I remembered reading about 'Quiet Boxes'. I have an empty nuc sitting around doing nothing anyway so I went and got it. I set it up and put 3 frames in it. Instead of the regular cover I simply used a shop towel; easier to move around. I did use the regular BB and then reduced it to a single opening. After i put the towel over it the bees on those frame calmed down considerably. I had expected them to fly out and back to the main hive but they stayed in the nuc the whole time.
A quiet nuc & big inspection opening (Mary)
Now I had 3 frames worth of space to work with. It was a lot easier to scrape propolis away now that I could get my hand in the box. It is a definite improvement for working with the bees. I did it again when I inspected Mary. Same results, Good ones.
When I took off the top boxes I put then on my portable hive stands as usual but also draped another towel over them too. This also worked great. I think one of the best things about keeping bees is continually learning new tricks.