First inspection -- what a complete cock-up

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ShinySideUp 

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Even though I have been keeping bees for six years I am obliged to put this in the beginners section because I feel like a beginner again!

I have (had) four hives. Number 1 I could tell was not in good condition so I started there. Opened it up, lot of dead bees, about two or three hundred bees clustered around a tiny bit of one of the few frames that wasn't mouldy. A few eggs, a few sealed cells and that was about it -- this hive was not going to make it. I despatched the queen with the intention of uniting with hive number 4 which seemed to be in better condition with bees coming and going. Lesson 1 -- DON'T ASSUME ANYTHING!

Went to hive number 4. Quite a few bees and a queen cell! It must have been too early in the day because I thought 'you are not strong enough to swarm' and promptly removed the cell before continuing the inspection. The inspection revealed no eggs, no larvae and no queen, they were bringing on a new one and I wiped it out.! Oh bugger. Now I have two hives with no queen.

The only thing I could do now was to take the frame with eggs on from the first hive and put it in the brood box of hive 4 and put the rest of what few bees there were on top using newspaper in the hope that they'll be able to make a new queen from the eggs and the [slightly] increased number of bees would help with growth,

With trepidation I approached hives 2 and 3 and as soon as I found eggs I stopped, I'd done enough damage for one day.

Leeson 2 Do inspections on all your hives before jumping to any conclusions.

Fortunately, hive 2 is going well as usual and as soon as they start making queen cells I'll be increasing back to three colonies.

Lesson 3 If you are going to keep bees, you cannot have only one hive. If I'd only had one I wouldn't be a beekeeper anymore, I'd be a bee loser.
 

pargyle 

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Lesson three ... never ever tear down all the queen cells in a hive ... until you are certain that's your plan of action (rarely the answer to anything though) worth having an apidea or two in your bee kit as a cupful of bees and a queen cell can save the OMG what have I just done embarrassment....we've all done daft things that at the time seemed like a good idea - if you haven't then you have not kept bees long enough to know !
 

enrico 

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Even though I have been keeping bees for six years I am obliged to put this in the beginners section because I feel like a beginner again!

I have (had) four hives. Number 1 I could tell was not in good condition so I started there. Opened it up, lot of dead bees, about two or three hundred bees clustered around a tiny bit of one of the few frames that wasn't mouldy. A few eggs, a few sealed cells and that was about it -- this hive was not going to make it. I despatched the queen with the intention of uniting with hive number 4 which seemed to be in better condition with bees coming and going. Lesson 1 -- DON'T ASSUME ANYTHING!

Went to hive number 4. Quite a few bees and a queen cell! It must have been too early in the day because I thought 'you are not strong enough to swarm' and promptly removed the cell before continuing the inspection. The inspection revealed no eggs, no larvae and no queen, they were bringing on a new one and I wiped it out.! Oh bugger. Now I have two hives with no queen.

The only thing I could do now was to take the frame with eggs on from the first hive and put it in the brood box of hive 4 and put the rest of what few bees there were on top using newspaper in the hope that they'll be able to make a new queen from the eggs and the [slightly] increased number of bees would help with growth,

With trepidation I approached hives 2 and 3 and as soon as I found eggs I stopped, I'd done enough damage for one day.

Leeson 2 Do inspections on all your hives before jumping to any conclusions.

Fortunately, hive 2 is going well as usual and as soon as they start making queen cells I'll be increasing back to three colonies.

Lesson 3 If you are going to keep bees, you cannot have only one hive. If I'd only had one I wouldn't be a beekeeper anymore, I'd be a bee loser.
We have all been there so often!
Full of joy at a first inspection. Kicking yourself by the end.
I still make stupid mistakes but luckily my bees are more intelligent than me and generally put them right!
I know I should be looking in my hives but it is too cold so when I do look god knows what I will find!!!!!
Keep smiling!
E
 

hemo 

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Agree with the sentiments, sometimes at the hive with it laid out in front of you common-sense can go awol occasionally. If I have no kit I will knock sealed cells down and leave open QC's then return with a nuc, if they swarm my clipped queens will either be lost or be found clustered underneath.
 

Firefly 

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Maybe you have done the right thing, you never know. It sounds as if the queen and both colonies were struggling, so combining could be better for all. Delaying the mating flight by a week or two could result in more drones and better mating. Nil desperandum and good luck
 

Rock_Chick 

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Lesson three ... never ever tear down all the queen cells in a hive ... until you are certain that's your plan of action (rarely the answer to anything though) worth having an apidea or two in your bee kit as a cupful of bees and a queen cell can save the OMG what have I just done embarrassment....we've all done daft things that at the time seemed like a good idea - if you haven't then you have not kept bees long enough to know !
I’ve not done my 1st inspection yet, it’s the latest I’ve ever been. ( just that cold wind, sunday looking good though), so maybe then ) But question about your apidea, how do you put a queen cell into one, can you fix it in somehow ? And then put in a few cups of bees?
 

madasafish 

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I’ve not done my 1st inspection yet, it’s the latest I’ve ever been. ( just that cold wind, sunday looking good though), so maybe then ) But question about your apidea, how do you put a queen cell into one, can you fix it in somehow ? And then put in a few cups of bees?

The bars in the apidea have cutouts in the topbars so if one cut out faces another, you can place a QC in the gap created. (Usually it is held in a cell holder but you can add a piece of soft wax to the top of the QC and carefully join them - using glue/hot wax/a soldering iron (to melt the wax) or attach it to a small piece of wood.

250ml of bees can be accurately measured by cutting a 2 litre plastic bottle in two. Take the half with the top and handle (with top on), and measure in 250ml of water. Mark the level with indelible ink Fill it to that line with bees. (I scoop damp bees from a plastic storage container they have been shaken into (nurse bees from supers)
 

hemo 

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Moving a QC sealed is best done as late as possible, so after the last stage of development day 14 is a good time if one knows the cell age.
 

pargyle 

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The bars in the apidea have cutouts in the topbars so if one cut out faces another, you can place a QC in the gap created. (Usually it is held in a cell holder but you can add a piece of soft wax to the top of the QC and carefully join them - using glue/hot wax/a soldering iron (to melt the wax) or attach it to a small piece of wood.

250ml of bees can be accurately measured by cutting a 2 litre plastic bottle in two. Take the half with the top and handle (with top on), and measure in 250ml of water. Mark the level with indelible ink Fill it to that line with bees. (I scoop damp bees from a plastic storage container they have been shaken into (nurse bees from supers)
Moving a QC sealed is best done as late as possible, so after the last stage of development day 14 is a good time if one knows the cell age.
Good advice .... same as I have done ... works well and a great insurance policy when you do it.
 

Paddyg 

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Any guidance pls regarding weather conditions and first inspection. I live in the Pennines. We like much of the country have had sunny daytime temperatures of around 9c but frosts of typically -3c. Currently Easterly at about 10mph. I sense not warm enough. Plenty of bee activity with plenty of pollen headed in. Thoughts appreciated! Thanks
 

Erichalfbee 

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Any guidance pls regarding weather conditions and first inspection. I live in the Pennines. We like much of the country have had sunny daytime temperatures of around 9c but frosts of typically -3c. Currently Easterly at about 10mph. I sense not warm enough. Plenty of bee activity with plenty of pollen headed in. Thoughts appreciated! Thanks
15 degrees is good but if the hives are sheltered and it’s sunny you can get away with colder.
 

madasafish 

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Any guidance pls regarding weather conditions and first inspection. I live in the Pennines. We like much of the country have had sunny daytime temperatures of around 9c but frosts of typically -3c. Currently Easterly at about 10mph. I sense not warm enough. Plenty of bee activity with plenty of pollen headed in. Thoughts appreciated! Thanks

Calm and sunny over 8C works. if you are in the sun.

I am having to do just that.. not seen double figures C for a couple of weeks.

As long as you are reasonably quick and don't leave brood exposed for more than (say 10 minutes, they should be fine.

When the wind starts getting up or it starts to cloud over (and looks like it will be cloudy for some while) close up.
Works for me.

(being organised well in advance with available bits helps a lot to minimise the time is open.)
 
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