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Author Topic: Bees Not Working Super  (Read 3633 times)
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« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2008, 09:16:14 PM »

 I had an empty third box since the first of April. End of the citrus bloom, no rain. Foundation was covered with bees, just chewed on it like Robo said. Now we have been getting some rain and yesterday there was five frames of comb (in one week)and they were working on more. Also had a bee population explosion this past month on that hive, probably due to a queen supercedure. Maybe the palmetto's started blooming and they like it. They never touched the dandylions I let grow in the back field. Like they said, No Flow, No Grow.
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eri
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« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2008, 03:35:24 PM »

Update: It's been almost 3 weeks since I added the medium super and haved checked twice since. Today there was a little comb being drawn on the center foundation frame but the deep underneath still had 3 sides of 2 frames undrawn. I moved 10 to the 1 position and flipped the worked side of 9 to the outside. (These bees have consistently built from the center to the left side and I've moved 10 to 1 four times, twice in the lower chamber and twice in the upper chamber, where they immediately build)

I took off the medium super today. I was concerned that

1) the extra 'attic' space was affecting their ability to effectivly ventilate (they continued to beard in spite of dramatically cooler night temps the past couple nights)

2) the bees guarding the space could have been doing somethiing else more productive

3) small hive beetles. When I opened up, a bee was chasing a SHB around the inner cover. I killed it for her, but then another beetle appeared. These are the first I've seen. With less space for the beetles to hang out and less space for the bees to guard I hope I'm avoiding a potential problem.

After almost 3 weeks with no rain we finally had about 1.5 inches Sunday night. The bees are still sucking down a quart of 2:1 sugar syrup daily. Lotsa bees.

I don't know what to expect, but I plan to check again next week and if they have built up the remaining frames in the top brood box then I'll add the super again. Wish I could see more of what is going on the the bottom brood box but those boxes are too heavy! I am 100% convinced to switch to smaller boxes, maybe even 8 frame mediums and maybe a top bar hive with NO lifting!


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On Pleasure
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And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
People of Orphalese, be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees.
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« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2008, 07:36:35 PM »

Eri,

My situation is about the same (except I haven't seen any SHB yet).  I was planning on checking the medium super and top deep this weekend.  I'll give you some feedback with what I find.  I am planning on switching to SBB this weekend if the bottom hive bodies are not too heavy.

2:1 syrup is kind of heavy for this time of year, don't you think?

Going to the NCSBA meeting in Southern Pines next week?

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eri
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« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2008, 08:41:56 PM »

Two Bees --

I have SBB. BUT tonight they are bearding more than they have been, so I'm not at all sure my theory of too much attic holds. I rechecked the super after the bees left and the wax drawn is nil. Not sure what to do, just wait, I suppose.

I looked up the SHB after my inspection and I'm not sure that what I saw was it, but the bee was definitely chasing whatever it was -- looked a bit longer than the SHB pix I found -- but there are a gazillion wood beetle varieties and maybe it was something else?

I would love to go to Southern Pines and my partner is a golfer but the timing may not work out.

Two questions: are you going to golfer's paradise and did you remove the unused super? Ok, so 3 questions, are your bees still slurping syrup?



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On Pleasure
Kahlil Gibran
....
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
People of Orphalese, be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees.
Two Bees
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« Reply #24 on: July 03, 2008, 08:05:40 AM »

Eri,

I am having some strange bearding as well.  I don't think the temps are the sole reason for it.  But my bees don't get on the front of the hives in the hottest time of the day.  They usually start to collect on the front about 6:00 and continue to accumulate til dark.  And they are not just "one bee deep" either........seems like they are piled up on the front porch of the hives!

It almost seems as if they are just hangin' for the fun of it because a lot of them are still on the front of the hives the following morning at 6:00 am when I go to work.  I have the hive vented in the back so I think I have the ventilation situation under control.

And those rain storms we had last weekend.................my bees just hung out on the hive fronts and enjoyed the bath!

The only "bug" that I have noticed on the top was a few roaches but I understand that they are looking for the sugar syrup.  My bees are still downing a gallon of 1:1 syrup every 2 - 2.5 days.  I picked up another 40 pounds of sugar yesterday at Walmart.  I wish I had kept records as to how much syrup they have used since I installed the packages on April 20 but I didn't.  I would estimate that I have "syruped" about 120-130 pounds of sugar so far for both of the hives. 

I don't think they are packing it away in the medium super but I will verify that this weekend when I open up the hives.  I have not removed the third (medium) super and will probably just leave it on the two deeps.  Based upon some of the discussion on this forum, I'm a little concerning about swarming!

Yep, going to Southern Pines next Thursday for the State meeting.  It lasts for three days and concludes on Saturday.

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"Don't know what I'd do without that boy......but I'm sure willin' to give it a try!"
J.D. Clampett commenting about Jethro Bodine.
Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #25 on: July 04, 2008, 04:34:13 PM »

Eri,

I am having some strange bearding as well.  I don't think the temps are the sole reason for it.  But my bees don't get on the front of the hives in the hottest time of the day.  They usually start to collect on the front about 6:00 and continue to accumulate til dark.  And they are not just "one bee deep" either........seems like they are piled up on the front porch of the hives!

It almost seems as if they are just hangin' for the fun of it because a lot of them are still on the front of the hives the following morning at 6:00 am when I go to work.  I have the hive vented in the back so I think I have the ventilation situation under control.

Crowding due to returning foragers.  The overcrowding is only happening when everybody is home, evening until early morning.  Super immediately to give room and check for queen cells, cells with eggs or capped, not cups.  If you find active queen cells split the hive moving the queen to the new hive.

Quote
And those rain storms we had last weekend.................my bees just hung out on the hive fronts and enjoyed the bath!

The only "bug" that I have noticed on the top was a few roaches but I understand that they are looking for the sugar syrup.  My bees are still downing a gallon of 1:1 syrup every 2 - 2.5 days.  I picked up another 40 pounds of sugar yesterday at Walmart.  I wish I had kept records as to how much syrup they have used since I installed the packages on April 20 but I didn't.  I would estimate that I have "syruped" about 120-130 pounds of sugar so far for both of the hives. 

It's July, quit feeding and let the bees be bees.  I'll bet an inspection will show backfilling in the brood chamber from feeding all that syrup.  Backfilling is one of the 1st noticeable signs of swarming, crowding is the second.  You now have 2 swarm indicators.  Super and/or split.

Quote
I don't think they are packing it away in the medium super but I will verify that this weekend when I open up the hives.  I have not removed the third (medium) super and will probably just leave it on the two deeps.  Based upon some of the discussion on this forum, I'm a little concerning about swarming!

You should be.  If you have 2 developed deeps you have a established hive.  Putting more supers than required is better than not putting on enough.  Leave off the excluder until the bees start to work the frames in the super.  If the brood chamber has been backfilled already expect the queen to begin laying in the super.  That is much better than letting her swarm so let her do it.

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Yep, going to Southern Pines next Thursday for the State meeting.  It lasts for three days and concludes on Saturday.

Have fun and ask lots of questions.  Wear your newbeeness like a badge of honor.
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« Reply #26 on: July 04, 2008, 06:49:14 PM »

Brian,

Just to bring you up to speed with where I'm at............

I put a medium super on top of the two deeps about 3-4 weeks ago without an excluder.  I wanted to give the queen plenty of room to lay if she wanted (I'm not looking for honey this year).  My original question began with the bees not being interested in drawing the third box.

Since there are no nectar flows in my area now, I decided to keep feeding syrup to get them to draw in the medium super.

Tomorrow, I plan to open the hives and see if they have drawn the medium super and if the queen has been playing in the third box.     
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« Reply #27 on: July 04, 2008, 07:32:48 PM »

This has been fantastic information.

I too have had no super activity recently. New hives too.

I gather from the above that the queen excluder should be removed until they start drawing out comb in the super?

I plan on adding a hivetop feeder to both my 10 frame hives so they can get enough food to eat this winter..


kyle
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #28 on: July 04, 2008, 09:52:28 PM »

This has been fantastic information.

I too have had no super activity recently. New hives too.

Bees won't draw comb during a dearth or drought, all foraging goes to hive survival so the brood rearing drops dirastically also and can cease altogether.

I gather from the above that the queen excluder should be removed until they start drawing out comb in the super?[/quote]

That is correct.  Proper use of an excluder requires leaving it off until the bees are working the frames--drawing comb and storing nectar.  Most books that advise use of the excluder fail to mention the qualifiers.  To draw comb in supers for a harvestable crop the requirement is a nectar flow, good weather, and easy access to storage area (at least to begin with).  Once the bees have pretty well drawn out 3 frames the super has sufficient resources to the hive so the workers will pass through the excluder.  Another way is to take the 2 storage frames from the outside of the top brood chamber and move those up to bait the bees through the excluder--in this case the bees might draw out the frames the replaced those used as bait before moving up. 

Quote
I plan on adding a hivetop feeder to both my 10 frame hives so they can get enough food to eat this winter..


kyle

This is for post harvest to top off the stores of the hive and backfill much of the brood chamber (that's not going to used for brood anyway) for surviving the winter.  Doing it now, when the possibility still exists for 1 or more honey flows, will force the bees to backfill now which can result in a late August or September swarm, which can be real hard on the hive.  Backfilling is one of the earlier signs of swarming during the foraging season, the bees stock the stores so they have enough for every worker to gorge themselves on when they swarm.
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« Reply #29 on: July 06, 2008, 11:59:20 AM »

UPDATE.........

Did an inspection yesterday to see what's going on with the medium super not being drawn out into comb.  There was some activity in the third box (medium super) that sits on top of the two deeps.  Some drawn comb but not a lot; less than 10%.  A good number of bees in the medium super too but not like they were crowded.

Pulled frames from the top brood deep and found outer frames capped with honey.  So it looks like they are storing the syrup that I have been feeding them.  Even though the top brood deep could be somewhat honey bound, the queen appears to have sufficient room for laying.  I would think that she would move up to the medium super and lay in drawn comb in that box if she were fully honey bound in the two deeps. 

Separated the two brood deeps and checked frames for queen cells.  Did not find any queen cells along the bottoms of the frames on or the sides of the frames.  It does not appear that they are building swarm cells unless they are hiding one somewhere in the hive.  Found a few drone cells though.

Checked the bees on several frames for varroa and did not see any hitching a ride.  I plan to do a sugar roll in mid August and get a mite count.  Also in mid August, I will add the 50 grams of menthol to each hive to treat for trachea.

I pulled the syrup jars off of both hives and left the medium supers on top without a queen excluder.  I increased the rear entrance opening to a little less than 3/8 of an inch to give additional ventilation.  I plan to keep a check on the capped honey and see if they begin to consume it before the next nectar flow (goldenrod and ragweed in late August or early September).

What other things should I been doing?  Can I "loosen" up the storage of honey in the top brood deep?

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"Don't know what I'd do without that boy......but I'm sure willin' to give it a try!"
J.D. Clampett commenting about Jethro Bodine.
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