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Author Topic: Too many bees in one hive vs the other?  (Read 1591 times)
romduck
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« on: September 20, 2005, 06:01:14 PM »

I had my hives set up using the “unlimited brood box” method (essentially three deeps) which I then break back down into two deeps when I prep for Fall.

This year I had one very strong hive from which I removed the bottom deep. This deep was relatively empty except for some pollen and drone brood. The upper two deeps that remained were quite healthy and filled with brood (capped and uncapped), pollen and honey stores.

Once the lowest box was removed the remaining bees spill out to cover the front of the box at night. I’ve never had a hive this strong this late into the season.

I have another hive that was weakened after being queenless for a period. Now requeened and going strong I decided to switch the position of the hives at mid-day so that the extra field bees from the strong hive would return to the weak hive to boost it’s number.

Unfortunately it seems that all I’ve done is reversed the problem. Now the bees are simply spilling out all over the “weak” hive.

Should I …

a)   Leave well enough alone and let the extra field bees boost up the “weak” hive for winter.
b)   Switch the hives back the way they were later in the afternoon so that SOME bees go back into each hive.
c)   None of the above


Any thoughts?
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Rommie L. Duckworth
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stilllearning
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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2005, 06:25:47 PM »

you might try setting the hives side by side neither in the exact location of where the excess bees are and see what happens  some bees will probabley enter each hive and possibly solve your problem put an empty box in the vacant spot to catch any field bees from the weak location then add them to the weakest hive.
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Wayne Cole
romduck
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2005, 06:01:36 AM »

Thanks. It sounds like I removed it too soon. I didn't think that there were THAT many bees in that last deep.
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Rommie L. Duckworth
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2005, 08:03:08 AM »

I'd put a box on to give them some room.  The bees should fit in the boxes.  Youc an pull it later when the older field bees start dying off.
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Michael Bush
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2005, 08:04:12 AM »

BTW most people who run an unlimited brood nest leave all three deeps on.  I'm not saying you should or shouldn't, but since the bees don't all fit in two boxes...
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Michael Bush
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romduck
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« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2005, 10:28:28 AM »

Thanks again.

I left all three deeps on two of my three hives last winter and had just two deeps on a weaker third hive. Of course THAT was the only hive that came through like gagnbuster in the Spring so i was going to try to break the little buggers back down for winter.

OF COURSE, I put the extra deep back three days ago and the bees are still clinging like crazy to the outside. A few have gone in, but most remain on the face of the hive at night.

It is supposed to go from the mid-sixties to the low fifties overnight here for the next few days. I'll see if that sends them inside.
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Rommie L. Duckworth
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2005, 01:02:08 PM »

That whole things with the bearding is strange.  People will tell you until they are blue in the face, when this happens, add more room, ensure proper ventilation, blah, blah, blah.  This past summer, I had a hive that was CONSTANTLY outside, bearding.  I have screened bottoms, open covers, plenty of room, and yet they still stayed outside.  I did the same thing to my second hive, and they went in for the most part, but some did stay outside.  So, the recommendations aren't always 100% just because the bees are going to do, what the bees want to do.  Since you added that extra box, when it cools down, I'd bet ten bucks that the majority of them will go inside.  Even now, with our nights getting into the low 50s and high 40s, I still have a few bees outside their hive.  When it gets colder than that, they will be just like any other critter (humans included), they are going to take their butts inside to keep warm.  They will find a way in.
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romduck
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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2005, 09:45:43 AM »

I agree. Last year I had a similar situation and it turned out that the bees didn't like the menthol bags at all.

That may also be part of the problem this year, but as you say I'm not going to worry too much about it.
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Rommie L. Duckworth
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2005, 08:50:08 PM »

I'm not saying adding some room and some ventilation ALWAYS gets them back inside.  But often it does.  If it doesn't then I figure they just prefer to camp out.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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romduck
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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2005, 12:08:39 PM »

Two last, quick note, both of which are learning points for me.

1) Weather got much cooler last night (mid 50s).

2) Bees in the crowded hive went back inside, as we had guessed.

3) The bees that in the other hive (the one that had all the extra bees in the FIRST PLACE, before I switched hive locations to boost the now crowded hive) were pulling out "almost" developed bees all morning. My assumption is that these were chilled brood since the queen was laying like gangbusters but I went and took too many of the field bees and got them to move to the other hive.

My thought is that if I attempt to change hive locations again I'll do it much later in the afternoon so that I don't get SOOOO many of the field bees in the new hive.

I'm still betting that the hive with the chilled brood will be okay, even though we're losing Winter bees at this point. That queen was laying like crazy.

We shall see.
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Rommie L. Duckworth
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