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Author Topic: population booming, but no comb being drawn  (Read 1150 times)
David LaFerney
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« on: August 06, 2009, 07:28:53 PM »

Over the past week or so I've seen more and more bees congregating on the outside of the hive until today the porch and the front of the bottom medium is covered with bees - it isn't all that hot BTW.  Also the space between the inner and outer cover is almost solid with bees - as is the bottom of the inner cover when I remove it.  The comb is all very densely covered as well.  Lots of bees in there.  I can tell that the population is growing steadily.  They are also getting much more aggressive toward me.

The hive consists of 3 8 frame mediums - the bottom two are well drawn out and filled with stores and brood, but the top box that I added about 3 weeks ago only has 3 1/4 frames of comb in it and one of those was a frame of brood that I moved up to get them to use the box at all.  The package that was hived on May 10 I don't think has done badly, but also not outstanding.

We've had record rains and there has been something (not huge amounts) in bloom continuously - lots of cool cloudy days though.  Joe pye weed and goldenrod are just now starting to bloom.

Is this all typical?  Once a real flow gets going (looks like there's a lot of goldenrod) will they start drawing comb again and stop stinging me?  Or are they all getting ready to make a break for it? 

I wouldn't be so uptight I think if I had more than one hive. 



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"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." Samuel Clemens

Putting the "ape" in apiary since 2009.
gardeningfireman
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« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2009, 08:23:38 PM »

I had the same problem with a swarm that I hived. There wasn't a queen for a while until the queen cells hatched. I had timed about when the population would jump, and put a second deep on well in advance. They didn't draw it out, and when the capped brood emerged, the queen took them and swarmed. I guess they felt too crowded in the bottom box, even with the top box that they didn't draw out. Now I'm in the same situation again with waiting for the new queen to emerge, mate and start laying. Hopefully, in the meantime, they will draw out the top box this time!
Good luck,
Alan
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David LaFerney
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« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2009, 08:36:43 PM »

I had the same problem with a swarm that I hived. There wasn't a queen for a while until the queen cells hatched. I had timed about when the population would jump, and put a second deep on well in advance. They didn't draw it out, and when the capped brood emerged, the queen took them and swarmed. I guess they felt too crowded in the bottom box, even with the top box that they didn't draw out. Now I'm in the same situation again with waiting for the new queen to emerge, mate and start laying. Hopefully, in the meantime, they will draw out the top box this time!
Good luck,
Alan

My two bottom boxes are cram packed - I don't see how they can move stores up to the top through it.  I wonder if I should take some brood frames out of them and move them up to the top to even out the population pressure.  Your experience makes me think maybe so.  Thanks for the input.
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"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." Samuel Clemens

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mswartfager
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« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2009, 08:42:37 PM »

Why not switch them and put the top box on the bottom where the entrance is for a week or so? 
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asprince
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« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2009, 08:44:30 PM »

Do you have a queen excluder above the top boxes?


Steve
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iddee
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« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2009, 08:46:46 PM »

Similar to mswartfager, I would put the empty box in the center. They do not like open space in their nest and will draw it much faster.

If you do have an excluder on it, get rid of it until the frames are drawn out.
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David LaFerney
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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2009, 09:01:37 PM »

Do you have a queen excluder above the top boxes?


Steve

No excluder.  I only have the 3 boxes period.
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"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." Samuel Clemens

Putting the "ape" in apiary since 2009.
David LaFerney
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« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2009, 09:03:58 PM »

Similar to mswartfager, I would put the empty box in the center. They do not like open space in their nest and will draw it much faster.

If you do have an excluder on it, get rid of it until the frames are drawn out.

No excluder, but that sounds like a plan.  I'm thinking from the responses that I do indeed have a problem and need to take action.  Not just being a nervous newbee. Thanks.
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"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." Samuel Clemens

Putting the "ape" in apiary since 2009.
David LaFerney
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2009, 01:30:05 PM »

Yesterday I opened the hive and took a couple of frames of brood out of the cram-packed lower bodies, put them into the wide open top box, replaced them with empty frames (wooden starter strips) and put the scant box in the middle.

After doing this re-arranging everything still looked pretty well populated, so I went ahead and supered with a box of empty foundationless frames.  I also propped up the front edge of the empty super about 5/16" for ventilation/top entrance.

Today everything looks much more normal from the outside - no bearding, very little fanning, and TONS of arrivals and departures.  I have my fingers crossed that they will quickly draw and fill that empty super from all of the golden rod and joe pye that is just now blooming - and not swarm.

Thanks for the help - I wouldn't have been sure that I needed to do something without it.
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"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." Samuel Clemens

Putting the "ape" in apiary since 2009.
David LaFerney
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Location: Cookeville, TN - U.S.A.


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« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2009, 01:36:56 PM »

Now that I have already dealt with this I read an archived article by Walt Wright about swarm control and why bees swarm where he talked about the bees making a dome of capped honey above the brood nest and being reluctant to move above it at certain times of year.  I realized that was exactly what I had in my hive - a dome of capped honey at the top of the second box.  When I moved up a single frame of brood (and honey) they mostly went to work filling in the empty spot that I had made, and only a few bees moved up to care for the brood that I had moved - the rest stayed below the honey layer.  Lots to learn.
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"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." Samuel Clemens

Putting the "ape" in apiary since 2009.
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