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Author Topic: Bees naturally move down with brood?  (Read 1444 times)
skflyfish
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« on: April 28, 2009, 09:47:23 AM »

I have been lurking for quite a while and I have not come across this question. If I missed it, sorry.

Last fall I had my first hive to make it to winter with lots of bees and good storage. We had a bit of a fall flow and they 1/2 filled a honey super. The two hive bodies had a fair bit of honey in them, but there were lotsa bees so I decided to leave the honey super on as an insurance policy. My setup is a screened bottom board that has a close off insert board and an insulated top cover with a top entrance.

It was a colder than recent normal winter and they eventually moved up to the honey super and I even started feeding them crystallized honey in late February. I didn't open the hive to check stores, but figured if they were to the top, they must have used a lot of their stores. When I tipped the hive it seemed pretty light.

I got into the hive a week or so ago and did a quick, but not thorough inspection and they actually had some honey left in the upper hive body and honey super. The queen had started laying brood in the honey super, so I guess that box is now a permanent part of my setup. There were a large number of bees in the upper hive body but not that much brood. I could see where some brood died during the winter. The bottom hive body had a few bees on it and some dead brood as well.

Right now the hive is quite strong and they are bringing back lotsa pollen and now some nectar. I don't want to lose the hive to swarming, but I am not sure what their natural tendencies are.

My question is, will they naturally move down to lay brood or do I have to manipulate the frames to get them to move down?

Thanks.
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iddee
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2009, 11:19:00 AM »

They will naturally move down
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skflyfish
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« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2009, 08:51:15 PM »

Thanks!
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crowhammer
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« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2009, 09:13:32 PM »

If you want your super back for honey and not brood rearing, there's an easy way to do it. Just make sure the queen is down below and not in the super, then put an excluder in below the super. The bees will cover and care for the brood, but the queen wont be able to lay there anymore. In just 21 days, approximately,  you'll have your super back for honey.
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skflyfish
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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2009, 10:56:10 AM »

Thanks!

That sure sounds easy and quite smart. In hind-sight why didn't I think of it. So much to learn about this beekeeping.  Smiley

I had just resigned myself that the honey super for brood rearing would be a good thing, cause I usually have a frame or two of honey left over and it would be easy to feed them in the winter if stores got low. This hive was huge when it went into winter and I am thinking that good number of bees in the north really helps with winter survival. I am wondering what another 30% increase in brood area would do?

Now I have to decide if I want to take it off or not.  Smiley
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skflyfish
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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2009, 06:50:13 PM »

Well I couldn't leave well enough alone and after talking to the professional beek that I bought a couple of nucs from two weeks ago, I decided to move the middle deep to the bottom and move the bottom deep between the now bottom deep and the honey super that they were laying in. At the time, they were cleaning and starting to lay in what was the middle deep and the bottom deep was mostly devoid of bees.

Two weeks later and nothing is happening like I thought it would. They are still laying in the upper super, and the bottom deep. The bottom deep has some drone brood, but no queen cells that I could see. No drones cells at all in the super. What I am surprised at, is the middle deep is almost full of uncapped honey with only a little brood at the bottom of the frames. We have some abandoned apple trees in the area, but the girls weren't even on the dandelions, so I am surprised at the amount of honey. So now they are laying above and below recent honey. Also the hive was almost full of bees. I was kinda surprised at the number of bees as the orientation flights as of late are only slightly more than the nucs.

So I was torn at what to do. Should I move the super between the deeps or not. I didn't. I added a honey super to the top of the stack and am now wondering what will happen next.

Will the bees move the honey up from the middle deep to the new super and raise brood in the middle deep? Or will they feed the brood from the recent honey and then start laying there? Or will they do nothing with the honey and start swarm cells because of the lack of room for brood? Or none of the above and really leave me a head scratchin.

Thanks.
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MustbeeNuts
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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2009, 07:32:07 PM »

You know that  sorta same thing happened with me, but I just left them alone, they are now full on  the bottom, middle, and working the top, I found last year that I just kept giving them supers , when they start honey production the queen stops goin up least for me she did, I got three full supers of honey off that hive last year. . For what little I know they seem to do a better job of managemnt than I do. I Just keep giving them room or don't if there not full. I found also that they use that for food for the brood, then as it used up, the queen lays there. But see what the oldtimers tell ya.
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skflyfish
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2009, 07:46:38 PM »

Well none of what I expected, happened.  Undecided

During Memorial Day weekend I inspected the hive and didn't see any eggs or larva and after inspecting every frame twice I couldn't find the queen either. There was a lot of polished pollen too. So I got another queen locally and introduced her on May 25th. They finally ate through the candy on May 30. I checked today and I don't see an egg or larvae. And not a single capped brood cell from the old queen. The hive is full of bees and they are still bringing in nectar and pollen. I did not see the queen, but they were getting a bit testy so I left them.

How long does it take for a released queen to start laying? It has been 5 days. Am I too anxious?

Thanks.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2009, 02:16:35 PM »

>How long does it take for a released queen to start laying? It has been 5 days. Am I too anxious?

Anywhere from 24 hours to two weeks.  It depends.
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Michael Bush
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skflyfish
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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2009, 03:00:27 PM »

Thanks!

I guess I will look over each frame. At this point it can't be queen-less too long.
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skflyfish
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« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2009, 05:27:11 PM »

First off, I want to thank this forum. From all the reading I did hear, I really think it helped me save this laying worker hive.

Despite re-queening this hive at the end of May, the laying worker(s) just seemed to dominate this hive, despite being queen-right. By early July the hive was mostly drone brood. I decided to save it by shaking the frames about 65 feet away from the hive and start putting in a frame of brood and eggs weekly from another hive. I tore the hive apart and put all the frames in the shakeout area. Then I put a queen excluder on the bottom and top of the deeps so the drones and maybe the dud queen wouldn't get back into the hive. I shook and brushed each frame and then walked over and put them back in the hive. A lot of bees returned, enough that I needed the two deeps it originally had. I then traded a frame of eggs and brood from a good hive I had. I added a frame of brood and eggs each week for three weeks. They never once tried to make a queen cell. After the third week I bought yet another queen and let them release her into the hive. This time she was a good one and I now have 6 frames of brood and 3.5 frames of honey. They are starting to draw out some fresh comb in the upper deep but they are not laying or storing in it yet. (As the bee numbers dwindled, I eventually moved the original upper deep to a nuc/hive that was really taking off)

I am feeding and it looks like they might be in good shape for winter.

But there is more to the story. wink

The next day after the shakeout, there was a softball sized clump of bees where I had shaken them. Feeling sorry for them I decided to put them into a nuc and fed them and see what would happen. We sure enough the dud queen was in the pile and in 10 days she started laying, but this time a good tight pattern on worker brood. I have been feeding this nuc since then and they have built up to about 3.5 frames of brood/bees, but little honey or pollen.

So now the question. It seems reasonable that I should combine the nuc back to it's original hive so they have good numbers before winter and feed, feed, and feed some more. Does that sound reasonable? If so, what would be the best way to combine a nuc with a hive? Just exchange frames or some kinda newspaper method? Should I let the queens decide who lives or should I off one.

Thanks!
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