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Hello Everyone, (First Reddit Post)
I live near Fort Smith, Arkansas, and my beekeeping experience is very basic. When I was a teenager, I observed my parents maintain 1-2 hives depending on the year.
Now to my current situation; I mentioned to my friend I wanted to get into beekeeping this spring, and he quickly told me his father has a hive that he wants to get rid of since he is getting older and is unable to keep up with it. I have come to find out this hive has not been managed for a year or two, and he has no idea what the situation is inside the hive. I moved it to my place yesterday, and I am hoping to open it this weekend to investigate further. The bees are very active this morning and appear to be orienting and adjusting well. I believe the hive has two brood chambers and a super. I cannot see a queen excluder, and the previous keeper said he couldn't remember if he has one installed.
My questions are:
1-If I have no queen excluder, what should I do with the hive?
2-The bottom is a screen(see attached picture), but when we sealed the entrance bees were escaping from the bottom until we moved the hive onto the trailer. I know this is not normal, should I replace the bottom board with a solid board? Or what other suggestions do you have?
3-I will be inspecting for pests, but should I add strips for mites when I am inside? Any other treatments I should consider for moths, mites, or ants?
I appreciate any advice you can provide, I am excited to learn more and hopefully start managing this hive properly! Let me know if you have any questions, or would like to see more pictures.