Welcome, Guest

Author Topic: Bees won't use Supers.  (Read 1333 times)

Offline Tucker1

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 314
  • Gender: Male
  • "The Morning Breaks, The Shadows Flee.....
Bees won't use Supers.
« on: August 07, 2009, 12:29:40 PM »
I have one hive, where the bees just refuse to use the supers I've placed on the hive. I've tried moving the supers position in the hive, but with no luck.

So, I move two of the unacceptable supers to another hive. No problem. The second hive readily accepted them and began building comb right away.

I really don't want to have a hive with just "deeps".  Why would this one hive just refuse to the supers?  I've tried 3 different supers, and they won't accept them.  Any suggestions for making the supers work ?

Regards,
Tucker1
He who would gather honey must bear the sting of the bees.

Offline BeeHopper

  • Queen Bee
  • ****
  • Posts: 1122
  • Gender: Male
Re: Bees won't use Supers.
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2009, 12:34:52 PM »
My only guess would be that they have the room for nectar in the deeps or they just don't have the foraging strength to fill the super.  :?

Offline Cossack

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 100
  • Gender: Male
Re: Bees won't use Supers.
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2009, 12:50:22 PM »
Have you tried giving them a super with drawn comb. After you extract the honey from the super put the drawn comb on and see if they take to that.

Good Luck.
I had a dream last night, I was eating a 10 pound marshmallow. I woke up this morning and the pillow was gone.....

Offline Scadsobees

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 3198
  • Gender: Male
  • Best use of smileys in a post award.
Re: Bees won't use Supers.
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2009, 01:48:43 PM »
A couple questions...

Queen excluder?  I assume not since you don't mention it.

Plastic or wax foundation?  Some hives are less forgiving of plastic foundation.  If plastic, try wax foundation if you have it.

Hive strength?  If the hive isn't strong enough to draw comb, or if there isn't much of a flow on, then they won't draw anything out no matter what you do (well, except feeding, and you probably don't want that in the supers :))

But I agree with the others..and if you have any drawn comb that can sometimes get them started.
Rick

Offline bassman1977

  • "King Bee"
  • Super Bee
  • *****
  • Posts: 1788
  • Gender: Male
Re: Bees won't use Supers.
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2009, 03:01:51 PM »
Drawn comb works well and you can also take a drawn frame with eggs and brood.  Give them a reason to go up there.
(\__/)
(='.'=)
(''')_(''')

Offline Tucker1

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 314
  • Gender: Male
  • "The Morning Breaks, The Shadows Flee.....
Re: Bees won't use Supers.
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2009, 03:17:52 PM »
Thanks for the response and suggestions.

Here is a bit more data:  

The 3 supers are all plastic foundation. In an effort to get them to work this foundation, I've rubbed them with honey from one of my other hives. No luck. The girls in this one hive ignore the supers, just cleaning off the honey and nothing else.

The hive is quite strong, with 3 brood boxes, and lots of bees. The 3 deeps are about 70% full of bees and 90% full of foundation with either honey or larva. The 3 brood boxes have plastic foundation. However, the amount of movement outside of the hive is light, which is different from my other hives and those of local beeks. If fact, a hive located within 20 feet has a lot of outside movement.

I could move a super with drawn comb over to that hive. I'd think that might work.

It's almost as if this hive has retired for the summer and decided to just "kick back" and enjoy the weather.

It doesn't make sense to me.

Regards,
Tucker1
He who would gather honey must bear the sting of the bees.

Offline Hethen57

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 420
  • Gender: Male
Re: Bees won't use Supers.
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2009, 05:27:05 PM »
Tucker...we are in a similar location and my hives have basically quit drawing comb or are very slow, even though they are pretty much full or bees.  They are using the frames I have moved up, but not really drawing anything new...plastic, wax, or foundationless.
-Mike

Offline Tucker1

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 314
  • Gender: Male
  • "The Morning Breaks, The Shadows Flee.....
Re: Bees won't use Supers.
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2009, 06:09:59 PM »
Thanks, Hethen57. I feel a little better.  Last year this same hive behaved the same way.  Perhaps, it's just a timing issue.
He who would gather honey must bear the sting of the bees.

Offline Brian D. Bray

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 7369
  • Gender: Male
  • I really look like this, just ask Cindi.
    • http://spaces.msn.com/thecoonsden
Re: Bees won't use Supers.
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2009, 12:56:14 AM »
Tucker...we are in a similar location and my hives have basically quit drawing comb or are very slow, even though they are pretty much full or bees.  They are using the frames I have moved up, but not really drawing anything new...plastic, wax, or foundationless.

Bees will only draw comb when they have enough population to force them onto or into adjacent spaces, be they frames or supers.  Sounds to me as if with 3 deeps and a strong hive that the hive is at it's maximum population and production at 3 deeps.  That could me a queen that is starting to fail as she can only maintain a given population and not expand it beyond that pont whiich is necessary for drawing more comb and gathering more honey.
Life is a school.  What have you learned?   :brian:      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!

Offline Tucker1

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 314
  • Gender: Male
  • "The Morning Breaks, The Shadows Flee.....
Re: Bees won't use Supers.
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2009, 01:17:49 AM »
Brian: This is the second year for this queen.  I'd never given any thought to the possibility of the queen not be able to build/support a much larger colony. When Hethen 57 suggested that it might be just because of the end of our honey flow in our area, that made perfect sense.  But, that wouldn't explain the hive right next to it, still building up foundation. (I gave up on using a queen excluder last year.)

There are still some flowering bushes and weeds in the fields next to the hives, but nothing like there was this spring. Lots of flowering thistle.

The idea that a queen can be a limiting factor in hive growth makes perfect sense.  How can you tell if the hive growth is limited by the queen's performance ....or ..... because the honey flow is coming to an end? This particular hive took off really strong this spring as keep going strong until about 3 weeks ago. The hive right next to it, is still building foundation and has a lot of outbound/inbound traffic.

If I separate the 3 brood boxes by placing supers in between them, would I be creating worse problem?

Regards,
Tucker1
He who would gather honey must bear the sting of the bees.

Offline Hethen57

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 420
  • Gender: Male
Re: Bees won't use Supers.
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2009, 03:03:39 AM »
Brian, wouldn't they still need lots of nectar or sugar water to be able to draw all that comb at this time of year?
-Mike

Offline Brian D. Bray

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 7369
  • Gender: Male
  • I really look like this, just ask Cindi.
    • http://spaces.msn.com/thecoonsden
Re: Bees won't use Supers.
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2009, 12:31:48 AM »
Brian, wouldn't they still need lots of nectar or sugar water to be able to draw all that comb at this time of year?

Not really, bees will only build comb if the population is expanding into or onto new frames or supers, if that is happening then the bees will draw comb even without a honey flow, albeit a tad slower due to a reduced nectar flow.  If the population is not expanding no amount of available nectar or syrup will make them draw comb, they will store it instead, then draw burr comb when the drawn comb is filled and capped and ignore a super in the process.  The latter is the behavior you want to see in the bees post harvest because it insures stores for overwintering.
Life is a school.  What have you learned?   :brian:      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!