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Author Topic: Bursting With Bees  (Read 1749 times)
DayValleyDahlias
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« on: February 09, 2008, 03:40:57 PM »

Did my first inspection since Fall...the hive is THRIVING like crazy...billions of bees, lot's of honey in the top deep...temps are warming up...they were a little pissy. 

I have not looked into the bottom brood box, as the top one is too heavy for me alone to remove.  Do I even need to look in there?   Should I look in there...Should I remove some frames of honey and put the in a new ( 2nd ) super deep? to keep bees from swarming?  Oh my...here we go again!
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Kirk-o
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2008, 03:52:37 PM »

Give them some room The Queen needs room to lay.All them bees got to go somewere.
kirko
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DayValleyDahlias
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2008, 03:57:05 PM »

Give the queen room to lay...

What method should I use to do that? The hive consists of 2 deeps, no queen excluder.

Thanks
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2008, 04:08:20 PM »

If you can pull a couple of empty frames and put them in the middle of the brood nest, that would work.  If you can't then you might be able to pull some frame with honey or pollen out and make a gap in the brood nest and put in an empty frame.  It's tough with deeps because you have nowhere to put the frames you pull where with all the same size boxes you can just add a box and put them there.
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DayValleyDahlias
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2008, 04:12:04 PM »

Very true Michael, this will be my only hive made of deeps.  The new 2 will be mediums!!
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DayValleyDahlias
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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2008, 04:15:31 PM »

I have an idea...may I remove the top, set an empty with new frames/foundation on the brood box, then set the ner full one on top of that?  Will that by me some time?  The I can remove some of the honey frames and store them in the freezer??
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Alan Forbes
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« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2008, 09:42:52 PM »

I like to run my hives with 2 full-depth supers.  The queen works upwards and in the Spring, she will usually be in the upper brood chamber and because there are 2 boxes, it's easy (with some help, perhaps) to reverse them and place the brood chamber with more room on the top. 

I also like to check the frames and make sure there aren't any filled queen cells hanging off the bottom of the frames although a few empty ones can be good insurance in case the queen dies.
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kathyp
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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2008, 09:47:58 PM »

you can pull some of those honey frames and save them for winter.  i put some in the freezer last year and they were fine.  you can put your honey supers on now and let the queen use them.  just take the honey from the outside and upper boxes for yourself.  i am going to split my hives. they looked really good today also.  i think you have lots of options.
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Kirk-o
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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2008, 09:54:41 PM »

Hey You can take those deep frames out one at a time then the box put a new box on then the deep box and put the frames back in what ever gets them the room
kirko
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2008, 12:42:52 AM »

I like to run my hives with 2 full-depth supers.  The queen works upwards and in the Spring, she will usually be in the upper brood chamber and because there are 2 boxes, it's easy (with some help, perhaps) to reverse them and place the brood chamber with more room on the top. 

Why the extra work?  A good queen will easily work 2 or more full deeps with brood or 3-5 mediums with brood.  I've never found reversing the hive bodies to be of any real value.


Quote
I also like to check the frames and make sure there aren't any filled queen cells hanging off the bottom of the frames although a few empty ones can be good insurance in case the queen dies.

Keeping an open brood chamber by rotating undrawn frames on its edges will elliminate the creation of swarm cells.  Then if you see supercedure cells you can do a split and have 2 good hives.

Sounds to me like you're working too hard.
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Alan Forbes
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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2008, 11:00:42 AM »

Quote
Sounds to me like you're working too hard.

It must be my German work ethic : )

I like your ideas and yes, sometimes it does no good to reverse because both brood chamber boxes are full. And as with just about everything in keeping bees, you have to have a handful of options.
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DayValleyDahlias
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« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2008, 01:12:47 PM »

I am going to go into the brood box today, remove filled honey frames, replace with empties do a bit of rearranging...do the same  in  the second deep, save the frames of honey as needed for this hive...my new hives will be mediums...this one as is..I may place a shallow atop today...we'll see what my gut tells me to do
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jaypee
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« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2008, 03:15:13 PM »

In a pollen rich area (and Aptos is very likely to be) as much as a third of the weight in the brood boxes is not honey but bee bread. The bees will never use it, so these frames must be pulled and fresh frames used to create room for brood.

> I have not looked into the bottom brood box, as the top one
> is too heavy for me alone to remove.

A two-deep brood chamber in a heavy pollen area should be checked as the bottom deep can be so pollen-choked that there may be virtually no brood space left.

Pollen-choked frames have to be replaced with either undrawn frames or empty brood comb frames staggered between the remaining frames in the brood nest. You can't use empty honey frames because that only invites the queen to lay lots of drones.

To reduce the weight of the top, set another box nearby and start removing frames from the outside in. If you don't have one then a plastic basin,  strong cardboard box or even a clean wheelbarrow will do. Leave the brood frames in place because they are not heavy. Without the honey and pollen frames you should be able to lift the top and set it aside. Do not sit it on the ground, you want it to be open bottom.

Working from the outside again, pull the pollen packed and honey packed frames out of the bottom box. It is a judgment call on how many empty frames to introduce, but even in the worst cases of pollen/honey bound boxes I do not introduce new frames side-by-side and do not separate the two center frames. That limits the maximum number of replacements to four frames/box.

1-0 is frame position    1H 2N 3B 4N 5B 6B 7N 8B 9N 0H    H=Honey  N=New  B=Brood

This is a worst case scenario. Separating the brood by new frames makes it harder to keep the nest at temperature so if you suspect the hive is not strong enough to cover 3B-8B only introduce new frames on one side. Go back in 10-14 days and decide if the other side needs doing yet. In 8-frame hives you are restricted to two new frames (1h 2b 3n 4b 5b 6n 7b 8h).

If the lower box has no brood in it, move the two outer frames of brood from the top box into 5B/6B (4b/5b) of the lower box. Should there be a broad band of honey across the top look for frames (not the center two) with a narrower band. If you have to use frames with broad bands you cannot rely on bees to empty the honey cells when there is nectar coming. Prick the caps to encourage them to relocate it but try not to be heavy handed as you do not want honey dripping down and over open brood cells.

Once the bottom is done you are ready to replace the top box and repeat the exercise of inserting new frames. If there are heavy clusters underneath scrape them on to a flat board and introduce them into the lower box. Waft some smoke across the open bottom to encourage the bees to climb higher so you can avoid squashing them when you put the box back on top.

A strong hive needs all the brood space you can give it. The bees are very willing to draw comb at this time but if there is no open brood space you should give the queen cells to lay in while the new comb is being drawn. If you have any drawn brood frames, place them in 4N/7N (3n/6n) of the bottom box.

Later in the year, when there is no brood in 2/9 (2/7) you can remove one of them and slide the center apart to introduce an undrawn frame between 5/6 (4/5). Queens like new comb, and it is good practice to recycle old brood comb out of the hive.

It is unusual to find queen cells this early, but if you find capped queen cells it is too late to prevent the hive swarming. You can simulate it by doing a split, just be sure you move the frame of brood with the queen on it to the new location along with some honey frames, pollen frames and undrawn frames. She will be short of foragers, and even though you include frames of honey and pollen frames, feed syrup to stimulate the house bees into drawing comb.

> ...they were a little pissy.

Try not to oversmoke and do this in the middle of the day when it is warmest and most of the foragers are out working. Be careful of the queen. To encourage her to hide between 5B/6B (4b/5b) do not smoke the center frames.

Replace the bee bread comb in the frames you have removed with fresh foundation, or if you are doing natural cell cut out all but a half inch of comb below the top bar. Since this is quick 'n easy, you can re-use these as N frames while you are re-configuring the boxes. The honey is yours to extract, keep in the freezer, or use as starters to encourage workers up into a third box used as a honey super.

Hopefully the steps make sense and this does not come across as too lengthy and didactic.
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DayValleyDahlias
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« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2008, 03:54:15 PM »

Well JayPee, If only I was able to read your post BEFORE I went out and worked with the hive..I reoved the top deep and set it on cinder block that had a queen excluder on it, just in case the queen was up there.

I inspected each frame of the bottom box.  There were tons of bees, lots of capped brood honey and pollen...There was also spots on the outer frames lower portion that had not been drawn out...I left it all alone. The bees here were very bustling...

We placed the top box back on.  Opened it up.  The queen must be up here as there were eggs and larvae only on one frame that I could see.  Try as I might I couldn't find her, but the bees in this area were much calmer. There were areas of drawn and I could see room for the queen to lay if she powers up...

I left everything... as it was...I will re-inspect in a couple of weeks and see what happens...I didn't see any swarm or supercedure cells.

The bees for the most part were very tolerant, although there is one at this moment trying to get inside my office window which is 2 stories high haha...

Question:  If I remove a frame that is packed with honey and pollen, how do I get the bees off of it without creating a problem??
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rdy-b
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« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2008, 09:56:42 PM »

put a honey supper on -the bees will move the honey up -your bees are in the top box -any surplus honey coming in will go in to the honey supper -when the queen moves down they will rearrange there brood nest to accommodate -and she will move down when she needs to -yes we are hearing about the danger of being plugged out with pollen it could happen -you have already inspected your boxes and they sound well balanced as far as resources go so dont get stuck on the pollen plugged frame issue -if you reverse your boxes -like many people say-your time line will change -it will be like adding a empty box and your bees will have to run the gamete of establishing a full box of resources before any surplus honey gets moved up -and thats where you want it -in the supper -the bees know what they are doing -try not to micromanage your bees and you will be a happy keeper -sometimes no matter what you do the bees are going to do there thing -that includes swarming sometimes -not always -no matter what people say or what you read there is no way to stop it -go for the honey -RDY-B
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jaypee
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« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2008, 10:41:13 PM »

> If only I was able to read your post BEFORE I went out and worked with the hive.

The bees still had space and you handled it well.

> I left everything... as it was...

Right thing to do, the less disturbance the better.

As the lower box is fine, no need to go back in there again unless the top box becomes crowded. Before fall arrives you should check whether you need to remove pollen packed frames. Replacement frames which are fully drawn are best because the bees are not in the mood to build comb then.

> If I remove a frame that is packed with honey and pollen, how do I get
> the bees off of it without creating a problem??

This is one of those times when having the same sized boxes helps.

If you do you can add a super and put the honey frames in there complete with bees. Put the pollen packed frames to the outside and scratch the caps of any honey cells so the bees can relocate the honey. Remove them as soon as the honey cells are cleaned and toss the comb into a melter.

If you don't have another deep to super with, you can go two ways.

 - Set the frames on boards near the sides of the front entrance and the bees will vacate them come evening. Scratch the caps to get the honey cells cleaned. It works because robbing is so unusual at this time of year but don't try it in late summer or fall.

 - Build a cheap deep alternative from your supermarket fruit department. The length of an apple box is the same as a hive but it is a couple of inches narrower. Sit the bottom inside the top and it is very sturdy. Sandwich a pair of cleats over the end of the box and screw them together to get both a handle and a place to sit the frames. Cut a small hole or slot in the bottom and duct tape the multiple layers of cardboard together. The top cover can go on top of the box but you will need to use something to cover the gap left by the narrower box.

Scratch the caps in all the frames and check daily to scratch those you missed until all the cells are cleaned. Don't leave them up there after the cells are clean because the bees may start storing nectar in them. Toss the combs of pollen packed frames and store the cleaned brood frames to use in the brood box come fall.

The risk of wax moth attacking stored clean brood comb is high, so buy some Xentari from Bruce Nyquist (honeybeeman@operamail.com) and spray the frames. This is a bacillus which will kill bees exposed to direct spray, but after the combs dry Xentari is benign to bees and kills the larvae of wax moths.




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rdy-b
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« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2008, 11:08:46 PM »

the best way to get the bees to clean out pollen plugged frames so you can use them -for something other than what they are -which many consider to be a valuable resource -IS TO WET them with water so mold starts -then place them back in the hive the bees will clean them out in short order-JAYPEE do you know a keeper down your way -SAN-JOSE-buy the name of ray H    cheesy he also is pleged with this problem -but if i remember correctly he runs single deeps -he is a retired engineer or something like that -it is a small world  cool RDY-B
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DayValleyDahlias
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« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2008, 12:56:02 AM »

Amazing information...wow, I am very grateful, thanks so much!
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