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Author Topic: Forcing them to fill the super  (Read 3679 times)
MagicValley
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« on: May 25, 2013, 07:59:32 PM »

I put a queen excluder on between the two deeps and the super about 6 weeks ago.  The frames in the super all have empty comb from last year.  The bees have not put a single cell of honey in that super.

This morning I drilled a hole in the bottom edge of the super and waited half a day before checking on them.  Not one bee was using that hole.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to drill 2 more holes in the super and block the bottom main entrance to the deep. Then the only way in and out of the hive will be via the super.

What do you think of this plan to get the super filled with honey?
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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2013, 08:07:51 PM »

You still need a bottom entrance. The honey excluder er...queen excluder will also keep drones below and they need cleansing flights too!

Scott
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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2013, 08:17:13 PM »

Queen excluder in most cases are commonly known as honey excluders.
They have uses but they aren't great in the supers.
They don't really like crossing them and if there is room down stairs they will frequently use that first.

Be on the lookout for a swarm if you decide to leave it in place.  They may decide to cross it eventually but
They don't like it.

Pull a honey frame from down below up into the top,box and hope the beetles or moths don't get there first
Is my only idea to get them to cross it.
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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2013, 08:39:28 PM »

The deeps have a screen bottom, so there is plenty of ventilation.  The drones can hold their poop until they croak, I don't care.

The last time they swarmed was mid-June, so they are getting ready to do that again in a couple weeks, is my guess.

If they must enter and exit only via the holes in the super, and they don't like crossing the excluder, then when they cross it one time, they are stuck in the super or out foraging, because they won't go back down.
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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2013, 08:48:47 PM »

No they won't be stuck in the supers but if you must use it then watch the hive close

Best I can think of.
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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2013, 09:48:30 PM »

You do not want bees contained so they cannot go out and void. They will make the mess on tops of frames and on the honey frames you want to harvest. Like bailey said about remove the exclude and bait the box with a honey frame. It would happen quicker if you could pull a frame of brood up in the middle of the box you want them to work in. I personally don't see the need to make more than one hole in a super and it could invite pest or robbing if there is to many places to defend.
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MagicValley
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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2013, 10:09:15 PM »

OK, tell me how you put a deep frame in a shallow super.
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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2013, 10:42:41 PM »

OK, tell me how you put a deep frame in a shallow super.
I had a broken deep frame. I put it on the end to allow the brood to emerge and they started filling it with honey and nectar. I pulled it and cut the comb out and then cut it in half and used rubber bads to hold the pieces in two medium frames. Those frame then went into the new medium I put onto the hives to try to get the bees start working the new box.
 Unfortunately, it's been raining for the past week and the temp dropped too low for me to see if there is any progress.
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2013, 10:48:22 PM »

If you weigh the good sunny warm days against the cool rainy days you might come up with some idea as to what the bees are doing.
50/50 is not a good average. Smiley d2
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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2013, 01:06:26 AM »

put the super on the bottom with the excluder above it.  bees like to work down anyway and this forces the to get used to crossing the excluder and passing across that comb. 
we ran excluders in the 80's and it wasn't unusual to pull 4 supers per hive twice in one season.  i don't buy into the "honey excluder" claims.  if you time it right and the hives are strong they'll cross over and store in them.
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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2013, 05:00:57 AM »

Is the population enough to populate this super ? Maybe 2 deeps are enough space for your bees. I have similar issues and before a few days i added excluders to 3 hives to test a few things compared with other 3 hives with no excluders. I put it to the first deep at the moment the second deep was full of bees few frames brood and honey. The plan seems to be ok, the only thing have to consider is swarming. I have no supers with drawn comb, so this was the only way to gather some honey of the desired type by the clients. I think the current population is the main fault if your combs are drawn.
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2013, 05:16:11 AM »

.
Your colony is so small that it does not rise to the super.
Look what they have in broodboxes....how many brood frames...

And excluder between brood boxes? Strange idea.

Let the colony grow. You cannot force them , not at least to fill super.

A hive must be quite big that it truly fills a super. About 4 boxes.

If you force enough the colony, it starts swarming.

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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2013, 09:42:57 AM »

If there is excess flow, and the bees are not just treading water, the honey is being stored somewhere.  That means the deep boxes are still being backfilled.  The bees won't move up until their core brood is surrounded by 1 or 2 frames of honey.

I'm guessing you overwintered with two deeps- the bees won't make surplus for you until the brood nest honey stores are replenished.   Your management should concentrate on making  sure the core brood doesn't get honey bound.  That is, a small population or weak queen may end of storing nectar in the upper deep and lose the ability to expand to fill sufficient frames with eggs when the flow and population ramps up.

I am confused by your description of the excluder location.  Is is it Deep-Deep-Excluder-Super or Deep-Excluder-Deep-Super.
I pretty sure you would need a minimum of two deep for an Idaho winter. 

I have had similar situations with excluders, the hive build burr comb everywhere below it, stores honey in burr on the lower side of the excluder, gets crowded and leaves the super untouched.  In a situation like that, no risk in pulling the excluder since the queen won't cross the "honey band" created by the over-active bees at the top of the brood.

I use excluders when I want to make a requeen split (to isolate the queen in a particular box), and temporarily to generate a honey band.  Running them season long is unneccessary and problematic.  My brood naturally moves to the very top of the hive in winter (I am assuming for warmth).

Hive management is an order of magnitude easier with a minimum of three hives.  In this situation you would be able to checkerboard the super with frames from a stronger hive, open up the brood frames with deep frames from another hive, etc.
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« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2013, 10:36:24 AM »

The hive is:  bottom tray-deep-deep-excluder-super.

There has been for a couple years a hole drilled in the upper deep, but this year no bees use it.  I think over winter they waxed around it and it is sealed.

This morning I drilled 4 holes at the ends of a board, placed it across the bottom openings and hooked bungee cords around the hive, with the hooks in the four holes.  Now there are no bottom entrances, they are sealed with the board.  I also drilled two more holes in the lower edge of the super.  One hole has a plastic landing platform.  Now the bees can only exit and enter via the 3 holes in the super.

I do not open or mess with anything in the two deeps, that is left to whatever they will do.  I never take honey frames from the deeps.  Looking into it from the top, it is a jumble of wax, all the frames are stuck together.  I tried to move one frame last year and the top bar pretty much broke off, and the frame did not budge.  Now I just leave the deeps alone, everything is stuck good.

I'm going to leave the bottom entrances sealed for 3 days and see what happens.  Hopefully when I remove the sealing board, they will have acquired a new habit of using the holes in the super, and some will still come and go from there.  If not, I may try the suggestion to stack the hive: bottom tray-super-excluder-deep-deep, and see how that works.
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« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2013, 11:03:18 AM »

the simple answer is that you take the excluder off.  if they have excess, they will store up there.  if not, they won't.  this is not always true with the excluder on.  sometimes they will have excess, store in the brood area, then swarm.

since your hive has already swarmed once, finski is probably right.  you don't have enough bees for them to feel compelled to store above.  add the excluder to that, and they will store below and swarm again.

it's your choice, but i don't think it's to complicated.
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« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2013, 11:18:54 AM »

the simple answer is that you take the excluder off.  if they have excess, they will store up there.  if not, they won't.  this is not always true with the excluder on.  sometimes they will have excess, store in the brood area, then swarm.

since your hive has already swarmed once, finski is probably right.  you don't have enough bees for them to feel compelled to store above.  add the excluder to that, and they will store below and swarm again.

it's your choice, but i don't think it's to complicated.

Yes, I know that is the simple answer.  I want to get honey frames that did not have larvae in them.  Perhaps its just not that important

Sooner or later I'll close up the hive, put a couple pounds of dry ice in a super, and euthanize the entire colony.  Then I'll pry apart the wax mess in the two deeps, clean it all up, and get a new queen with 3 pounds of bees.
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« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2013, 11:30:38 AM »

"i want" and beekeeping don't really go together.  Maybe a puppy next time?   evil
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« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2013, 11:39:48 AM »

the simple answer is that you take the excluder off.  if they have excess, they will store up there.  if not, they won't.  this is not always true with the excluder on.  sometimes they will have excess, store in the brood area, then swarm.

since your hive has already swarmed once, finski is probably right.  you don't have enough bees for them to feel compelled to store above.  add the excluder to that, and they will store below and swarm again.

it's your choice, but i don't think it's to complicated.

Yes, I know that is the simple answer.  I want to get honey frames that did not have larvae in them.  Perhaps its just not that important

Sooner or later I'll close up the hive, put a couple pounds of dry ice in a super, and euthanize the entire colony.  Then I'll pry apart the wax mess in the two deeps, clean it all up, and get a new queen with 3 pounds of bees.
if you've got bees that have survived a couple of seasons with no management you don't need to kill them.  you need to go through and clean the mess with them in it.  if the top bar pulled off of one frame move over til you find one that will come out  and then remove them from side to side.  being as far north as you are i think it's fairly rare for bees to survive the winter without at least a little management.  i'm sure there is someone up in your area that would trade you new equipment for your mess to have those bees.  if i were there i know i would.
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« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2013, 12:38:50 PM »

You are making all the wrong choices.
Do not kill survivor bees unless they are way, way  too hot to manage.  (and even hot hives will be calm if they are not in swarm mode).

Disasterous cross comb can be cleaned up. 
Twist the whole deep to break it free from the lower deep.
 Once broken free, you can pry up individual frames (or groups of 2 or 3 together).
 Use a knife to cut the cross comb apart.
Trim the burr down to frame. 
If the frame is too wonky, replace it with a fresh one. It has to be pretty bad to do this.

 You will have a drippy mess, and will have to kill some brood, but the bees will totally clean up the mess in just one day.
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« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2013, 01:13:53 PM »

OK, tell me how you put a deep frame in a shallow super.
Pile 2 shallow super. Then deep goes in.

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« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2013, 01:32:23 PM »

First of all; the only use I have for queen excluders is for Door Prizes at Bee Club meetings <g>.
I find that putting the super between deeps until it get draw is effective on hives reluctant to
draw the super. Back in the day (thirty years or so ago) we used to call this 'Bottom Supering'
It is how I get new frames drawn in my supers. Then I shuffle them to the top, the brood hatches,
the bees backfill and Voila, honey!
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« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2013, 02:04:57 PM »

beek1951, that does work well especially for getting those undrawn supers done.  just did it with a couple of mine, although one was by accident.
his thing is that he doesn't want brood in the honey super.  to me, it's no big thing unless you are trying to do cut comb honey.  i just pull the honey frames and leave the brood frames until they hatch out.  i replace the frames i pull with empty so they can keep working.  good flow and pretty soon it's a whole box of honey!
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« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2013, 10:12:36 PM »

Kathy, they will hatch the brood out and the queen will not make it back to lay again before they backfill it with honey.
I haven't used a queen excluder in many years and by the time I pull supers I have never found brood left in them.
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« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2013, 10:19:39 PM »

don't use them either.  the thing about cut comb  is that you want clean comb.  you don't want what has been laid in and overly tracked over.  that's the only time i can think that i might use one.

the cut comb i do for me, i don't care if the wax is a little dirty  grin
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« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2013, 12:10:05 AM »

if you are producing specialty honey you don't want old brood comb because the cocoons make the honey darker.  at least that's what i've always been told.  i can't honestly say that i KNOW that it's true, though.  i hate to say it but i run them because it's what we did 30 years ago. i've run hives without them and i'm not convinced that there is a real difference in production.  i've got a hive that i supered with a medium of foundation and put a second brood chamber under the first one and they have been working the honey super and not the brood box.  go figure.
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« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2013, 02:32:36 PM »

After 3 days there has been zero bee traffic going in or out of the new holes in the super.  I took the blocking board off the lower entrances.

One day soon I'll remove the honey excluder.
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« Reply #26 on: May 29, 2013, 03:14:42 PM »

>Forcing them to fill the super

If the question in your mind starts “how do I force the bees …” then you are already thinking wrongly. If your question is “how can I help them with what they are trying to do…” you are on your way to becoming a beekeeper.

I would remove the honey excluder...
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« Reply #27 on: May 29, 2013, 09:09:41 PM »

You can take the excluder off. Let them start working the super then make sure your queen is in the lower box and put the excluder back on. If the queen laid a few eggs in the super they will hatch out in 21 days and the bees will fill it with honey. Problem solved. Once you get some drawn comb you will find they move through the excluder easier. It takes them a while to move through just for foundation.
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« Reply #28 on: May 29, 2013, 09:40:41 PM »

oh, i don't know.  you can wait and let them swarm again and then take the excluder off. 
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« Reply #29 on: May 29, 2013, 09:49:37 PM »

Really lost me at the dry ice thing. 
But ok.

Good luck.

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« Reply #30 on: May 29, 2013, 10:07:32 PM »

...finski is probably right...
it's your choice, but i don't think it's to complicated.

You just don't see comments like that on here very often. I see your logic but with that many in agreement you may want to rethink your position.
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« Reply #31 on: May 30, 2013, 08:10:07 AM »

>Yes, I know that is the simple answer.  I want to get honey frames that did not have larvae in them.  Perhaps its just not that important

If they have larvae in them, they aren't honey frames.

Bees want a consolidated brood nest.  The only reason you find larvae in supers is either because they needed more room, or they needed drone brood and there was not enough in the old tough brood combs and old tough brood combs are hard to rebuild, while soft was in the supers is easy to rebuild into drones.

Here's what Isaac Hopkins said about excluders:

"Queen Excluders," as they are usually called...are very useful in queen rearing, and in uniting colonies; but for the purpose they are generally used, viz., for confining the queen to the lower hive through the honey season, I have no hesitation in condemning them.  As I have gone into this question fully on a previous occasion, I will quote my remarks:—

"The most important point to observe during the honey season in working to secure a maximum crop of honey is to keep down swarming, and the main factors to this end, as I have previously stated, are ample ventilation of the hives, and adequate working-room for the bees.  When either or both these conditions are absent, swarming is bound to take place.  The free ventilation of a hive containing a strong colony is not so easily secured in the height of the honey season, even under the best conditions, that we can afford to take liberties with it; and when the ventilating—space between the lower and upper boxes is more than half cut off by a queen-excluder, the interior becomes almost unbearable on hot days.  The results under such circumstances are that a very large force of bees that should be out working are employed fanning-, both inside and out, and often a considerable part of the colony will be hanging outside the hive in enforced idleness until it is ready to swarm. 

"Another evil caused by queen-excluders, and tending to the same end—swarming—is that during a brisk honey-flow the bees will not readily travel through them to deposit their loads of surplus honey in the supers, but do store large quantities in the breeding-combs, and thus block the breeding-space.  This is bad enough at any time, but the evil is accentuated when it occurs in the latter part of the season.  A good queen gets the credit of laying from two to three thousand eggs per day: supposing she is blocked for a few days, and loses the opportunity of laying, say, from fifteen hundred to two thousand eggs each day, the colony would quickly dwindle down, especially as the average life of the bee in the honey season is only about six weeks. 
 
"For my part I care not where the queen lays—the more bees the more honey.  If she lays in some of the super combs it can be readily rectified now and again by putting the brood below, and side combs of honey from the lower box above; some of the emerging brood also may be placed at the side of the upper box to give plenty of room below.  I have seen excluders on in the latter part of the season, the queens idle for want of room, and very little brood in the hives, just at a time when it is of very great importance that there should be plenty of young bees emerging."--Isaac Hopkins, The Australasian Bee Manual
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« Reply #32 on: May 30, 2013, 11:05:31 AM »

This morning was nice, no rain or drizzle.  I pulled off the super, pried the honey excluder out of the mess of open drone comb and removed it.  I chipped off all the excess wax on the top of the upper deep and put the super back on.  All the frames in the super have drawn comb from last year.  The 2nd super has no drawn comb, so its waiting in the shed until the colony fills the 1st super.

So much for that experiment.  Later today I'll whittle down some corks and plug 2 of the 3 holes I drilled in the super.
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« Reply #33 on: May 30, 2013, 10:09:21 PM »

I have seen some people turn the excluder sideways, which leaves the front and rear 'Unexcluded' so to speak and some of the excluder hanging outside the hive. The frameless excluders that is.
 It may not stop the queen from going above,nbut may discourage herwhi;e leaving workers easy access to the upper boxes.
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« Reply #34 on: June 19, 2013, 09:38:07 PM »

can't believe you would consider killing a hive because you dont no what you are doing
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« Reply #35 on: June 20, 2013, 09:36:24 AM »

>Yes, I know that is the simple answer.  I want to get honey frames that did not have larvae in them.  Perhaps its just not that important

Bees do not scatter brood all over, they build a brood nest.  This is where they prefer to have their brood as they have to heat it and care for it.  Most frames of honey are frames of honey.  I don't understand why you think this is complicated.

>Sooner or later I'll close up the hive, put a couple pounds of dry ice in a super, and euthanize the entire colony.  Then I'll pry apart the wax mess in the two deeps, clean it all up, and get a new queen with 3 pounds of bees.

I have no idea what you think that will accomplish, other than kill all the bees.  Why would you kill productive bees?  The only reason I can think of that anyone would want to kill bees is if they are extremely aggressive and I see no where that you say they were aggressive.  And even then I would requeen...
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« Reply #36 on: July 23, 2013, 01:05:14 PM »

I would think it would go faster if you used the bees you have....but then I am a newbie....who knows...can't imagine killing off a perfectly good hive just because they do things their way.
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« Reply #37 on: July 23, 2013, 01:50:43 PM »

I would think it would go faster if you used the bees you have....but then I am a newbie....who knows...can't imagine killing off a perfectly good hive just because they do things their way.

Why it must go faster? It takes its own time.

You cannot set goals to bees. They do not listen.

it is same with comb drawing: faster, - why?

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« Reply #38 on: July 23, 2013, 08:14:20 PM »

I read this thread and expected a punch line!!!   Are you kidding me?
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« Reply #39 on: July 24, 2013, 10:13:23 AM »

I will build two new deeps and donate them to you if you decide to kill the bees.  I'm sure we can locate a beak in your area to take your "problem" off your hands.  Let us know.

Dash
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« Reply #40 on: August 04, 2013, 12:13:49 AM »

I thought "usually" once there was honey surrounding the brood the queen doesn't usually move up into the supers. I agree with them filling if they have excess. When did you put your super on? When did the flow start? What's the weather been like? Hot and dry or cool and wet?
My now two plus year old (April 2011) double deep colony produced me three supers and began making bur comb between supers to fill with honey. My ladies are rock stars this year, but i didn't get a drop last year. They filled a super and when I went back to see if it was capped, they had moved it down to the brood box. Not what I wanted, but they did.
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« Reply #41 on: August 04, 2013, 01:17:39 AM »

I thought "usually" once there was honey surrounding the brood the queen doesn't usually move up into the supers.

Bees tend to keep the brood area compact

Quote
I agree with them filling if they have excess. When did you put your super on? When did the flow start? What's the weather been like? Hot and dry or cool and wet?
My now two plus year old (April 2011) double deep colony produced me three supers and began making bur comb between supers

They usually make burr when the hive is full of honey. Very normal.

Quote
They filled a super and when I went back to see if it was capped, they had moved it down

The colony has been too small/ hive too cold. That is why they concentrated the store around brood.
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« Reply #42 on: August 04, 2013, 10:09:31 PM »

nice to know my girls are normal all things being relative. But I don't try to convince them to do what I want and just let them be bees.
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« Reply #43 on: August 05, 2013, 12:34:15 AM »

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It sounds like you want to learn from others' experiences  Lips Sealed
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« Reply #44 on: August 07, 2013, 08:58:05 PM »

I do not use excluders except to combine hives or confine queens.
My hives are all medium deep supers and have 6, yes 6, brood boxes currently and 2 honey supers.  Large hives, they will now back fill two supers, making 4 to harvest, between now and labor day while also filling in much of the remaining four medium brood boxes I leave for winter.  Only four supers per hive this year due to splits earlier.
I've found that the more bees you have per hive the more honey they produce, of course abundant pastures helps. 
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« Reply #45 on: August 07, 2013, 09:01:30 PM »

Brian!  We have been worried about you.  Haven't heard from you in a LONG time.  It's great to hear from you now.  Your wisdom and wit have been missed!
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« Reply #46 on: August 07, 2013, 09:04:15 PM »

Look who surfaced--- hello Brian cheer
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« Reply #47 on: August 07, 2013, 10:17:58 PM »

Been sick a lot the past 2 years--diabetes meds caused kidney problems so spent a lot of time redoing all my meds to get them back in balance.  Now doing Insulin.
Last fall my ram butted me while feeding sheep, I feel down and injured knee that had 3 previous surgeries so I had a total knee replacement.  He also injured my back--scheduled for back surgery next month.  Right now I can't walk 50 feet or stand for more than 2 minutes without getting severe back spasms.

I've been teaching beekeeping classes, mentoring students, teaching my younger brother and his daughter towards becoming sideliners, and writing a book on beekeeping.
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