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Author Topic: Opened my three week old hive today and WOW! but advice needed please  (Read 1785 times)
OzBuzz
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« on: April 16, 2010, 07:36:50 AM »

Ok, so i opened my hive for the second time today and did an inspection. My intention in doing this was to add another box as it was suggested i do that prior to winter. I had a single 8 frame brood box only. The box was made just over three weeks ago from a four frame nucleus and four frames of new foundation.

So i opened it today and WOW! there was no room left at all! frames 1 & 8 were 70% full on both sides of capped honey. The rest of the frames were crammed full with pollen, brood and capped honey. There were very few empty cells and the ones that were empty i think were only such because the brood had come out. So the majority of brood was capped - i did see some uncapped pupae. I couldn't see any new eggs as the light wasnt great.

What alarmed me though is on one of the frames about halfway down from the top was the start of a queen cup! only the top cup section had been formed so far. I did find the queen and she was happily strolling around on one of the other frames... there was only this one cup in the hive. I'm guessing because the hive was crammed full that it would probably have been a swarm cell but swarm cells arent normally smack bang in the middle of the frame/comb are they? What is everybodys thoughts? Also, the queen is only young...

We're coming in to winter so i added two medium supers with already drawn comb on to give them some room to expand their stores... did i do the right thing? Is there anything else i should do? have i stopped swarming or is this a supersedure?

Any advice would be appreciated
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David LaFerney
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2010, 08:07:48 AM »

I asked about the same question last year.  The cup alone is no big deal - if it has a larva in it that is another story.  I don't know how your season is but if you add an empty frame with just a starter strip (not full foundation) between two frames of brood they will very quickly draw new comb and the queen will lay in it before they even get it drawn.  It gives the nurse bees something to do and the queen somewhere to lay.   You may not want to encourage brooding at this season though.
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"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." Samuel Clemens

Putting the "ape" in apiary since 2009.
OzBuzz
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2010, 10:26:22 AM »

Thanks David, I appreciate your thoughts and knowledge... I didnt see any larvae in it - i peeled it off the comb so it's not there anymore anyway. Should i have left it? At the moment there is still a nectar and pollen flow (and lots of nectar apparently) temperatures for the next week are forecast to be in the low to mid 20oC so winter doesnt appear ready to set in. The only frames i have spare are the drawn mediums (the brood chamber is full depth) so i put two boxes of those on... should i maybe take one of those boxes off? I was just blown away how much the hive has exploded in the three weeks i have had it...
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jclark96
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2010, 02:57:00 PM »

You can use the Queen cells to judge the mood of the hive. My hive was crowded a week ago and had about ten cells built, but no larvae in them. I added a box, and today there were only three queen cells. So, since the bees have removed seven of the queen cells I suppose they are less likely to swarm than last week. If you don't have SHB, the extra box shouldn't be a big deal.
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2010, 07:33:53 PM »

Thanks jclark... I think i'll open them up next weekend to see how they're doing and re-assess from there. There was only one cell at the moment - if they were going to swarm there would be more i guess. It worries me though the location of the cell - aren't supersedure cells in the foundation whereas swarm cells are around the edges of the frame? surely they wouldnt be superseduring? the queen is brand new and less than a year old. I don't think SHB is an issue in my area
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2010, 11:36:20 PM »

Anytime it's wall to wall bees I would suspect that they are now considering swarming.  But a cup by itself, as mentioned, is just a cup.  Still I would put some empty frames in the brood nest and add some boxes to make sure they are not crowded in the brood nest.  Just adding boxes will not keep them from swarming.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesswarmcontrol.htm
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Michael Bush
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Koala John
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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2010, 12:16:39 AM »

Hi Ozbuzz,
I've just braved the climb up ladder to the tiny second floor landing I built for the bees, and opened my two hives less than 10 minutes ago. They are under 5km's from the Melbourne CBD, so hopefully conditions are close to wherever you are. There is a lot of Yellow Gum and Iron Bark flowering around here and the bees are flat out. I put one super on the strongest hive about two weeks ago, it had a few undrawn frames in this new super. This hive has made quite a bit of honey this year, and has a full super of honey on it already that I am yet to take off them. Today, because of the flow that is on, I was expecting to see those frames in the new super fully drawn, and the super filling fast with honey. Instead what I saw was the frames not drawn at all, and just a small to medium amount of nectar in the frames that are drawn.

What this should probably tell you is that the girls are just not going to be filling up supers or thinking about swarming - the weather is turning, it's getting cooler, wetter, windier etc. My smaller hive is packed to the rafters with honey, but I haven't put a super on and won't. I'm confident they won't/can't swarm, it's just way to late in the year.

So I think you should pull one of those two supers off right away. At best they are going to half fill both with useless nectar and then be a bit messed up over Winter because of that. Should you leave even one super on? I suspect not but am not sure.

Good luck with them, don't expect a miracle this time of year - expect it a few short months away when the cape weed blooms and the bees tell you to get the supers ready because they are going to have a massive year in late 2010!

Good luck,
John.
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2010, 06:25:06 AM »

Hey John,

Great to hear from you - thanks for your reply. Where roughly in Melb are you? I'm out in the west near the airport... I don't know where my bees are getting their nectar/pollen from but they're getting it! The 8 frame brood chamber, since my posting on the 16th, has now filled pretty much the whole 8 frames with pollen, brood and honey - there is virtually no room left and the bee numbers have gone through the roof. I opened the hive on Friday when i put the two mediums on and wasnt able to see many eggs (due to lighting) but today when i opened it there were fresh eggs everywhere along with heaps of uncapped brood. Thankfully the two mediums i put on already had fully drawn comb in them. Since putting them on on friday afternoon they have gone through and cleaned all of the frames, completely removed some sections of comb and are rebuilding (why do they just cut out huge chunks and rebuild? do they know the comb isnt any good?), they have removed all of the honey that remained (they were stickies) and started filling numerous cells with nectar. We have some good weather this week so i was thinkng of leaving both on for the week as i wont get a chance to pull them off and then open it next weekend and see how they're doing... if they sparsely filling both i'll take one off and put it away from the hive and let them rob it. Does that sound like an ok plan?

I'm just blown away by these bees! they're amazing!

Hi Ozbuzz,
I've just braved the climb up ladder to the tiny second floor landing I built for the bees, and opened my two hives less than 10 minutes ago. They are under 5km's from the Melbourne CBD, so hopefully conditions are close to wherever you are. There is a lot of Yellow Gum and Iron Bark flowering around here and the bees are flat out. I put one super on the strongest hive about two weeks ago, it had a few undrawn frames in this new super. This hive has made quite a bit of honey this year, and has a full super of honey on it already that I am yet to take off them. Today, because of the flow that is on, I was expecting to see those frames in the new super fully drawn, and the super filling fast with honey. Instead what I saw was the frames not drawn at all, and just a small to medium amount of nectar in the frames that are drawn.

What this should probably tell you is that the girls are just not going to be filling up supers or thinking about swarming - the weather is turning, it's getting cooler, wetter, windier etc. My smaller hive is packed to the rafters with honey, but I haven't put a super on and won't. I'm confident they won't/can't swarm, it's just way to late in the year.

So I think you should pull one of those two supers off right away. At best they are going to half fill both with useless nectar and then be a bit messed up over Winter because of that. Should you leave even one super on? I suspect not but am not sure.

Good luck with them, don't expect a miracle this time of year - expect it a few short months away when the cape weed blooms and the bees tell you to get the supers ready because they are going to have a massive year in late 2010!

Good luck,
John.
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Koala John
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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2010, 08:03:09 AM »

Hi Ozbuzz,
Wow, sounds like there is something big going on there as far as a flow. Have a good look around the area (within a couple of km's), and see if you can see what is going on. I can only imagine you might have a lot of Yellow Box in the area? I'm in the South Melbourne area, it's surprising (to me anyway) how much honey my bees bring in from a bunch of nearby gum trees and everyone's gardens. They certainly are incredible, and it's great to see someone else so addicted to them.
Sure, I wouldn't imagine leaving a couple of supers on for another week or so will do any harm at all, go for it mate!

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philinacoma
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2010, 08:54:24 AM »

Given this time of the season, I was told the other day that I should be considering shortening if anything. I only have the 2 boxes on each.
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2010, 05:48:44 PM »

Given this time of the season, I was told the other day that I should be considering shortening if anything. I only have the 2 boxes on each.

That's what i thought too Phil - but this hive i have hasn't started winding down! there's a fair amount of stores in the brood chamber but all 6 frames (I have an 8 frame hive) are crowded with capped brood and pupae... i looked yesterday and of the cells that are open (which only opened up since my inspection on Friday) they all have probably 1 day old eggs in them. The queen is still laying like a crazy woman! and the amount of nectar they're brining in is crazy. The two end frames in the brood chamber is full of capped honey and they have no room to lay down anymore stores. Those frames that were in the 2X mediums that i put on friday afternoon have been cleaned and are already filling with nectar and some pollen.
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2010, 05:53:10 PM »

Hi Ozbuzz,
Wow, sounds like there is something big going on there as far as a flow. Have a good look around the area (within a couple of km's), and see if you can see what is going on. I can only imagine you might have a lot of Yellow Box in the area? I'm in the South Melbourne area, it's surprising (to me anyway) how much honey my bees bring in from a bunch of nearby gum trees and everyone's gardens. They certainly are incredible, and it's great to see someone else so addicted to them.
Sure, I wouldn't imagine leaving a couple of supers on for another week or so will do any harm at all, go for it mate!

I think so John! i'm a newbie so haven't really got anything to compare it too but the hive is just going nuts (in a good way). I've watched the directions that the bees are flying in and there are three main paths:

1) Down toward the maribyrnong river - has the most traffic (still about 21.5km away)
2) Toward a gum tree that is flowering about 500m away from the hive (big red flowers)
3) To a neighbours house that has, from what i can see, a heap of lavender in their garden along with a heap of other flowering plants

It s absolutely amazing how resourceful the bees are and how they can bring in so much from, what appears to be to us, a few flowers.... and yeah, i love the bees! they truly are amazing! i can't wait until spring when i can go out and start catching swarms etc
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