hi john and idaho! thanks for the advice and yes over crowding was the first thing that leaped to my mind when i saw. i'm sorry but i didn't explain my situation very well. i'm from the philippines which is a very tropical country, so needless to say we don't have winter, only rainy season and dry. my bees belong to A. mellifera, my queens have been imported from Kona, Hawaii. i cannot just split the hives because we lack genetic material to make any queen rearing feasible, nor are there any feral colonies of the A. Mellifera species which means my bees will inbreed if i allow swarms to issue.
for now my bees are fed with sugar syrup because its the rainy season, and will continue that way till about december. pollen, however is not a problem because they are bringing back a lot of it. as to the congestion problem, i have already placed supers over the lower brood box and check up once a week. i usually insert 2 foundations to give them work, and by a week, one is usually fully drawn and the other partially drawn which makes me insert another foundation. i have checked for queen cells, so far only one of the 5 boxes has it....and shes the weakest of my colonies having only one brood box with 8 frames in it. i have taken to naming the queen...queenless! thats because this particular queen persists in laying queen cells! i don't know if its genetics or if she has weak pheromones, but amazingly, shes my best laying queen! her laying pattern is text book example with almost no empty spaces. if you draw out a sealed brood, you will see the food on top, pollen on the sides and the rest is capped brood. her hive draws the fastest combs...usually two full ones in a week, has the most sealed and emerging brood frames, and the most egg frames! unfortunately, her tendency to keep making queen cells has forced me to keep transferring her closed brood to other hives so i can maintain her box to only 7 or 8 frames so its easier for me to check for queen cells.
im a newbie at this since i started only last july, with 40 nuc colonies. i am awaiting my additional order of another 20 nucs which will be arriving before the end of the month, making a total of 60 colonies. the goal is to strengthen all the colonies before the start of the nectar flow in january. with the arrival of the next 20 nucs, a lot of my colonies which have supers will be depopulated because i will have to get closed brood to transfer to the nucs to equalize.
my real problem is that of my original 0 hives, i brought home 5 to Manila where i live. the rest i left in the farm which is located 70 KM from Manila. the reason for bringing them home was that these 5 were weaker than the rest. for one reason or the other, the other 35 had overtaken them badly so i was adviced to separate them which i did. it seems that being under my constant care strengthened them spectacularly because now they have become my strongest colonies! now comes the nightmare....a neighbor of mine was found to have america foulbrood. you must understand that beekeeping in my country it at its infancy...we have only about 500 beekeepers and none of them have more than 500 hives. here, having 60 hives is considered commercial because most have only about 10 to 20 hives of mellifera. being an island nation, pest and diseases aren't readily brought in because we do quarantine, but smuggling is another matter. somehow, someone must have smuggled in bees or materials with AFB. for whatever reason, the positive findings of American foulbrood has sent the industry in a panic and all the beekeepers have been asked NOT to move any hives around and to take all necessary precautions. the 5 colonies i have here at home are under quarantine because of my near proximity to an infected apiary. now is the second nightmare....my village has decided to start fogging for mosquito control! because of the quarantine i cannot remove my bees and because they are bearding, i cannot even close the boxes to bring them indoors! i have until tomorrow to figure out what to do to save these 5 hives because as sure as death and taxes, the fogging will kill them all!