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Author Topic: ?'s on observationhive population/space management  (Read 362 times)
windfall
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« on: June 11, 2012, 06:44:45 PM »

I have been warned that Ob hives will swarm readily, and I can understand why.

In the last few weeks I have watched a hive that was stocked with 3 deep frames of mixed brood and stores with no queen.
The population went from coverage that I worried might chill the brood, to the point now where at night all three frames are completely covered both sides and bees festoon to fill the space below the bottom frame.

The new "emergency" queen began laying eggs on Saturday night, and has been steady and busy at it since then. She has only been working the middle frame so far, and has laid eggs in nearly all of the 50-60% that was empty..the rest has pollen or nectar. The top frame has been completely filled with nectar and small amount capped honey while she was getting made and mated. The bottom frame has about 50% empty cells with the rest mostly pollen.

Obviously I wont see any new bees for 20 days. And presumably some of the older bees will begin to die off shortly. I think the consumption of stores is about to go way up as the new eggs hatch, but at the rate she is going she will have no cells to lay in by the end of the week if not sooner, and as yet I have no feel for how quickly those pollen and nectar cells will become available. I also think that nectar may be moved up to the top frame to create space?

So I am wondering what to do....wait and watch or pull the bottom frame out and give them an empty to draw fresh comb? One of the things I am looking forward to watching is them actively drawing comb, but I am reluctant to tinker too much without a better feel for the whole dynamic. It has certainly been eye opening so far.

I lean toward watch and wait but would appreciate any experienced insights.
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buzzbee
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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2012, 06:57:49 AM »

I generally watch and wait with mine. If they consume a lot of their stores it may discourage brood production and swarm urges.Don't overfeed.
I had a queen stay a couple years before and they finally dwindles down after a few years. Then a swarm moved in and stayed a couple months before absconding in the fall.
I restocked my Ob hive a couple weeks ago and am watching it grow now.

If you want to swap out a filled brood frame for an empty one,be sure to do it before the emergence of queen cells.
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windfall
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2012, 08:49:29 PM »

Thanks Buzzbee,
Watch and wait is most likely what I will do. I fed them a 1.5 pints from capped syrup left over from winter deadouts when I first stocked the hive...thinking they had all that brood, relatively little stores and no field force. In hindsight it may have been a mistake. I did not anticipate how effectively they would put up stores as the open brood dwindled....rather foolish of me given that I was performing a cut down split on another hive at the same time!
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