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Author Topic: How much honey to leave in the hive now  (Read 1206 times)
dfizer
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« on: April 19, 2013, 11:19:47 AM »

Ok here's the situation - all hives have two deeps; of which the top deep is nearly completely full of capped honey frames.  I know I need to remove some of these to free up space, however I'm not sure how much to take / leave.  For instance, the first hive I was in had 8 full frames of honey left over from the winter and the other two are over half full.  The bottom box is starting to be filled with eggs / brood. 

So, since I am getting dangerously close to being full - and I know I need to add capacity, the question is how much to remove.  I feel confident that they bees will not need all this honey since they (very surprisingly) took very little over the winter and came out of the winter so strong.  And I'd like to increase my capacity by replacing the frames of capped honey with un-drawn ones, as opposed to adding a super at this point.  Also, given my ultimate goal is to grow the apiary from within, which will mean making splits as soon as the numbers build up, I think I'll just hang on to a few of these honey frames to add to the splits.  I guess I'll just harvest the other honey if I can otherwise I don't really know what to do with it.  Perhaps feed in back to the hive in the fall? 

Please comment on my strategy and advise as needed.  Also please let me know how much honey I should leave behind at this point.  Also should I keep the honey frames where they are (top box) or move them down to the bottom box.     

David
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dfizer
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2013, 11:24:42 AM »

Oh one other thing.... of the frames I leave behind - where should they be in the deep?  Should they be toward the outside with the un-drawn frames in the middle or the other way around?  Perhaps I'll alternate un-drawn and capped frames in the top deep. 

Thoughts?

David
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2013, 11:28:02 AM »

Dfizer,
It sounds like your flow is on and I would expect it to continue for a few weeks. If this is the case you should be able to pull honey in the top super with no problem. As long as the flow continues they will be fine. Since you are going to hold on to some of it that is even better, just in case you have a dearth. Be sure to freeze them for a couple of days and then seal them in a heavy plastic bag to keep the wax moths and hive beetles from destroying it.
Jim
Put them in the middle or above the brood if they are to one side. I would not leave any, they should have a frame or 2 of honey in the bottom deep and around the top of each brood frame.
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D Coates
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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2013, 11:31:05 AM »

Personally when I'm challenged with your predicament I add a drawn super on the top if I'm relieving congestion but I leave the honey.  You'd be surprised how much honey they consume as they build up for Spring.  If they want/need the room they'll move the honey up into the super.

My 2 cents, and it may be overpriced.
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2013, 11:56:52 AM »

i think your problem will be that you won't have enough room for brood.  i'd pull the middle frames from the deep with honey and replace with some empty frames.  drawn if you have them.  then super for honey.  or you could add another deep under the two that you have, leave the deep with honey and super for honey. 

you need to super for honey even if honey is not your goal.  they are going to put it somewhere and you want to expand your brood area.  so expand your brood area AND give them a place for the honey.
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2013, 02:11:56 PM »

Ok here's the situation - all hives have two deeps; of which the top deep is nearly completely full of capped honey frames. 

is it winter food or what?

What ever. You must arrange more room or they swarm.

If you have fresh honey, you must exract them. I wonder how that kind of flow can bee in NY and colony is brooding in lower box.

Mystery
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2013, 02:19:14 PM »

I agree with kathyp, pull frames from the middle and replace with empties for them to expand. Since you're saving some frames, leave one full frame of honey on each side and add a super on top. If you're wanting to move the bees up as well, move a couple frames of brood to the top deep in the same position that they are in the bottom and replace with empty frames.
 There's plenty of ways to handle it but one thing has to happen no matter what you do, you need to expand the brood area.
Good luck with it
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dfizer
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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2013, 10:30:26 PM »

Ok here's the situation - all hives have two deeps; of which the top deep is nearly completely full of capped honey frames. 

is it winter food or what?

What ever. You must arrange more room or they swarm.

If you have fresh honey, you must exract them. I wonder how that kind of flow can bee in NY and colony is brooding in lower box.

Mystery
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Yes this is winter food that has been left over.  It is not fresh honey.  It is completely capped and the bees are not touching it they only walk over it to get to the pollen patty on the top of it.  The interesting part of this is that the bottom box is nearly empty of honey and is filling up rather quickly with eggs and brood.  Our "flow" is primarily pollen that is coming in on 8 out of every 10 bees returning to the hive.  These girls are absolutely loaded with pollen and it's so nice to see.  Does this amount of pollen coming in mean anything in particular?  I have always thought that when pollen is coming in that meant that brood rearing was in full swing - am I correct?

I like the idea of leaving frames of honey on the outside and replacing the inside frames with new ones.  Unfortunately I do not have any that are drawn out yet.  Also I am using Pierco frames in a polystyrene hive body.  I am hoping that the girls draw these frames out like the did the others before. 

This kind of problem is a good one to have since many of my beekeeping colleagues have no bees left from this past winter.  I am thankful / grateful for what I have. 

David   
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kathyp
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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2013, 11:04:00 PM »

best time to get frames drawn is during a good flow.  don't know what you have going, but you need to give them room so go for it.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2013, 11:21:04 PM »

best time to get frames drawn is during a good flow.  don't know what you have going, but you need to give them room so go for it.

I don't exactly know what is meant by "flow" but assume it's simply short for nectar flow.  If that is the case then I guess I don't really know what kind of flow I have going currently - I suspect near 0.  What I do know is that many many bees are bringing in bucket-loads of pollen.  These girls look like they've been shopping for a week at a pollen store during a going out of business sale!

Indeed I am going to remove some of the frames of honey from the center of the top deep of each hive and let them take it from there. 

David
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10framer
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« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2013, 11:48:06 PM »

i'm thinking any move sounds a little premature right now.  i'm way south of you and have lows in the 40's every night for the next 10 days or so.  if you remove all the middle frames from the upper hive body right now and replace them with foundation i think you might be making a mistake unless you have wall to wall bees from top to bottom.  you will be leaving a lot of open space right above the brood and heat rises.  also, it doesn't sound like there is a honey flow on so those bees may suddenly use a lot of that honey before they start bringing more in.  someone closer to you could probably answer this better.
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Finski
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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2013, 03:21:16 AM »

.
That is not uncommon situation after winter.

Your colony is downstairs and upper box is full of winter honey.

First, take the whole upper box off and inspect what you have in lower box.
I suspect  that colony is not large because it did not need second box storages.

So you reviele out, how many frames bees cover in lower box and how many frames they have brood and are they allready emerging.

.how many weeks hive has collected pollen this spring?

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dfizer
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« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2013, 08:47:10 AM »

Thanks Finski - All three hives have very strong numbers and are absolutely hauling in the pollen in now.  The bees in those hives were very frugal with their consumption of honey over the winter therefore I am left with lots of residual honey.  The bees have been bringing in pollen since the last week of March so about 3-1/2 weeks or so.  I will take a look in the lower box today if the weather is warm enough - high today is supposed to only be 12C/54F and windy. 

I have to say that I don't think I have ever seen this much pollen coming in at once.  Its really a little incredible!  The pic is from 31.MAR.2013.

 


Thanks for your help.

David
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bailey
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« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2013, 10:50:41 AM »

That pollen indicates a open brood build up.  Get ready for a population explosion.  And be ready to super quickly
Bailey
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« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2013, 11:46:14 AM »

.
Only way is to look inside the hive and learn how the colony developes..

It is spring  and  it better follow how the hive start to burst

- how many brood frames
- how much capped
- how much free combs
- are the too much food ( 2 frames honey is enough)

if you give that information, it is better to give advices.

- and How much bees were in upper box?

.
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10framer
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« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2013, 12:03:46 PM »

high of 54?  is that about average right now?  if so, that would be far from spring in georgia.  
bees cluster at 52 degrees if i remember right.  it still sounds like you're getting ahead of yourself to me.   finski is right, there isn't enough information to give a good answer.  
if you have wall to wall bees in both hive bodies and 7 or 8 frames with capped brood i'd say you need to worry about making room.  i'm not hearing that so far, though.
i had pollen coming in in january and it's late april now and i'm just starting to super (cautiously).  i have big brood chambers and  fair flow but the low was near 40 last night, i don't want to get this close to the tulip poplar flow and lose a lot of brood to chilling because i got impatient.
what are your high and low temperatures, how many frames of brood, how many frames of bees?  i had a hive that had almost a full deep of honey in early february that i thought i was going to have to feed by mid march.

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« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2013, 02:04:24 PM »

Remember that My climate is nothing like yours so take this as you will! What I do in the spring is watch for the queen to start ramping up and laying strong. Queens rarely ever shut down all the way here but they do slow down during winter. When she starts up again and has moved to the bottom deep I take all but two frames of the winter honey off and move the two out to the outside edges. I pull two frames of brood from the bottom box into the center of the top box and fill empty spaces with drawn comb. This gives the queen room to lay and entices her to start laying in both boxes. Keep your eye on the stores until the flow starts.

Scott
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dfizer
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« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2013, 11:51:12 PM »

Tomorrow's weather is supposed to be pretty good - mid 50's, sunny and light wind - so I'll give the hives a look and record the information that Finski asked.  Hopefully this will provide enough so that I can devise a strategy. 

I will record the following info:
- how many frames of brood
- of which how much capped
- how many frames with free / open cells or combs
- how many frames of capped honey (2 frames honey is enough)
- how many bees are in the upper box

I'll post this and we can go from there...

Thanks, in advance for the advice.

David
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dfizer
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« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2013, 09:23:13 PM »

Ok - after the temp got to 54 at 1630 I decided to take a look to see what's going on in the hives.  The main takeaway was that all three hives are in a completely different state,  I'll start from weakest to strongest:

Hive 1 - strongest by far - many frames of brood with several being capped or it the process of being capped.  Not very much residual honey left over other than on each end of the top box.  All in all many bees in the top and not as many in the bottom box.  There were a few free cells however not many.  In the bottom box there were a few frames that had nothing in them at all.  One thing I did notice was a lot of drone brood.  All along the bottom and edges of the top box frames was loaded with drone brood.  Unfortunately I had to destroy quite a bit of this since they had built burr drone comb between the top and bottom box.  Therefore upon removal of the frames I destroyed a lot of drone brood.  I hope this is not too big of a deal. 

Hive 3 - some capped brood but not much - although there was a lot of eggs and larva.  There were a few frames of honey but not as much as there was about a month ago.  There was a lot of bees in the top box and some in the bottom box however not all that many.  There were several frames completely empty so I am not too worred about this hive as it seem to be doing well.   

Hive 2 - A lot of empty cells and frames completely empty.  A lot of bees but no capped brood and since it was starting to get dark I couldn't tell if there were any eggs / larva in the cells.  What I did see was a lot of cells that had a lot of liquid in them but were not capped.  I kind of expected to see some capped brood in this hive however none.  I am kind of worried about his hive since I didn't see any capped brood.  I guess that time will tell. 

This is the status of the existing hives in my yard.

David

     
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10framer
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« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2013, 09:47:39 PM »

sounds like you don't need to pull any honey to me. 
sounds like they're gearing up for spring.  i think you need to check the hive with no capped brood for eggs.
i'd also consider feeding the bees in the strong hive pretty soon.  brood rearing takes a lot of resources and they may be low in a week if there isn't a substantial amount of nectar coming in. 
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