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Author Topic: when to supers?  (Read 3509 times)
T Beek
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« Reply #20 on: July 03, 2011, 06:27:38 AM »

Let queens lay where "they" want to.  Many Beeks practice the art of promoting 'unlimited broodnest' along with focused KYBO (Keeping Your Broodnests Open).  Personally, I only use an excluder when having trouble locating queens, in several boxes.

See archives on this site or MB's site for greater details.

thomas
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mikecva
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« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2011, 07:51:47 AM »

Sorry, I try not to reccommend (I think it implies I am smarter then you), unless I think you may do great harm. I will volenteer info on what I have read or have been involved with and hope that info is usefull to you.

I do use Queen Excluders because I want the brood to have a better chance of overwintering rather then the colony/brood being spreadout to the point that it cannot coltrol its heat it the winter. This does mean (in my opionion) that I must carefully watch the honey stores so the bees have 50-60 pounds of honey going into winter in their three medium size boxes.  -Mike
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T Beek
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« Reply #22 on: July 03, 2011, 08:05:15 AM »

I live in N/W Wisconsin.  I 'try' to leave each colony 100 lbs of stores.  I'm not successful too often, its rare in fact, but I try.  I only offer info (recommendations) on methods I've tried (I don't necessarily trust something I've read and not at least attempted).

I also use all mediums (foundationless and treatment free) and also squeeze them down to as many as four and as few as two for overwintering.

Not exactly sure what purpose excluders serve to successfully overwinter bees.  Please elaborate on that (as I haven't tried it grin).

thomas
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sc-bee
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« Reply #23 on: July 03, 2011, 08:40:35 AM »

If you guys aren't recommending using excluders, how do you keep the queen from cruising up there and laying?

We don't stop the queen from cruising up there and laying. Free ranging queens! She lays where she feels. Separate any frames with brood before extracting. Some (I think) still mark and keep frames that have been used for brood separate.
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antaro
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« Reply #24 on: July 03, 2011, 12:38:23 PM »

Interesting. I have a super added to one of my hives and am using an excluder. While there is definitely some bee population up there, it is not being drawn out at all. I am not too concerned about honey, more that I want my hives to survive the winter. Had always just assumed that having an excluder was the way to go.
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sc-bee
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« Reply #25 on: July 03, 2011, 01:34:04 PM »

The purpose of the excluder is to keep brood out of the honey supers. That it will do. But it may also cause congestion in the hive if the queen lays up all space below the excluder and may lead to putting the bees in swarm mode. Some folks use them on a very strong hive to produce comb honey but you have to stay on top of the congestion issue. Some remove a queen to do comb honey.

When you have brood laid in your honey super a couple of items some see as a con:
-You have to separate the frames w/brood when harvesting honey.
-When the brood hatches each time it leaves a cocoon in the bottom of the cell that may eventually be filled with honey. When some extract they feel the cocoon remains may be in the honey? Of course you and I know the impurities float to the top, so for me it is a non issue.
-Frames that have had brood laid in them are more susceptible to wax worms than those that haven't had brood in them.

Pros of not running an excluder:
- The queen has free reign of running the hive (free ranging queen) therefore more space for her to lay and less congestion than being trapped below an excluder that may lead to swarming issues.
- A larger field force without an excluder, if you had an excluder and did not manage the excluder correctly, so more field force to gather nectar.
- Also some call them honey excluders and think they slow down the process of bees storing nectar.
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antaro
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« Reply #26 on: July 03, 2011, 02:50:10 PM »

Very interesting topic. I did a bit more reading on it and am now thinking of removing my excluder.
On the same subject, what is the opinion on switching the positions of the two brood boxes (deeps)? I have noticed that my bottom deep is not being used for laying by the queen and is getting full of pollen and nectar/honey. However, there is lots of empty space should the queen choose to lay there.

Is it advantageous/advised to switch the position of the boxes?
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Shanevrr
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« Reply #27 on: July 03, 2011, 06:05:49 PM »

yes i did wait to long to add super,  i sorta got screwed by my supplier, then I had to paint and add foundation which took a few days.  not to mention I assumed foundation would be done for me like I ask. I waited almost a month for my wooden ware.  or at least for him to call me and tell me there done. this is after 6 phone calls and 2 messages and 2 emails. Ummmm new local supplier anyone?

anyways, i have problem with my bottom deeps getting full of food.  I have heard many differant ways of doing it.  but is it posible to get honey this time of year?
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #28 on: July 03, 2011, 08:59:45 PM »

If you guys aren't recommending using excluders, how do you keep the queen from cruising up there and laying?

We don't worry about it.  If sufficient room is provided for the brood chamber it is unlikely the queen will need space beyond that.  In most cases of a queen moving up into a honey super to lay eggs is due to part or all of the brood chamber becoming honey bound which comes from supering too late.  Use the 70/30 rules and supply either 2 deeps or 3 mediums as your brood chamber, keep it open by moving extra storage combs up or out, and there shouldn't be a problem.

Each 10 frame deep box should have one storage frame on each side and the rest should be considered brood chamber. Keep those frames dedicated as brood, pulling any that become filled with nectar or capped honey, and a queen excluder is never neeeded.
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sc-bee
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« Reply #29 on: July 03, 2011, 11:43:53 PM »

>Use the 70/30 rules and supply either 2 deeps or 3 mediums as your brood chamber, keep it open by moving extra storage combs up or out, and there shouldn't be a problem.

>Each 10 frame deep box should have one storage frame on each side and the rest should be considered brood chamber. Keep those frames dedicated as brood, pulling any that become filled with nectar or capped honey, and a queen excluder is never neeeded.

Provided everything is the same size or you have extra equipment or extract!
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mikecva
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« Reply #30 on: July 04, 2011, 07:14:38 AM »

"Not exactly sure what purpose excluders serve to successfully overwinter bees.  Please elaborate on that (as I haven't tried it"

A fellow beeker (>20 years) and good friend has lost several colonies when he started because he free-ranged his queen. The brood area would get so large that come winter, when the colony would honker down in the center of the brood area there would be an empty space between the brood and their stores when keeping the colony warm (>2"). During most of our winters here in northwest Virginia this is not a problem but when there is a long period of subfreezing cold, some of the bees would starve to death because their stores ended up to far away. He has seen his colonies loose upward 75% of their size (ps the hives are also insulated). According to Don, the queen will slow down laying eggs sooner if the colony is running out of space and winter is coming on.

The excluder insures the size of the brood area does not become over sized and if a split is required or a fall swarm happens, I will have plenty of stores to supply the new/weaker colony.

My two cents warning to new beeks: if you decide to use an excluder make sure it is for your bees good and not because it might make your honey collection easier. Also do not put an excluder on to early after winter or on new hives.  -Mike
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sc-bee
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« Reply #31 on: July 04, 2011, 09:39:40 AM »

Different folks have different ways of doing things. What has proven to work for your mentor is tried and true for him.

My winters get in the teens occasionally but usually for no longer than a week at a time. I just reduce the size of the colony (remove extra boxes and condense) in the fall just before winter.
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T Beek
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« Reply #32 on: July 04, 2011, 01:34:47 PM »

Squeezing/condensing colonies down for wintering is part of basic beekeeping in my part of the world.  As already said, I'll winter with between 2-4 mediums, after squeezing them down in preparation.

Most beekeeping is regional.

thomas
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #33 on: July 06, 2011, 07:14:00 PM »

In a hive of 2 deeps, or mediums, there is sufficient storage space to contain enough honey and pollen to see a hive from late September through early March, especially if they've been allowed to build burr comb after honey harvest.  Feeding is simply an insurance policy to avoid deadouts as a result of rapid brood development if an extended period of adverse weather should crop up, which it often does.

The queen will cluster in the brood chamber.  She is very unlikely to cluster on storages combs that have never had eggs laid in it.  The worker bees will work those areas but the queen never goes there unless it is to escape a danger and she will only turn true storage combs into brood combs if she is somehow stuck there.   What that boils down to is that a queen won't move the cluster into a super of nothing but stores, the cluster will remain in some area of the brood chamber and the worker bees will fetch and ferry the needed stores from the storage combs to combs within the cluster area. 

I've observed the following behavior of bees in cluster:
1. The cluster, if initiated in the lower brood box, will move to the top of the brood chamber (top of upper brood chamber) consuming the stores as it goes.  In this case the stores in the outside storage combs might not be touched (especially in the lower box).
2.  If the cluster is initiated in the upper portion of the brood chamber (upper box) then the workers break cluster, when temps allow, and fetch and ferry stores which are deposited within those cells within the cluster.  In this case the cluster remains stationary the entire winter.
3. If a box of stores, never having any brood reared thereon, is placed above the brood chamber, the cluster will stop their upward movement through the stores and resort to fetch and ferry.

If a queen excluder is placed between the brood chamber and a super of stores then the action of the bees is as in case #3.  However, the queen excluder can create a situation of stores not being accessable to the bees due to the fact that the metal used in the excluder will draw the cold creating an additional barrier besides the grate of the excluder.  In an apiary when ecluders are used extensively the use of the excluder might not be a problem, but bees are creatures of habit, but in an apiary where excluders are seldom, if ever, used, using them in such a way is most likely a death sentence.
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mikecva
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« Reply #34 on: July 07, 2011, 09:13:26 AM »

Sorry all, I just reread my post where I said:
 "My two cents warning to new beeks: if you decide to use an excluder make sure it is for your bees good and not because it might make your honey collection easier. Also do not put an excluder on to early after winter or on new hives."

I left out the important fact that the excluders should come off right after honey collection and before you start any fall/winter feeding even if this means late August. Once removed, the excluders should not be put back on that year even if you get a late bloom.

I like using excluders but I can not over emphasize they are not the end-all tool for beekeepers.  I do not believe they are "honey excluders" although they sometimes make more work for me. That is probably why lots of beeks avoid them.

again, my two cents worth. They work for me, and other beeks need to decide for themselves. -Mike
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