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Author Topic: Hive update and questions...  (Read 751 times)
dfizer
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« on: September 12, 2012, 09:55:42 PM »

This is an update i sent finski and wanted to put it out there for additional suggestions...
Just got done checking 2 of my 3 hives and boy oh boy are they ever different - hive 1 has only two deeps (no honey supers) and that hive has mainly capped brood and capped honey in all of the frames in the top deep. I didn't take the top deep off so all I know about is the top deep and it is nearly at capacity with little or no room to grow.. Should I be concerned about the lack of space?
http://i1241.photobucket.com/albums/gg520/Beesandme/b0bcb9d2.jpg
Hive 2 has two deeps and a medium honey super on top.  The super has a few frames with nothing on the at all - just completely blank frames with no comb at all. These are frames 1,2 and 10. 
http://i1241.photobucket.com/albums/gg520/Beesandme/a7471fd3.jpg
The rest of the frames have some comb on them and 5 of the frames have some capped honey albeit a very small amount.  http://i1241.photobucket.com/albums/gg520/Beesandme/3c08b43e.jpg
The top deep is packed and I mean really packed full of honey with only 1 frames having a little brood on it.  After removing it to start the inspection of the bottom deep I noticed that the bottom deep was very light with some brood and almost no honey...  Shortly after I started inspecting it I found evidence of brood.  This deep was approximately 30% capped with some uncapped with another 10% uncapped brood.  Several frames had brood on them but a few had none.... 
http://i1241.photobucket.com/albums/gg520/Beesandme/d2677388.jpg
I didn't inspect hive 3 due to the obnoxious nature of the bees in hive 2, the bees in hive 2 were über angry.  It was clear to me that they were not happy about me disassembling their hive.  (stung 2 times on the neck 2mm's apart). Hive 1's bees could not have been more docile. 
On to my questions...
1) regarding hive 1 - what should I do about the crowded nature of this hive?  Should I add a super?  At this point I think they wouldn't really do much with it.  I really kind of wanted to feed them going into winter but I don't know where they'd store it.  I guess that they may have capacity in the bottom deep since I didn't look at it, but if it's anything like hive 2 it's probably relatively empty.  Is it safe to assume that there's capacity in the bottom deep?
2) regarding hive 2 - I was very impressed at the amount of honey these bees have packed away for the winter, but more than a little concern with the lack of brood.  Don't get me wrong there was some brood but it was mainly in the bottom deep and only about 1/2 of the frames had brood on them.  Only 1 frame in the top deep had brood - frame 8.  My question here is what to do with the partially full super?  Should I remove it so that the bees concentrate on filling the bottom deep?  Should I feed this hive sugar syrup?  btw, the top deep must have weighted over 100 lbs (40kg).  It was absolutely packed with capped honey.
3) regarding all hives - what can I do to get them set for the winter?  Should I put a white board under the screened bottom board to check for mites?  Should I medicate them at all? 
Any suggestions you may have will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance for your suggestions.
David
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yelnifok
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« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2012, 12:29:57 AM »

hello dfizer, lets work backwards- use the white brd. for 24/48 hrs. combined with a powdered sugar (not confectionary sugar) dusting. I would go back and inspect #3 just because I like to know each hives' reality. If it is like #1+#2 Iwould feed all just because there should be empty frames below and this reserve is what the hive will use in the spring to raise the brood. I would recommend checking on the pollen stores -as- with out the pollen they can't make beebread to feed the larve. That has been our biggest concern here this year. No rain and little forage.
   lee...
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T Beek
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« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2012, 06:52:10 AM »

Q#1.  How do you know they are crowded if you didn't look into the bottom box?  Getting kinda late in the season to add another super IMO, what would they do w/ it this time of year?  Your annual flows must be about done.  Now is the time to squeeze down the amount of unused space so bees are encouraged to fill remaining spaces w/in hive, not give them more room (to heat when winter sets in).

Q#2.  Brood s/b less this time of year (those are your winter bees), Queens slow down or stop laying altogether until after the winter solstice.  For myself I start feeding as soon as the goldenrod is done, w/in the next two weeks for me.

Be sure, using frame manipulations, that majority of brood is below the majority of honey.  You want almost all honey above broodnest, and with a 2 box set up your options are limited to; brood in bottom (with some honey on the sides) and packed w/ honey on top.

Q#3.  Yes by all means close the SBB with something after checking for mites.  Medicating is a personal choice.  I've NEVER treated (why is it called a treat?) my colonies w/ anything man-made and they do just fine.

Basically you want to make sure they have plenty of stores as winter approaches, if light then feed.  I know its a can of worms for some beeks but I open feed for about 2-3 weeks in an average year, once the flows (goldenrod) are done and we've still got warm weather that permits bees to forage.  Keeping them supplied w/ feed prevents them from overeating their stores during warm weather. 

I think you should go through those bottom boxes to make certain of your 'assumptions.' Never use guess work when assessing your bees, it can/does end badly.  Gotta take a look n see.  Good luck.

t
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dfizer
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« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2012, 03:16:19 PM »

Thank you for the insight.  Today I had a look into hive 1's bottom deep.  This is very light and had very little honey but quite a few frames that had a lot of brood. Some of the frames even had no comb drawn out on them.  Hive 1 summary - very packed top deep filled with lots of honey and brood.  Nearly completely full with very unused comb. Bottom deep has lots of capacity.  I think I'm going to feed this hive a 2:1 syrup in hopes of filling up the bottom deep.  All in all this hive seems very healthy with the exception of the bottom deep not being full.  Lots of brood and capped honey in the top deep with brood, both capped and uncapped in the bottom deep.
Hive 3 summary - two honey supers, one nearly completely full of capped honey and one with each frame having some capped honey and uncapped honey.  This is nearly Ann do the honey in this hive.  Working my way down I inspected the top deep first.  I found some albeit very little capped honey and some uncapped honey.  There was brood both capped and in egg and larva state.   The bottom deep is very light and only contained some brood.  There are parts of some of the frames that contain no drawn comb at all. 
Question regarding hive 3 - since nearly all the honey is in the supers should I leave the fullest one on for the winter?  Should I remove both supers and feed the hive?  Ugh - what should my strategy for this hive be to give it the best chance to survive the harsh northeast winter?  Btw - as far as numbers go this hive is by far the strongest.
Hive 2 summary - one honey super with some capped honey (10%) and two deeps.  The top deep is very heavy with a lot and I mean a lot of honey... All capped honey.  There was only one frame (frame Cool that had brood on it.   The bottom deep again was very light with some brood and some open comb.  I thin my strategy with this hive may be to remove the super and feed it liberally with 2:1 sugar syrup in hopes of filling up the bottom deep. 
Any thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated.  I feel better this year about the possibility of the hives surviving the winter.
Best regards,
David
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T Beek
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2012, 06:03:29 AM »

Bees will fill empty 'comb' w/ syrup but comb 'building' is another thing.  Comb building duties have pretty much ended for the season.  Generally, they are only interested in filling empty 'cell' space as they prep for winter. 

If you have honey to spare from another hive you could place some of those frames where the empties are, even if they are smaller (honey supers) frames, this is feed for winter we are talking about, and you'll be removing them in Spring (before they add too much comb to the bottoms).

Again; Based on your descriptions, Bees are already telling you what they want  Wink try to surround bottom brood w/ honey (or syrup) frames.  Borrow some honey from a more productive colony 'if' they can afford it and/or feed.   

Sounds like you've got at least one good producer.  I'd share their honey and then feed, feed, feed everyone.

With a 2 box set up, minimally I'd want all brood in bottom for winter with the top packed w/ honey and/or syrup.  As long as they have empty comb and you feed they will fill the empty comb.  They won't do anything w/ empty frames this time of year.  Good luck.

t
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sterling
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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2012, 11:00:42 AM »

If you don't want the honey supers on for winter put it on bottom scratch the cappings alittle bit and the bees will rob it out and put it in the top of the deep and as the brood emerges out of the top deep they should back down into the bottom deep and fill that comb with necter that they will eat this winter. You may need to feed them some so they can fill the comb.
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dfizer
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2012, 07:08:15 PM »

Super advice!!!!  Thank you so much.  Now just so I understand what to do here...  For all hives I should remove the supers and try to refeed this honey back into the hive by placing the frames in the supers beneath the deeps so that they rob it out and fill up the deeps?  Or should I leave the one super that is absolutely loaded with capped honey on for the winter? 
Please accept my apology for being ignorant but asking questions then implementing a strategy after that is how I learn best. 
Thanks again for your patience!
David
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