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Author Topic: Hive Concerns  (Read 841 times)
afretired
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« on: July 29, 2007, 10:28:54 PM »

One of my hives was given to be by one of my friends.  From the outside it didn't look as strong as my others.  So I decided to investigate it further.  First off it has two deep brood boxes.  Not many bees are going in and out through the main opening in the base.  Most of the activity is through a 1" diameter hole drilled below the handle on the top brood box.  When I looked in the bottom box the first slot had a frame with the black plastic foundation but noactivity.  The second slot contained a plasitc feeder and the third stot had another frame with plastic foundation that also had no activity on it.  The bees have about filled the second box with brood and honey, and most of the bees are using the hole in the box.  Is the hole in the top box a good idea?  Why don't the bees use the "main" entrance in the bottom?   And why haven't the bees built out the other frames in the bottom box? 

I decided to "fix" the situation this evening.  I removed the feeder, made up another frame with wax foundation and put it in the bottom box, also I took a frame of brood out of a strong hive and placed in the weeker hive and took one of the black plastic foundation frames and put in the strong hive.

Dave
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mgmoore7
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2007, 11:41:51 AM »

I have two hives.  One with a hole as you describe and the other without.  For the 1st several weeks I noticed much less activity in the one with the hole as well and thought that was my weaker hive.  I was wrong.  That hive is much stronger than my other hive. 

The purpose of the hole is two fold from my research. 
1. Helps with ventilation 
2. Gives them easy access to the super where they are storing the nector and pollen.

I noticed that the hive without the hole beards much more often.  I don't really know that it matters much and this surely is not a scientific study but it is what I have noticed and since the hive without the hole actually has less bees it would seem that that hive would not beard as much. 

Common sense and reading brings me to this conclusion as well:::   Most of the bees that are foraging for pollen or nector are storing this in the super and since that is the location they are putting it, it stands to reason that they would use that entrance. 

I think that things can change rather quickly in a hive as well as brood emerges.  Queens don't always lay the same # of eggs all the time.  The bees seem to know when they need more workers or need to reduce the population. 
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Potlicker1
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2007, 12:17:57 PM »

Typically the 1" hole is used for overwintering. It gives the bees an excape route and provides much needed ventilation in the cooler months when condensation builds, and an avenue for the needed midwinter cleansing flights. It should be plugged during the summer. The bees may be using it, but it can lead to robbing and furthermore the bees will not fill up the frames located by the hole.

As for the plastic foundation, sometimes bees just simply dont like working with the plastic. You may have better luck by removing them and replacing them with wax foundation or old comb.

If your lower box is empty i'd also switch the two boxes around. That should give her room to move up. The queen isn't real fond of dropping down.

Hope this helps.
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2007, 03:05:55 PM »

The plastic will sometimes only be drawn in a good honeyflow.  Or in the middle of the broodnest, they will ignore it on the outside if they can draw elsewere.

Most of my hives have holes of various sizes.  Yes, ventilation, vapor escape, and in the winter the lower entrance can get clogged with dead bees.  No problem with them.

Rick
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Rick
afretired
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2007, 03:53:47 PM »

Thanks for the input;
It sounds like the regular wax foundations work better, or that at least the bees are not as picky about them.  I wanted to check the other frames in the bottom box but the combs  were completly stuck together. I tried seperating two of them but I ended up making a mess so I left them alone.  Is there any harm in the frames being stuck together to the point you can't get them apart?

I will give them a little while to see if they are building on the other frames.  If they are not, then I will swap the bottom and the second box.

Dave
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