Another Way to Pull That First Frame

Most beekeepers first learn to inspect their hives by removing a frame from the edge of the hive box and then moving closer to the middle one frame at a time. That’s the safest way to do it because it opens up space so the bees don’t get “rolled” between the tightly-fitted frames. But with experience, I think it’s okay to skip to the chase and pull out the middle frame first.

I do a full hive inspection of each of my hives once a year, maybe twice a year. I often rebuild my hives during the first hive inspection of the year, sometime in April or May if I can find a day warm enough for it. These days, “rebuild” usually means I remove at least one super (i.e., the bottom one which is often completely empty). I follow a general rule that says small colonies do better in small hives and large colonies do better in large hives. Give the bees the space they need, but no more than the space they need. They seem to build up quicker when they can concentrate their efforts on a smaller space.

It’s usually only during that first hive inspection of the year that I pull my first frame from the edge because I want to methodically look through every single frame so I can establish a baseline for judging its health going forward. But after that, except for when a box is absolutely packed with bees, I just pull the first frame from the middle like I do in this video.