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Author Topic: lots of foundation, no drawn comb  (Read 1452 times)
beerookie
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« on: May 08, 2009, 04:22:34 PM »

Hello everyone,
Newbee thinking, scary isn't it? Anyhow, I got my hive in early March, 2008, which consisted of one deep and one shallow. I put a med. super of foundation on 5/5/08. They only managed to draw out 2 partial frames. I still have those in freezer.
This year I put a deep of foundation on 4/18. There is a lot of bees in there, but it seems their just wondering around and not working.
I am more concerned with comb production than honey at this point. So I was thinking, since bees naturally build down, that if I put foundation under brood chamber they would continue downward and backfill old comb with honey as it becomes available.
Does anyone think this might work? Any thoughts and opinions greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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iddee
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2009, 04:46:43 PM »

Do you have a queen excluder on the hive? If so, put it in the garage, at least, or maybe even the trash bin.
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beerookie
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« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2009, 04:50:51 PM »

No queen excluder
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Doby45
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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2009, 05:56:45 PM »

Spray your foundation with syrup, better yet spray it with Honey-B-Healthy syrup.  They will draw it out.
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Koala John
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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2009, 06:00:01 PM »

Hi Beerookie,
I found that the only thing that will result in drawn comb is lots of nectar coming into the hive. Unless there is a flow on, they will not draw wax, no matter what you try. Lots of bees coming and going does not necessarily mean there is a flow on - some of the more experienced people here can tell you how to tell when there is a flow.

A strong hive with lots of bees will draw wax very quickly when there is food about. A smaller hive will draw wax more slowly, because they have a lot less foragers out there gathering nectar to be used for wax production. Either way, I suggest you leave things as they are until the nectar starts coming on and you should be rewarded with a box of drawn comb, quickly followed by a box of honey! Fingers crossed for a good season for you.
John.
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beerookie
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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2009, 06:14:09 PM »

Thanks Doby, I did spray syrup. Am i supposed to spray  just once, or every so often? I'm lost.

Thanks John, the girls have been taking about a quart of 1:1 every couple days. I thought that mimmicked nectar flow. What am I missing?
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Doby45
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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2009, 06:20:44 PM »

You just spray the frames once, it is "suppose" to get the bees to accept the frames because their scent will be on them from working the syrup off.  If they are taking syrup or if there is a flow going on, they will build it as they need it.  My only rational behind spraying the frames is if they are shunning them due to them being "alien".
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Koala John
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« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2009, 06:24:18 PM »

In my experience (not extensive) I've only fed when they are in danger of starvation, so they have used it to survive, and stored a little in already existing comb, but have not used it to build more comb. I'm not saying that can't happen though. If they were to use it to build new comb, I would expect they would fill up much of their existing comb first - has that happened yet?

What are the trees and ground cover doing in your area? Are they flowering now? How strong is the hive? I expect that unless you have a significant amount of flowering going on somewhere local, you'll just have to wait - I don't think you're missing anything except a nectar flow. But I am on the other side of the world, so perhaps someone in your area can tell you what is happening there.
Good luck, John.
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kathyp
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« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2009, 06:33:11 PM »

if your 2nd deep is for brood, it won't hurt to put it under.  they build brood comb down and store honey up.  it never hurts to put your second brood box under BUT come fall, you will have to make sure that it is drawn out and full of bees.  you don't want an empty box sitting there all winter.

the bees won't draw anything if there is no flow or you are not feeding.  you need to evaluate how they are using the space that they have.  do they even need more room?  how many frames are taken with brood, how many with honey, etc.

remember, the bees didn't read the books.  if you try something and it doesn't work, there is no harm in rethinking what you are doing....and getting some help   grin
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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hankdog1
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« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2009, 11:23:02 PM »

Do you have a queen excluder on the hive? If so, put it in the garage, at least, or maybe even the trash bin.

Hey don't throw it in the trash you can cut the queen excluders or honey excluders as i like to call them down and use them to keep a caught swarm from leaving by putting it on the frount of the hive so the queen can't leave  evil.  All junk has a use lol.
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beerookie
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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2009, 09:57:04 AM »

if your 2nd deep is for brood, it won't hurt to put it under.  they build brood comb down and store honey up.  it never hurts to put your second brood box under BUT come fall, you will have to make sure that it is drawn out and full of bees.  you don't want an empty box sitting there all winter.

I think this might be the ticket! I'm trying to get the girls to move into new equip. anyway. Hive is old, very hard to inspect. No matter how much propilis I scrape, I still have trouble removing frames. On the one inspection I tried last year, I manage to pull 2 frames apart. They just won't stay together. Hopefully, this will get them to move into new housing I bought last year. Thanks alot kathyp!

And thanks to all others for input.


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kathyp
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« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2009, 10:11:59 AM »

ahhhh, but....

they tend to move up to winter!  when you get the queen laying in the bottom box, and you know she is down there, put an excluder between upper and lower deeps.  allow the brood in upper deep to hatch out.  remove and replace box.

you will probably have honey and pollen in the box that you remove.  either feed it back to the bees or harvest it, but you must make sure that your bees have enough food going into winter.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
CBEE
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« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2009, 10:28:03 AM »

Have you been feeding them? If so are they taking it or not paying any attention to it ?  I would think with your location you would be in a flow by now but if the colony is small then extra comb building will be minimal if any at all until they build numbers. Are there lots of brood ?  You say there are a lot of bees but remember there must be enough to take care of the brood, keep house, forage and then deal with what is being brought back. No offense but bee numbers can be relative to the eye of the beholder. I went to get a swarm the other day that the guy swore was massive. It was maybe a little over 2 pounds but nowhere near what he described grin
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Gware
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« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2009, 10:40:39 AM »

well I had a super with bees working it and as soon as I put a queen excluder on they left it cold turkey
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kathyp
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« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2009, 10:46:48 AM »

the key in this case will be to get the queen laying in it, then put the excluder on.  some bees will tend the brood left above, others will tend the new brood with the queen.  also, if the entrance is on the bottom, the upper bees will need to move down to exit.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Gware
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« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2009, 02:50:15 PM »

I thought I had the only lazy bees, but location is very important even 5 miles makes a different there might be a flow 5 miles down the road and nothing at another site
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Boom Buzz
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« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2009, 12:33:36 AM »

I am having a similar problem on one of my hives.  The hive was started from a package in March.  There were 8 frames 90% drawn out by about June 1 so I put on medium brood box ( using pierco frames/foundation).  Now one month later it looks like they did not finish drawing out the deeps and have made very little progress on the mediums (maybe 40% on two frames).  I believe we have a flow going - I see the bees working the raspberries and alfalfa.  Also in the past three weeks I have put out an ample amount of honey comb to clean up from two cut outs.  So there is honey for them to store.  But the comb progress is slooooooow.   Sad   One thing, I could not find the queen nor eggs.  There is a lot of capped brood in the deep.  Also there are a number of supercedure cells.  So I suspect the hive is queenless.

Do the bees slow down or stop comb production if the hive is queenless?  Or does this have little bearing on the pace of comb production?
The hive has a lot of bee - healthy bee count.  There are a lot of bees on the pierco foundation in the mediums, but they just seem to be hanging out.  Maybe I should spray the foundation with syrup?
Thanks
John
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2009, 02:02:17 AM »

I am having a similar problem on one of my hives.  The hive was started from a package in March.  There were 8 frames 90% drawn out by about June 1 so I put on medium brood box ( using pierco frames/foundation).  Now one month later it looks like they did not finish drawing out the deeps and have made very little progress on the mediums (maybe 40% on two frames).  I believe we have a flow going - I see the bees working the raspberries and alfalfa.  Also in the past three weeks I have put out an ample amount of honey comb to clean up from two cut outs.  So there is honey for them to store.  But the comb progress is slooooooow.   Sad   One thing, I could not find the queen nor eggs.  There is a lot of capped brood in the deep.  Also there are a number of supercedure cells.  So I suspect the hive is queenless.

Supercedure cells means only a temporary queenlessness, the bees are correcting what they see as a problem so let the supercede.

Quote
Do the bees slow down or stop comb production if the hive is queenless?

Not usually, bees are going to forage for nectar and pollen because without it they die, queenlessness is often a correctable problem as long as eggs are available.

Quote
  Or does this have little bearing on the pace of comb production?

Being queenright or queenless is only indirectly involved in comb production, what affects comb production is that bees will only build comb under their feet so to keep a hive building comb it is necessary for the hive to have an expanding population.  A hive can still have a population increase absent a queen as long as there is hatching brood.


Quote
The hive has a lot of bee - healthy bee count.  There are a lot of bees on the pierco foundation in the mediums, but they just seem to be hanging out.  Maybe I should spray the foundation with syrup?
Thanks
John

Bees do not like to work plastic.  To get them to work plastic it needs to be aired out and free of that new plastic smell.  Adding coat of wax in plastic foundation is also a help.  Spraying the foundation with simple syrup is another help. 
Spray the syrup on so the bees have to work the plastic to get the syrup, that should get them started.  If not then add a layer of wax and repeat the syrup spray.
I've seen hives that would rather abscond than work plastic. 
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