Bailey Ė Thank you for sharing your methods. I have always shied away from hives that are 6 or 7 boxes full. I donít know how Iíd even inspect them at that height! How do you reach the top?
Maybe I need to step outside my comfort zone and try that. Opening up the brood area in the middle of the hive sounds logical to me and I will give it a go.
My hives that are 3 full deep with brood donít have any frames of honey in them to speak of. The outside 2 frames have a little honey in the top rows of cells but thatís it. If I go higher though, hopefully Iíll be able to follow your approach.
Daniel Ė That really clarified Iddeeís points for me, so Iím going to give that a go too. I get a bit stressed when I see that my bees have filled 3 boxes with brood and my reaction has always been to immediately take some frames out and make a new hive. Of course, the space I make just gets filled with more brood.
I will use another hive to experiment with being a bit more patient and let the bees hatch. This would be great if I can get it to work because it will allow me to maintain the 4 box height which I feel comfortable with.
Michael Ė I had to try the queen excluders out of desperation but ideally I donít want to use them at all. Swarms are bad for everyone, that is for sure!
Finski Ė Thanks for sharing so much information! It was a lot to take in and I had to read it a few times. It sounds like you leave a box of capped honey in the hive and add 2 more boxes for the nectar to ripen.
I generally pull out the capped honey as soon as I get it (if I get it!) so I should try this idea of leaving it in for a little while as well. Also, you say that when I join hives I should make sure to get a balance between foragers and brood parts. Do you mean you integrate frames for honey with frames for brood? Do you have a set way of working out how to do that or just what feels good?
Idee Ė thank you for the extra info. It sounds as though with this approach ideally I want to encourage 2 boxes of brood and 2 boxes of honey. I will keep my fingers crossed that I can get this to work because it would suit my location well.
Can you advise whether you would add a new super on top or underneath a box of uncapped honey? Iím inclined to just add it on top but maybe as soon as I get a box that is filling up with honey I should add some space into the middle. Adding underneath would also make checking for the capped honey easier.
Kathy Ė I can only say that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence!
but I know itís not a critical problem, so I hear what youíre saying. I just could not fathom what I was doing wrong, and I was starting to pull my hair out because every weekend I am spending 10 hours or more just cleaning out the hives or rescuing a swarm etc
Edward Ė integrating the old frames with new is definitely something I need to get better at. I expect your mentor almost has a sixth sense about when and how to do this and I just hope one day I get somewhere near that level! Iím glad the excluders work for you though, and my experiments with them have not been all bad because they have at least allowed me to get some honey over the last couple of months.
Finski Ė Yes I was advised by my mentor that really we donít get swarms over July/August but this year I helped him with some of the calls he received from the public who needed a swarm rescued from their property, and we were busy collecting swarms in both those months! So I think it is something I will need to be wary of throughout the year and just make sure I donít get complacent just because it is a bit cooler in the evenings.
Volunteer K9 Ė Sounds like the excluders work well for you too so thatís great. I do recognise some of the advantages of using the excluders but the risk of swarm is just too high for me. I hear stories about beekeepers who donít even realise their hive had swarmed because it has happened so quickly and there are bees left in the hive and they made a new queen, so they assume the hive just got weakened by an external factor. There is a bit of space between me and my neighbours but still, I do not want to annoy them with swarms of bees setline in to their properties!