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Author Topic: brood box/winter question  (Read 1664 times)
forrestcav
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« on: September 04, 2011, 09:15:00 PM »

I have a question, bear with me i'm a first year beek in TN. Back in june I set a second brood box and have been hands off ever since. I didn't super as I wanted to build brood. I openned my hive for the first time last week. Top box good brood with capped honey over it. 4-5 frames capped and unripe honey, one frame untouched. Bottom box some pollen, very little brood, no real honey. Is this nomal? Can I expect them to start filling the bottom back up for winter? I fugire I still have two or so months of foraging before frost. Do I need to be feeding?
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Finski
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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2011, 10:59:37 PM »

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Your colony  is really small. Reason is that it has swarmed several times and bees have escaped.

Now lower box is empty and upper box is not all occupyed.

Feeding helps  nothing.

Your shoul get one box full of brood for winter. You should open every week the hive and learn what bees are doing.

Now it is better to take the lower box off and restrict ventilation that the hive is warm for brooding. Take those 4 capped frames off and put brood frames from lower box into one punch.  
put full food frames against  boath sides of the box.

Have you emerging bees from brood?

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CapnChkn
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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2011, 11:43:11 PM »

Hello my friend!

I cant really comment on the stores and brood pattern for going into winter, I haven't got that far myself.  I can point out that we've been having a fairly severe drought here in middle Tennessee.  I didn't see them bring in any pollen in July at all.  I fretted over not having a strong population going into winter, so I put together the ingredients for Pollen Substitute.

I put that on a hive that should have been built up at the start of August, and they were GLAD to get it.  They cleaned the plate.  I put two more on in the meantime, now they're bringing in a brown-yellow pollen and cotton.  I've been feeding them 1:1 or thinner syrup.  They haven't drawn any more comb, but have been sucking that dry.  I've even had to set up an open feeder to keep strangers out of their hive.

Hopefully with the recent rains we should see a goldenrod bloom.  I haven't seen any, but one of the locals told me he saw it starting.  As for the number of bees, we had an old rotten hive that took care of itself in the barn for 3 years without any outside help.  There was one deep on top and about 3 frames of honey under it beneath a plastic tray.
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mikecva
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« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2011, 09:51:29 AM »

A colony will move up in the winter as they consume their stores.

Last year my friend had a new hive that built the brood in the upper box (full sizes). He had put two boxes on his new package bees and did not check on them for a month (now in late July). He had stores in the lower box (but not much) with brood and stores building in the upper box. We switched boxes (full box not just frames) and the bees kept going with brood building in the now lower box. We fed 1:1 in a top feeder as there was little nectar then. To be honest, we thought the colony would not make it through the winter but it did but with about 50% losses. The colony continued to grow and is doing great this year.

Keep in touch. You might also ask a mentor from a local bee club to check you hive before you do anything.  -Mike
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AliciaH
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« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2011, 10:27:45 AM »

How about switching the boxes?  Since bees like to store over the brood, the deep with mostly empty frames would be on top.  If you feed them, they will store there. 

Keep in mind, if the colony is small, miracles are not going to heppen overnight.  If it's only the size of one box, you will still may need reduce for winter.  I think the advantage would be that when you reduce, you could better supply the box they are in with any frames they did fill, and if you're lucky, have one or two to feed back later.

Of course, this is all dependent on whether or not you want to feed or let them collect their own, and what the remaining whether and forage for your area is. 
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T Beek
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« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2011, 10:52:53 AM »

Winter is coming fast in North Wisconsin, we had 36 F this AM.  My bees have been hitting the goldenrod, asters and multitudes of garden flowers.  I've also been open feeding but so far they are not taking much (I only have three hives going into this winter) but will in a hurry once frost comes.  Even yellowjackets are not taking it.  We are in the middle of our last flow for the year.

As beekeeping is largely a regional craft, different regions can/will practice different methods.  We could have our first killing frost anytime now and preparations are under way.  We will continue to open feed until overnight temps stay below freezing consistently.  We've already begun the process of condensing colonies by removing honey supers and 'all' empty frames from hives.  Keeping Your Broodnests Open (KYBO) is no longer a beekeepers concern during winter preparations, in fact the opposite may be true.

My two Langs should winter in 4 mediums very well this year, both came through strong, despite major bear damage this spring.  We had to reverse some boxes a couple weeks ago and all is well.

Our LONG Hive is packed full, about 50/50 bees and honey on 33 of 36 frames (the best condition ever for our LONG).  I replaced the honey side follower board which is now ready to fill w/ dry sugar before winter sets in for real.  

Number of bees is key right now and I'm pleased with current numbers this late.

thomas
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forrestcav
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« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2011, 11:53:21 AM »

well first off there not really all that small a hive for a first year package. I set the scond deep in june because they had drawn 7 of 10 frames. They move into the top and have drawn 9 of 10 frames. I didn't disturb them other than walk arounds, because they were very active. I have bees on all frames, just little brood in the bottom. I have great brood patterns. It seems like the queen moved up to the upper box and hasn't been back down. I never really thought albout our lack of rain. I did consider switching boxes. Today it raining buckets, so maybe a sept. bloom will happen. I do have pollen in the bottom box. Think if maybe I start hive top feeding they will continue to back fill the top forcing the queen into the bottom box or should I move the brood into the bottom box, leace the stores on the top box along with any "empty" frames of comb and feed?
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CapnChkn
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« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2011, 12:10:31 PM »

I was talking to my neighbor the other day.  I mentioned my bees had stopped drawing the supers out, and he said this time of the year it's important to close the bees in to restrict the space they'll have to guard because of SHB.  "If I have a brood box that's full, I like to take a frame out, if it's all honey, and put that in the freezer.  Then I put in an empty frame."

I had a hive that absconded this time last year because of the beetles.  I haven't seen any larvae this year, but I took an empty super off after what he said and knocked around 50 beetles off all the frames.
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forrestcav
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« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2011, 01:03:07 PM »

I saw very few beetles and had bees on most all frames and quite a few on the landing board. I just want to make sure they have plenty of feed for the winter.
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forrestcav
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« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2011, 03:02:45 PM »

ok I had to go to town anyhow, so I picked up sugar and a paint bucket to make a hive top feeder. I hate the thought of them starving.
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sterling
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« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2011, 06:21:01 PM »

The empty frames in the bottom box may have had brood that emerged and been cleaned out and are waiting for the queen to lay or the queen may have layed in the cells and you didn't see the eggs. If either is the case then when the brood emerges in the top box they will fill the frames with nector. Four to five frames full of honey at this time of year in Hillsboro TN. is not bad.
Around where you live in TN. you prolly should check inside the hive more often then you have so you can keep an eye on such things as SHB populations.
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forrestcav
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« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2011, 09:32:14 PM »

yeah I know I should check more often. I was trying to let the ladies do there thing undisturbed. I wanted them to build brood and get strong. I was hoping for a strong hive in the spring I could split. I'm hoping to expand and my local orchard would like me to set up a bee on there property. My bees, their fruit trees, my labor. yes I aggree there may be eggs I missed. I will add syrup tomorrow if it's not pouring rain and see if they take it. Mybe with the rain we'll get a late season bloom and the syrup they will be good to go come spring.
As for SHB I did look when I openned I only saw one or two. maybe I should add an oil pan to my SBB.
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T Beek
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« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2011, 05:49:10 AM »

If you want strong colonies in the Spring you have to prepare well the summer before.  Letting bees do their own thing has likely seen millions, billions if not more, leave this world for good.  Unfortunately it is common with new beeks. 

Regular inspections are highly recommended (at least every ten days days).  You can't know what's going on inside without looking inside.

thomas
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forrestcav
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« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2011, 10:41:42 AM »

so i'm learning. Went ahead and started feeding this morning. I put a quart of syrup in a hive top feeder. Maybe they're take especially since its raining and they can't fly. I'll know better for next year.
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Hemlock
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« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2011, 10:15:39 PM »

My understanding is that reversing boxes is a management practice used in Spring to Slow Down the Build up.  Moving things around makes the bees take time & resources to correct it. 

How many frames have brood on them?  You still might have around two months of good brooding left. 

Feeding could help but like Finski says you need a population big enough to fill the space.
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2011, 10:33:36 PM »

My understanding is that reversing boxes is a management practice used in Spring to Slow Down the Build up.  Moving things around makes the bees take time & resources to correct it. 

How many frames have brood on them?  You still might have around two months of good brooding left. 

Feeding could help but like Finski says you need a population big enough to fill the space.

You want the brood to be in the bottom box in the fall because as the bees use up the stores they will move up to the stores above them. You also want to make sure to remove the QE (Queen Excluder) to allow the Q to remain on the middle of the bees.
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CapnChkn
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« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2011, 12:37:17 AM »

Well, the bees don't determine where to lay according to the size of the box.  The only barrier to the queen is the space between the brood box and super.  It works, and old time hives were designed with that in mind.  I always wondered what keeps a 2 brood box hive running.

So, "putting on a super" is really just setting it up for beekeeper honey robbing.  The bees don't see it as tribute, they will use it for stores as well.  I'm just using one deep and a shallow, because I'm out of usable hive bodies.  They've filled the brood chamber(s), and I'm worrying they aren't filling the supers.  About July they stopped drawing comb; period.

From what I'm reading here, it seems they stopped brood production at the start of the dearth, went through their stores waiting for a break, and have started to build stores again.  With the stores, you should see them building brood.  Since that's what we're worried about, I would think the plan of action here would be to feed them 1:1 syrup.  Since you have the frames drawn, I would keep an eye on the stores and avoid having them go honeybound.  Remember, they need protein as well.

I have a chair set right next to the hives, whenever I get a break I sit and watch what they're doing; my nose about 12 inches from the entrance.  Right now no pollen goes in after 10 in the morning.  But the pollen is going in.  They don't mind some sub, but I don't want to feed the beetles.  Sometimes they surprise me in the late afternoon with a cloud of bees hovering in front of the hive.  I know it's orientation.  What are your bees doing?
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Finski
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« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2011, 01:09:33 AM »

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You say that you have two months to the frost.

Bees need one month to prepare to winter. They make brood frames and the brood are will be a winter cluster. The bigger the brood area, the better bees stand over winter.

FIRST: TAKE CAPPED HONEY AWAY FROM BROOD BOX THAT QUEEN HAS SPACE TO LAY.

if you turn boxes, bees must heat the upper box too. If bees have not got more honey during summer than 4 frames why should they get it now?

- Take lower box off
- take 4 capped frames off

- restrict ventilation that hive is warm.

- Concentrate to grow up the colony. You have time.

I press my hives to one or two boxes. They have now 5-7 boxes.
Many hives are full of honey, about 100 kg. I am in a hurry to extract.

I have small nucs too, which have 3 or 5 frames of brood.

Summer is over now here and normally hives have not brood any more, but now I have.

I take all honey away. I put an empty box over the brood box than within 1 week bees fiil it and capp. Brood box has not enough space to fill and capp in a short time.

WHY I TELL THIS
- your colony is really small  normal hives should be in  late summe 4-6 boxes.
- you have time to rear it up to get a good winter cluster
- you must follow hives weekly that you learn something
- most important is pollen that the colony grows.


Feed feed feed. That is an advice if a beginner do not know what to do. It does not go that way.
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