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Author Topic: Upper entrance very busy - lower is not  (Read 563 times)
Nyleve
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« on: April 10, 2013, 11:42:36 AM »

Here in Ontario, spring hasn't quite sprung yet. It's been a cold and dragged out season with nothing much in bloom or budding at the moment (except for some crocuses and snowdrops). I went through the winter with two deep supers - topped by an empty super (stuffed with pillows for insulation). I left an upper entrance available to them for air circulation by flipping over my inner cover. I've taken out the pillows, un-insulated the hive and added a couple of frames of honey for them to snack on until there's something better out there. Anyway, I noticed that the bees are very busy using the upper entrance almost exclusively. The lower entrance has pretty much nothing going on. Bees are coming in with some pollen - very light coloured, not sure what it is. My question is this: should I close up the upper entrance (by flipping the inner cover over)? And furthermore, should I reverse the supers (I think I did this last year) top to bottom and vice versa? It looks to me like they've all moved upstairs and abandoned the bottom box altogether.

It's a bit early for me to do anything drastic with them, I realize. But I'd like to know what I ought to be doing in the next few weeks, if we ever get spring weather at all.
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fshrgy99
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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2013, 11:55:02 AM »

Hey Nyleve, Here in Kitchener we have crazy rain yesterday and last night and a winter storm warning in effect for tonight! Either freezing rain or ice pellets :/

My bees also wintered in a double deep. Although I gave them a couple of pollen cakes and a sugar water baggie earlier they haven't finished either. They have been bringing in some burnt orange pollen on days when it's warm enough to fly. Hard to imagne where it's coming from but there must be willow or maple (maybe early linden). I know I couldn't find any pollen if I  had to lol.

IMO: I think it's still too cold to open the hive up for a full inspection. Sounds like they're doing ok right now. Wait for a day warm enough open and check on hive conditions (I'm thinking like maybe 60-70 degrees), then reassess.

Where are you?
Sometimes the thing that's hardest to do is nothing.
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Finski
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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2013, 12:05:56 PM »

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It is normal. Bees have short way to cluster via upper hole.

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tefer2
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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2013, 12:22:07 PM »

All your bees are living in the top box. No need to travel from the bottom back up to the top where the food is.
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Parksguyy
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2013, 01:06:33 PM »

Same here, just between Kingston and Ottawa.  We have been feeding pollen patties for a few weeks now.  All new hives last summer, all have survived but one is alittle weak. Lots of action at the top entrances too.  I removed the inner cover pillow but kept the wrap on.  Was told not to do any real inspections until the weather is around 15 consistently.
 
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Finski
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2013, 01:24:50 PM »

I removed the inner cover pillow but kept the wrap on. 

Why you did that?

When hive has brood, it needs all heat now.

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Nyleve
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2013, 01:38:17 PM »

I'm just a bit southwest of Peterborough. This weather is making me very cranky - I can only imagine how the girls are feeling. Anyway, I will wait until/if we ever get any warm weather before opening things up to see what's going on in the hive. I'll let them use their lazy-ass upper entrance for now. But in any case, would you bother to reverse the supers if they're all just upstairs? I followed an earlier discussion about this question, but don't remember what was recommended. If I don't reverse them, will they eventually move downstairs on their own?
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Finski
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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2013, 02:56:01 PM »

If I don't reverse them, will they eventually move downstairs on their own?

They move downwards as they do in nature.

reversing too early often kills larvae when bees cannot keep brood warm.
30% of brood may die in this way when bees move to upper box and abandon brood in lower box.
You may look yourself what happens.


I reverse broods when the lower box is more than half full of brood.

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dfizer
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2013, 04:14:29 PM »

It can also be that the bottom entrance is blocked with things such as dead bees.  I opened my hives up yesterday and was amazed with how many dead bees were on the bottom of the hive.  There were enough to cover the entire screen.  Perhaps this helped with heat containment.  Smiley

David
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Nyleve
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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2013, 04:29:05 PM »

Yeah - I cleaned a lot of dead bees out a week or so ago. Very disturbing to see so many but the hive seems healthy enough so I guess it's normal. I don't think the entrance is blocked, though. I will wait and watch. As someone said: the hardest thing to do is nothing.
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Parksguyy
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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2013, 08:58:39 AM »

Hey  Folks,
Same here too, cleaned out the bottom boards over a week ago ... could not believe the number of dead bees ... kinda scared me despite these hives being very active and full.  Was told that is normal ... these hives went into the fall and winter very stronge, with the exception of one hive.  I removed my pillow due to alot of condensation and inserted a spacer so I could feed patties.  Our weather is changing here finally, and after the next couple of days we will be back to seasonal temperatures.  I'm thinking we've had brood hatch, our one hive is so active and stronge!

As for reversing the brood chambers ... I'm still reading up on that.  I've read where it is a standard practice but now I'm getting confused by different information.  I think I'm going to talk to some local beeks for their thoughts first, before I do anything.  I have screened bottom boards I need to install this spring too, so the reversing of the chambers would be done at the same time.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Finski
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« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2013, 11:44:33 AM »

  I have screened bottom boards I need to install this spring too, so the reversing of the chambers would be done at the same time.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

Why at same time? Who says so? You only kill the brood if you do that. Brood must be in upper box in spring. Colonies have after winter bees only for one box to maintain.

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Finski
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« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2013, 11:47:28 AM »

and inserted a spacer so I could feed patties.  .
 

Patty should be feeded under inner cover and keep insulations on.
Nail wooden bars under inner cover that you may put patties.
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Parksguyy
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« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2013, 09:48:45 AM »

Hey Finski,
I placed my spacer between the hive body and inner cover, so patties are sitting on top of frames.
As for reversing hive bodies, I do appreciate your comments ... I still want to see what other beeks think about all this.  If others feel that reversing is not the thing to do I won't, however once its warm enough I will be placing a screened bottom board on top of my existing solid bottom board, for both better ventilation and preventative measure for mites. 
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Finski
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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2013, 10:18:56 AM »

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If you reverse in Canada, beginning of June is perhaps a good time.


You get such an aswer what you are wanting.

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