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Author Topic: Concerned about 65% empty comb in bottom brood box.  (Read 1887 times)
BabcockFarms
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« on: September 24, 2012, 08:28:52 PM »

Yesterday I went out to inspect the hives. Two were very strong, these were Italian's I started from packages in April and have just about filled their third honey supper. My third hive which is Carniolan started from a nuc I purchased the first of June is concerning me. I did my last inspection on August 28th however I only inspected the top brood box. It was being filled with honey and was about 70% full. I didn't see the queen however, but I did see brood, and larva in the top brood box. So I left the bottom alone not wanting to disturb the rest of the hive. It has only the two brood boxes and no honey suppers.

Now after inspecting the bottom brood box yesterday I am not sure what is going on. The top was very heavy and full of honey and considerable burr comb bracing between the frames, so I set it aside and began inspecting the bottom box. It had about 20% pollen, 10% honey, 5% capped brood, and no larva was found. The balance was empty, mostly drawn cells. I did witness a bee chewing it's way out of the capped cells, so the queen had to be around less than 21 days ago.

Now if you do the math from the time I inspected the hive on the 28th of August until the 23rd of September I couldn't have killed the queen during the inspection. So do I tear apart the packed top brood box and search for the queen or should I leave well enough alone and just feed the bees to try and get them to fill the bottom before winter?

Is this the nature of the Carniolan's to fill the top box and leave the bottom empty?



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Ron Babcock

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AllenF
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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2012, 08:32:59 PM »

First rule of bees.   Bees always store honey over brood.  That's why we put honey supers on top.    Brood production is down because winter is coming.   You may want to feed soon if you don't think they are bringing in enough. 

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BabcockFarms
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2012, 11:53:11 PM »

As an analyst by nature and career, I’m an observer. I see what isn't there that should be and I see what is there that shouldn't be. I understand that bees will do as bees please, and general they will survive my best intentions. My biggest problem is I am always looking for something wrong or out of place.
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Ron Babcock

                                  "I believe the good that men do, will live long after they gone."
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Finski
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2012, 01:06:09 AM »

.
Your hive is ok and it is good that there somewhere empty spare space.
Actually I nurse my hives with 3 brood and the lowest is empty from honey and brood. The  mostly lowest is half full pollen.

The reason is that the lowest box has too much ventilation and it is cold. Brood area tend to be upstairs.

Beekeeeping will never succeeded if the hive should be like a beginner wants it to bee.

If the hive is nicely full of something, the colony is obliged to swarm.
There must be allways free space for pollen, brood and honey.

And if you do not extract honey, it is impossible to nurse bees. They bring it so mch. In bad years hive will be filled once but in good years it is twice or three times.

.some hive bring 30 kg honey and the neighbour 150 kg.

.
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BabcockFarms
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2012, 09:48:07 PM »

I read what you had to say and I think that your thoughts on being cold were a strong possibility. I know they like to store the groceries upstairs but was just a bit surprised at how empty the bottom brood box was.

Yesterday afternoon I went out to reduce the entrances to help conserve the heat and took a peek at the top box on this hive. I didn't pull it all apart but I needed to know if I had a queen or not. Pulled one of the middle frames and it was completely full of honey, pollen, capped brood, uncapped larva, eggs and completely covered in bees. I didn't see the queen but know she is still around. If nothing else I will sleep better now.

I took a look at the weather history here on the farm and found that the avg daily min temp for this month was 51.8°F with a minimum temperature of 37.0° on the 23rd. It is getting cooler quickly and may not be long before we see a bit of the white stuff.

I started feeding them syrup to help build the winter stores and fill out the bottom.
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Ron Babcock

                                  "I believe the good that men do, will live long after they gone."
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2012, 11:54:19 AM »

Finski,
Your English is seriously improving.  Smiley
Jim
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2012, 04:03:49 PM »

Bees need empty comb to cluster on.  It sounds like it's set up fine for winter...
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeswinter.htm
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Michael Bush
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beeghost
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« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2012, 03:41:34 AM »

I just noticed the same thing with one of my hives as well. It was my original hive I started with in spring 2011. I looked down into the bottom deep from the top and noticed a very low population below, so like any hobbiest would do I switched the top box and put it on the bottom and put the "empty" box on top. Guess we will see what happens!
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Coyote Creek Bees - Est.2011
tjc1
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« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2012, 05:27:15 PM »

Michael, have your book and re-read the wintering section, and have a question: can the 100-150 lbs hive weight include a super of honey on top, or is that of reduced value because they won't be able to get to it in cold weather. If not, do I need to get the bees to move those stores down into the brood chamber, and if so, how do I do that? Or will the cluster move up there to get it in the cold weather? Thanks!
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Sparky
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« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2012, 06:16:18 PM »

I just noticed the same thing with one of my hives as well. It was my original hive I started with in spring 2011. I looked down into the bottom deep from the top and noticed a very low population below, so like any hobbiest would do I switched the top box and put it on the bottom and put the "empty" box on top. Guess we will see what happens!
Am I reading correctly that the hive consist of two boxes ?
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BabcockFarms
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« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2012, 11:06:26 PM »

Michael, I finally had time to reread your section on wintering bees. My observations are very similar to what you describe. I have the two Italians hives that are stronger in numbers and than my Carniolans. All three hives are thinner in the bottom box than in the second. I was just concerned that the Carniolans being picked up in June and wasn't strong enough to make it through the winter. Reading the section again on wintering helps a lot more now than it did when I first read it back last winter before I had bees. Guess I didn't retain as much as I had thought.  huh

I chose NOT to swap boxes as beeghost did, I think the bees know much more than I do to get them through the winter.

Ron
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Ron Babcock

                                  "I believe the good that men do, will live long after they gone."
                                                                                                                          ~Mr. Fox Haas

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