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Author Topic: Drawing out comb  (Read 2370 times)
kemptville
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« on: February 20, 2012, 05:50:24 AM »

Morning All!

How fast do bees draw out comb on new frames during a nectar flow vs. feeding sugar/water?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2012, 06:01:23 AM »

Sometimes one hive will take syrup five times as fast as another hive.  Sometimes one hive will build comb in a flow five times as fast as another hive.  It's all speculation what a given hive will do, but the stronger they are the more laborers there are to do the work.  Comb also gets drawn faster when the temperatures are higher.  Also wax production improves the longer they have been making wax, so they keep getting better at it once they start.  A young bee starting to make wax from the start gets better than an old bee that is recruited to become a wax worker.  So the distribution of ages in a hive makes a big difference too.
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Michael Bush
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Old Blue
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2012, 01:13:44 AM »

All of the advice that I used was mostly from Micheal Bush and Brian Bray.  But to be sure there are lots of knowledgeable folks who can chime in.

I just pulled this from my "Drawing Comb" file.  and I have it highlighted because it is what has worked best for me.

"For comb building 1:1 or 1.5:1 is best.  I usually feed 1.5:1 as it speeds up the process.  5:3 will allow some comb building also but not as vigorous.  Anything heavier than 5:3 goes straight to stores."

I think this quote was from Brian and if you paste it into the search feature it will probably bring the post up.  At any rate, summer before last I captured two secondary swarms not much bigger than softballs.  I fed them both with 1.5 to 1 syrup in one gallon ziplock bags from about July onward.  By the time our flow here started in january both small swarms had built out 2 full deeps when I quit feeding them and they have been my best two hives yet.  The 1.5 to 1 syrup really seemed to stimulate the wax building and by keeping them in feed and rotating empty frames into the brood nest they really filled out their boxes and were ready for the flow.

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kemptville
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2012, 10:45:13 AM »

Interesting. Thanks for the advice.
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Francus
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2012, 04:12:28 PM »

Just my .02....and this is for foundationless...I had a package that drew nicely with 1:1. I also had a nuc I purchased and I didn't feed it anything as the flow was happening and they drew pretty quick as well. After August no amount of feeding or flow got them to fill out any more frames.

Now, maybe that is a function of the time of year, or the bee species, or just the way things are. I'm new at this so I don't have a lot of reference to go off of. I did start foundationless and I am glad I did. It is pretty easy and it is a bunch of fun to go into the hive and see how much work they have done.
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2012, 05:29:54 PM »

You are right, the bees have little interest in drawing comb in the fall.  They are interested in storing honey and the only reason to draw comb would be if they did not have a place to store the honey.
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backyard warrior
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2012, 06:25:23 PM »

when i was establishing a new hive i would feed syrup during the flow and after the flow 1 to 1  if they need space to store the syrup they will draw comb.  The best advice i could give is too keep feeding until you have two deeps and a medium drawn out going into fall with bees and honey. Some decide to stop feeding and the hive starves in early spring because they didnt have enuff drawn comb and stores to get threw the winter.  Drawn comb is a beekeepers best friend if you have drawn comb you are way ahead of the game.  Chris
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2012, 07:12:06 PM »

when i was establishing a new hive i would feed syrup during the flow and after the flow 1 to 1  if they need space to store the syrup they will draw comb.  The best advice i could give is too keep feeding until you have two deeps and a medium drawn out going into fall with bees and honey. Some decide to stop feeding and the hive starves in early spring because they didnt have enuff drawn comb and stores to get threw the winter.  Drawn comb is a beekeepers best friend if you have drawn comb you are way ahead of the game.  Chris

I agree that drawn comb is your friend.  But at least here in North Carolina, I would be careful about feeding syrup too long in the spring.  The bees have a tendency to fill up all the comb too quickly and then they swarm because they have no space.  Yes, you need to feed for a few weeks in the Spring so they have the energy to make wax.  But once the bees are actively storing syrup and the flow starts, it would be wise to slow down or stop the feeding.  If you feel you must feed, try it in short spurts.  Feed for a few days and then stop for a week.
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backyard warrior
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2012, 07:22:41 PM »

I definitely agree with that you have to watch that they don't backfill the broodnest i guess i should have elaborated a bit more sorry guys.  When i feed i check to make sure they aren't backfilling the brood chamber.  I haven't had too much problem here in the north feeding the only problem is when you feed syrup during a flow it mixes with the nectar but i don't worry about that when I'm trying to establish a new hive in the spring.  I wont feed syrup once a hive is established and the nectar flow is on because i want real honey to extract once  all my comb is drawn in my brood chambers. Smiley  I feel you need to come out of spring with a thriving hive others feel that an early package is the best bet instead of trying to over winter hives.  I disagree the problem with this is that here in the north the bees are raising brood in feb and march.  Many of times you don't get a package or nuc till late April or may.  What the bees have in numbers by this time is what they are going to have for the nectar flow.  It is imperative in my eyes to have a strong hive come spring if you want any kind of honey crop.  A package or nuc is great but count on the bees increasing in size on the nectar flow to establish themselves.  Even if you have drawn comb in a hive and you start with a package your numbers still aren't going to be there to get you that honey crop.  In my opinion numbers equal honey and going into spring a overwintered healthy hive is your best bet. Chris
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Dimmsdale
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2012, 12:12:58 PM »

Chris,

I'm in Maryland, so just a little south of you.  Just overwintered my first hive and have a couple of more packages on the way.  When do you normally start feeding your hives for spring buildup.  I've been agonizing over this for the past couple of weeks.  My hive seems to be in pretty good shape, I wintered them on 2 deeps with plenty of stores and they have yet to touch the sugar I mountain camped on top of the inner cover.  I keep thinking about pulling the trigger and putting some pollen patties and some sugar syrup on to get them drawing and building up as fast as possible, however, I've heard you need to be careful feeding them too long before the first flow.  I'm thinking we should be getting dandilions and some early flows in a month tops.  What are your thoughts?
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backyard warrior
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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2012, 07:05:08 PM »

I wouldnt feed any syrup until the temps are above freezing at nite id say april.  The bees raise brood in late winter to establish themselves for the flow. I feed paties in later feburary, early march.  They are going to raise brood either way the patty just helps them build up quicker especially if they dont have the pollen stores. They wont raise brood without steady supply of pollen  and you will have a weak hive come spring flow.  If you feed and give them patties be sure to keep giving it too them.  If you stop you will cause a harship on the bees and they will eat the brood becuz they wont have the pollen to sustain the brood rearing.  Syrup to early is a bad thing they cant get rid of the moisture and causes problems early on such as nosema.  I like to give the patties early to get them built up for spring. Remember it takes around 30 or 40 days im not sure exactly for a bee to become a forager because its their last duty so obviously they are the older bees young bees perform the hive duties inside first but if your numbers are down they will be foragers early on and the brood suffers due to lack of nurse bees.  If you dont have the population there by end of march and your flow is in mid april your bees are going to raise brood on the flow instead of storing nectar.  Lack of numbers will sacrifice your honey crop.  Some disagree to let them be and build up of the natural pollen flow in early spring.  If you go down this road of early feeding and pollen patties you are growding the bees and they will swarm at the first chance they get once queen cells are started.  Remove queen  in spring with a small split  3 or 4 frames to releave conjestion in the brood boxes.  They wont swarm without a queen.  Leave all capped brood in the hive to collect the nectar flow and they will raise a brillant new queen be sure to leave one frame of day old eggs if not they wont have the right age eggs to make a queen u will be queenless. When you have a large population and swarm cells are started this is when you obtain the best fed queens that are productive and less supercedure occurs. Be sure there is sufficient drones in the capped stage to be sure your new queen gets mated properly you remove the queen to soon and you could end up with a drone laying queen due to inproper mating.   Another benefit of a small split before main flow is its a natural mite treatment the mites can't reproduce with the absence of open brood. Another thing you can do is called a demeree manipulation it consists of taking all the capped brood and putting empty frames in the bottom box preferrebly drawn comb and then a queen excluder then another box with all the capped brood up top. It confuses the bees to think they arent ready to swarm because of the lack of capped brood down in the bottom.  Make sure the queen stays in the bottom box.  The hive and the honey bee is a great read of a book and gives lots of knowledge buy one. Smiley   When you feed the bees be sure you get in the hives every 5 or 6 days in spring they will build queen cells and they will fly into the trees gotta love it haha   Chris
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 09:23:42 PM by backyard warrior » Logged
FRAMEshift
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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2012, 09:57:29 PM »

Remove queen  in spring with a small split  3 or 4 frames to releave conjestion in the brood boxes.  They wont swarm without a queen.  Leave all capped brood in the hive to collect the nectar flow and they will raise a brillant new queen. When you have a large population and swarm cells are started this is when you obtain the best fed queens that are productive and less supercedure occurs.

I agree with everything you say, but it's a tight schedule.  The hive will swarm about the time the queen cells are capped.  That is about a week after the queen cells are started.  If you cut it that close, you will have to keep a very close eye on the hive. If you don't notice the start of the first queen cells, this won't work.  The most likely outcome is that the hive will swarm and you will have lots of great swarm cells to use in other splits.

OR,  you can just split when the hive is large and happy.  The emergency cells will still be good queens and you will get more honey because the hive did not swarm.
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backyard warrior
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« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2012, 07:41:50 AM »

Id have to agree its better to be safe then sorry after all the numbers make honey. Smiley  Chris
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