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Author Topic: Bees swarming off  (Read 1113 times)
dfizer
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« on: September 05, 2012, 09:54:23 PM »

Saturday I went out to my bee yard to just have a look and low and behold the bees were starting to swarm by attaching themselves to the side / top of the hive where I had a stick propping the outer cover up to aid with ventilation.  I had to leave so there was nothing I could do - now leap forward to today, there is a lot of activity at this hive so I'm not too concerned with this hive recovering.  I do have a few questions, first when a hive splits does the virgin queen leave or the older queen?  Next, is there anything I can do tomorrow when I plan to inspect the hives? 
What specifically should I do to get this hive ready for the winter?  I plan to harvest honey from both the supers next weekend but in the past I have not harvested with a honey extractor, this year I plan to use one.  What do I do with the empty frames during the winter?  Also, what if all the frames in the bottom two deeps are already full when I go to harvest and I remove the supers - wont they be crowded? 
As ou can prolly tell - I don't really have a strategy for this process and would like some guidance if possible. 
Please feel free to impart any wisdom you can!
David
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Joe D
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2012, 12:54:43 AM »

First the old queen leaves, are the 2 supers on the 1 hive or 2.  You can put the supers with empty frames out 50 yard or more from hive and the bees will clean them of honey.  After they get done, watch they will mess up comb after the get it clean also, put them in storage where moths, beetles, rats etc can't mess them up.  If you have 2 hives you can put a super on each hive for cleaning and then put up.  You don't want to get robbing started.  Also I don't know about your flows, if they are over, or you still have a fall flow.  maybe some one else can help you more.  Hope this helped some good luck with your bees.


Joe
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T Beek
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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2012, 06:22:36 AM »

Chances are, you won't be extracting frames from the bottom as that is where your broodnest is.  I've heard of nubeeks extracting brood comb before, it ain't a pretty site. 

If all you have is 2 supers per hive you probably shouldn't take any of their honey.  What will your bees live on all winter?  Please don't say syrup  Wink

The clustering outside that you observed could have been nothing more than your bees being too hot and hanging outside to cool off.  It may not have been a swarm....although w/ only 2 supers...it can happen even in September.

With the sticks separating supers; that may very well be the case as bees will bring in fresh air and ventilation from the openings we as Beeks provide them. 

If you remove "honey" supers now, and there's only 2 supers per hive; Yes your bees will be crowded.  They may also be homeless. 

"IF" you still end up removing these supers for extraction, clean up can be done either way as joeD described above.  As for storing; stack on top of screen and place screen over top of stack in a cool/cold place.

Your questions left me asking more questions..... grin

t
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rober
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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2012, 11:54:59 AM »

if the bees were clustered on the hive itself chances are they were bearding to cool the hive & not swarming. look down the page to the topic headline washboarding. there are some photos of bearding on that thread. if that's the case you could remove the supers & then lift the back of the hive. if it feels like it weighs 50-60 ibs go ahead & extract your honey. if the hives are light put 1 or both supers back on. if you do extract it's not a bad idea to freeze the empty frames to kill off any wax moth, small hive beetle, or mite stragglers. after a llow the frames to air dry a few days so they do not mold & then store them for the winter.
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dfizer
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2012, 05:33:33 PM »

Ok - first let me say thanks for the info and advice... It certainly probes thought.  My understanding of how bee hives should be set for the winter was that the supers were to be removed and only the two deeps be remaining.  Is this not correct?  When rober asked what would the bees live on during the winter - I thought that they lived on the honey stored in the two deeps.  Perhaps I'm incorrect since my bees have not wintered over in the first 2 attempts.  This begs the question - what should the optimal winter set up be?  2 deeps and 2 supers?  The top deep is loaded to the hilt - it's mostly honey (very heavy) and the bottom deep mostly brood and empty cells(relatively light) - how can I encourage more brood production or for the bees to fill the vacant comb with honey?  The one super that has the most honey stored in it probably weighs 75 - 80lbs.  It's absolutely loaded!
I'm so confused - I want the bees to have the best chance possible to survive the winter but it seems counter-intuitive for me to leave the supers on as this would be just that much more area for them to have to keep warm.  Furthermore - I have had a queen excluder separating the top supers from the bottom deeps in hopes of harvesting some honey - although that is not the top priority - getting them through the winter is far and away the top priority!
Regarding feeding them - should I add a feeder and if so when? 
Another statement from rober that I don't understand is - "if you remove your honey supers now and there's only two supers per hive; yes your bees will be crowded. They may also be homeless." - what does that mean?  Why would they be homeless?  Is to say that the honey supers are their home.... Yep, very confused and concerned!

My set up is this; three hives total.
Hive 1 - two deeps, no supers, was a relatively weak hive that is gaining strength rapidly.  May feed this one during the fall.
Hive 2 - two deeps, queen excluder, one super.  The super has a lot of uncapped honey.  The bees are really doing well catching up from the near drought we have had this summer.  The goldenrod is in full production now so life is finally good here.
Hive 3 - two deeps, queen excluder, two supers. This is the hive I have been asking questions about.  This is an absolutely cranking hive. 
All hives are polystyrene with pierce frames. 

Thanks for any answers to my questions.

Best regards,

David
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T Beek
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2012, 06:36:19 PM »

OK;  With 2 deeps you can't go wrong setting one more full honey super on top whether its a medium or a shallow.  2 deeps is just that; brood and honey, but if your bees grew and are going into winter strong you'll (they'll) need the extra.  

If your bees need the honey you left them by Spring well...then its there for them.  If they don't need it then you have some Spring honey for yourself....provided you don't treat w/ chemicals that is.  Its the route I take each year....but I don't medicate or treat w/ any man-made chems.

That's it;  There's nothing wrong w/ insurance (leaving a honey super on top of 2 deeps), and its not like the 'unused' honey (if any) would ever go to waste.  It acts as 'natural' insulation when placed on top.  For myself, I usually pull any remaining honey from the previous year once the dandelions start up.

t
« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 12:06:25 PM by T Beek » Logged

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nypam
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2012, 11:25:00 AM »

keeping a close eye on your post and answers. Why for all I learn about beekeeping, do I feel I know less and less. rolleyes
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T Beek
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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2012, 12:02:24 PM »

You're in good company. 

Any beek who didn't feel somewhat overwhelmed when starting out is adjusting the truth a bit, IMO.  grin

I've met beeks w/ 50 plus years experience and most are happy to admit they learn something new each season spent w/ honeybees.  cool

t
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"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."
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