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Author Topic: New hive doesn't seem to like foundationless  (Read 464 times)
winginit
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« on: May 20, 2012, 11:47:42 AM »

Back in the bee business this year, yah! And things were going great. Might still bee with this hive, but it's an odd one.
This is a local swarm from an apparently decades old established set of hives that have never been treated (take that with a grain of salt, though). It came with a deep box and bees already building comb on foundation. A week ago, 8 frames were fully drawn out, 9th frame was starting to be drawn. 10th frame was foundationless. I added a medium box with foundationless frames, as well as a screened bottom board.

When I changed out the bottom board, I put in a traditional entrance reducer. As I watched the bees, it seemed like they couldn't get in or out. It was weird. So I removed it (measured it later and it seemed fine). We are still in a heavy flow so robbing hasn't been a problem, though I am feeding both my hives.

This week, there is no additional comb that has been built. There is capped honey, tons of tight brood, and lots of eggs and larvae. It is a thing of beauty. Except it seems really crowded to me.

Am I worrying for nothing? I added a frame of drawn comb from another hive to the medium box, just to get the bees used to it. Foundationless is the one thing that has always worked well for me (big sigh). It's so easy, just glue in some popsickle sticks. I don't even spray them anymore.

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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2012, 12:47:39 PM »

did you add your box above or below?  if there is honey above the brood, the queen may not cross it to lay.  if there is no bridge between the bottom and top box, the bees may not move up. 

the easiest thing to do is to move some of the stuff from the full box into the empty box.  keep the brood together.  when you move brood up be sure that you place it over brood below.  put empty frames on either side of remaining brood in full box.

here is my observation which you may take or leave  grin

in spring, bees build down in anticipation of the flow.  they will store above....that's why we honey super the hives above.  knowing this we still insist on putting brood boxes on the top and making the bees build up.  while most hives figure it out and do ok, some don't.

it's kind of a pain to check the brood boxes that we have put under, but here is what i do:  when i pull frames from the top box, i use a flashlight to look down and see what the bottom box is doing.  there is no need to pull the top box off and rummage around in the bottom unless you suspect a problem.

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 Alexis de Tocqueville
winginit
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2012, 01:00:18 PM »

I always add supers on top, didn't realize that I should put them on the bottom if I want the hive to expand down.

I use all mediums, but I bought this new hive already in a deep box. So a medium below will be a pain, but oh well. 

I'll definitely "take" your beekeeping advice, 'cept maybe the one for treating stings  grin (luckily I don't have much problem with stings, but if I ever get 150 of 'em, I may take your advice on that, too.).


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tillie
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2012, 01:41:47 PM »

I agree with Kathy.  All of my hives are foundationless, but I always create a bridge when adding a box.  If I take frames 2 and 3 from the full box on the hive, I put them in positions 2 and 3 in the new box of foundationless frames.  I always put the new box below the full box on the theory that in trees, bees build down, not up.  Then in the old box, I move the built out frames together in the center of the old box and put two new foundationless (empty) frames on either side of the box.

Linda T in Atlanta
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kathyp
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2012, 02:23:00 PM »

just to make sure you didn't misunderstand what i posted...i'm not always that clear....

honey supers do go on top.  brood boxes, if you choose to do it the way i do it, go under.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
winginit
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2012, 02:26:34 PM »

Got it. Thank you!
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