Hi all, I have had two hives now since mid spring and both seem to be pumping along.
One is flowhive with a wild swarm in it, and one is a plastic hive with Italians from a breeder.
Now that I have been going for a few months, a few things I have questions about, they might seem silly but I have come across;
Both hives have honey supers on, and queen excluders. When I go to do inspections I put the lid on the ground upside down and put the super down first (hoping the excluder is stuck to the bottom of the first brood box and not the super!), then I take the excluder off and put it on top of the super, and remove the upper brood box and put this on top of the excluder on top of the second brrod box and begin in the bottom brood box- is this the way everyone else does this?
How do you stop the excluder sticking to the bottom of the brood box when you lift it off the super where it was placed, after inspecting the bottom box? I find that the box is damn heavy being packed with capped honey, and I dont have enough hands to control the box and take the super off, it all seems very precarious!
Bees in the bottom boxes are never happy to see me, especially the swarm hive. They get a thorough smoking, but when a frame is removed from the bottom box a good number will pour out and bounce of the veil, smoking send them back down, but just for a minute and then they are back! The hive is quite calm when it is not being inspected and I can take photos at the entrance and move around the yard and hive with no harassment, but boy they are not pleased to have their home invaded (don’t blame them!). How normal is this? The Italian Nuc I have is much more peaceful, but then, far less productive too, and far less bees even though it has more frames.
When I put the boxes down on the lid to inspect inside, every time some bees will fall to the ground. There seems to be an eternal patrol of meat ants who hang around the hives looking to pick off bees that hit the ground… anyone dealt with this? once the hive is sitting on the lid, they get bold and try to enter the hive.
What is the trick to avoid squashing and rolling bees when removing initial frames which are very sticky, and when replacing very heavy supers? Trying to be slow and slide boxes on squashes less but especially with the angrier swarm hive bees are squashed every inspection.
Does everyone inspect their bottom brood boxes every inspection? After doing a good number of these inspections now, I am beginning to feel that its not worth disturbing them as long as nothing looks all waxed up and the top box has eggs and good brood…
finally 7. how many people use excluders, and how many remove them altogether, it is clear the bees hate going through them and would rather backfill empty brood cells with nectar rather than move up unless they are totally out of space… I am about to buy a top entrance for my plastic hives to hopefully encourage them up, but there is not a lot I can do with the flowhive…