathyp

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Re: Hive Inspection Question
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2007, 12:12:46 PM »
i'm thinking that if you have that many bees all the way out to the end frames, you maybe need another super?

you can always try smoking them out of the way, or brushing them off with your bee brush.
.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville

Offline knadai

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Re: Hive Inspection Question
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2007, 10:12:43 AM »
I had the exact same problem with a hive started from a nuc installed June 15th.  I can't tell from your photograph, but I bet the frames with "knots" as you describe is/are adjacent to frame(s) built later by the bees.  I read somewhere (don't remember, sorry) that bees will build brood comb to a specific depth but honey comb all the way out to the bee space.  Not having fully built comb on the neighbor frame allowed the cells storing honey to be contructed way too deep.

I chose to trim the oversize cells using a serrated knife.  The bees cleaned up the trimmings near the hive within a day and repaired and recapped the trimmed frames within a week.

One of my frames was brood frame and I only had the top "corners" to trim but another frame was all honey, quite heavy, and the entire face of each side had to be trimmed.

Alternately, you could just leave it and let the bees do their thing, being careful to remove the adjacent frames before pulling the monster frame(s).  It's all good.   :)




Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Hive Inspection Question
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2007, 10:14:41 PM »
Rolling bees on the hard surface of the hive will kill the bees caught but in the roll, they are squished between the inside of the hive body and the honey comb.  The way to avoid this is to roll bee on bee, they are soft enough to give and most don't get killed. 
1.The purpose of the extra space in the Langstroth hive body is to allow for frame manipulation. 
2. Arrange the frame so that there is a little extra space on each side of the hive.
3. Count in 2 frames and seperate those 2 frames from the rest using the curved end of you hive tool. 
4. Now move the 2 frames up against the side of the box.  The end bars will give enough spacing to avoid killing bees next to the wood.
5. Use the hive tool to seperate the 3rd frame in from the remainder of the frames.  Remove this frame.
6. You are now usually in the brood area and can make evaluations as to the health of the hive.
7. Use frame hangers or set the frame end in the top and leaning against the hive body to get it out of the way.
8. Inspect the remainder of hiive working away from you. Return frames in the order you take them out.
9. Check the 2 frames you  moved to the wall last if you need to and return them to the hive.
10. Recenter the frames so you have the extra space on each side of the frames.
11. Go to next box/hive and repeat.

I've been doing that way since my mentor taught it to me in 1959 and I seldom have a problem with killing the bees from rolling.
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Offline Moonshae

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Re: Hive Inspection Question
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2007, 10:55:48 PM »
Perfect! I had thought I was supposed to start at the very end, so starting a few frames in is no problem if it makes it safer for the bees.
"The mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled with beer." - Egyptian Proverb, 2200 BC