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Author Topic: First Year Beek w/ Question  (Read 1094 times)
sarafina
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Location: Houston, TX


« on: October 03, 2008, 05:05:42 PM »

This is my first year as a beekeeper and I didn't pick the best year to start!  I have had 2 major surgeries and this has hampered my ability to get into my hives to inspect so they have been left to their own devices since the end of June.

I only have one hive and it was building up nicely with 2 deeps and I added a honey super around mid-May with starter strips.  End of June I harvested 3 frames of honey out of the center, replaced them with frames of starter strips and intended to come back for the rest later.

Because of my health I was not able to inspect again until today.  I live about 20 miles north of Galveston, TX and we got hammered with high winds from hurricane Ike.  We had a large tree come down in the back yard and it fell around the beehive.  By some miracle, the "Y" in the branches fell on either side of it and it was ok!  My beehive was the first thing I checked on at first light as I only had about 10 rocks piled on top of it to weight it down.

Anyway, when I opened up my hive today the top super was full of caped larvae and running out of room.  I had intended to take the super off and add the third deep but now that it has larvae in it I just left it.  I added another box with the plastic frames.

I didn't look in the lower boxes as I am not really sure what to look for and I wasn't sure I am strong enough yet to pull the top box off with it full.

My bees are flying like like they always have and I sometimes see the orientation flights of a new group (always thrills me!).  It is cooler here, but still warm - 60's at night, high 80's during the day and the flowers are coming back after wilting from the hot summer.

Is there anything I need to do different to my hive?  Do I need to go into the lower boxes and if so, what should I look for?  I will probably be up to it in a few weeks.

Thanks,
Sarah
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Melilem
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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2008, 12:41:02 AM »

Hi Sarah, maybe you should take it easy after surgery. If it were my hive, I would want to break it down to see whats going on. You might need some help, maybe your local beekeeping chapter will send someone out to help you if you contact the secretary with your dilema. You know we are all addicts.
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sarafina
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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2008, 12:31:17 AM »

I guess my problem is I am not really sure what to look for if I "broke it down" and went into all the boxes.

There aren't any beekeeping groups here in Friendswood - the nearest is Houston which isn't too far, but I haven't been able to get to any of their meetings yet even though I am a member.

If the lower boxes are empty, should I just remove them and save them for next spring when I hope to split the hive?  If not, should I just leave it alone?

Only having one hive really hinders what you can do, but I am slowly building up the woodenware for another hive next spring.
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steve
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« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2008, 07:27:28 AM »

Good morning Sarafina,
        Most likely, given the conditions that the hive has gone through recently the lower deep may be empty,
        of course the only way to know is to get into it which sounds like that may not be an option at this time.
        But if you could get some help and if the lower hive body was found to be some what empty you could take it  and set it on top of the brood super (reversing), then feed the girls if required .
        Holding off for a few weeks till you get better should not be a problem , bee wise that is, but I would have a friend lift the side of the hive to see how heavy it is........if it is very light I would start feeding, if it is fairly heavy just keep on doing what your doing.....are the bees bringing in pollen ?
         Anyway if you have a strong hive your brood pattern may extend down from the super to the hive body below it...that's good. What you are looking for of course is plenty of honey and pollen around the brood area.
What you are looking for in the bottom hive body is a continuation of the brood or frames with just honey...maybe a little pollen. If there is no brood you can move that lower hive body to the top of the stack and feed as required.
          Bees tend to feed upwards through the winter so it's good to have plenty of stores above them..........
                                                                                    good luck,
                                                                                         get better,
                                                                                             keep your smoker fuel dry,
                                                                                                                               Steve
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Melilem
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2008, 07:03:22 AM »

Sorry Sarafina, my advise was bad. I guess I just like pulling hives apart Smiley Husband corrected me and said the same thing as Steve here- she just moved up into your nice newly drawn supers and started laying. The hive probably isnt overcrowded. Jon suggests you use a fumeboard on the supers and take the honey comb out, and consolidate the brood into one box. He says put the super of brood on top- she will lay below when the temperature changes.
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Understudy
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« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2008, 08:05:41 AM »

Unless there is an excluder between the boxes I don't believe the bottom would be empty. However the way to be sure is to look in the bottom box. However since you need some time to recover will it be a problem? NO, your bees will do just fine without you poking in. Note that the brood cycle may mean that by the time you do get to look the brood pattern may have shifted. Which is normal. You may see more eggs in those cells than capped brood.

When you feel better go into your hive. The bees will be fine in the mean time.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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