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Author Topic: Foundationless conundrums  (Read 559 times)
tjc1
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« on: July 02, 2013, 11:20:01 PM »

Here are some odd things that seem to be happening with my foundationless experiments: or maybe not? Does any of this seem related to foundationless frames in your experience?

-!00% foundationless with a new package:
The bees went to town at first and completely built comb and filled the 9 frames in the first super. I added the second super BELOW thinking that they'd like to build down, and also to keep the brood nest warm at the top. Since then they have partially filled three frames below and are not using it for much - meanwhile, it looks as if they swarmed today! (The swarm was nearby and I was able to capture it easily). The upper deep which had been pretty heavy with honey is quite light, esp one very deep comb they had built and filled with honey which is now empty. There are fewer bees, and virtually no brood. Why would they swarm with so much room - unless it was because there was room but not enough comb?

-transitioning a hive on foundation to foundationless:
The bees were in an upper deep (all old drawn foundation) and never moved down to the lower deep (half drawn, half new bare frames). They've been using a little of the frames with drawn comb there for pollen storage, but that's it, and they have drawn NONE of the empty frames. Instead, the queen just moved up into the honey supers (as described elsewhere).
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2013, 08:37:26 AM »

>Since then they have partially filled three frames below and are not using it for much - meanwhile, it looks as if they swarmed today

Are you feeding?  If so, that's exactly what I would expect to happen.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
tjc1
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« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2013, 01:14:06 PM »

I  stopped feeding them on June 12 because it seemed they were loading up the upper deep but not doing anything downstairs. Yesterday I did find an open queen cell on the face of one frame (empty, with brown edges, but not sure if it was actually used - no swarm cells on frame edges...)

How long before swarming does the queen stop laying? My notes from June 24 indicate lots of brood (including a fairly large amount of drone brood), and yesterday there was virtually no brood. Should I return to feeding the hive now that it is so reduced? Many thanks, Michael!
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2013, 01:27:05 PM »

> Yesterday I did find an open queen cell on the face of one frame (empty, with brown edges, but not sure if it was actually used - no swarm cells on frame edges...)

And the evidence now shows it was a swarm cell.

>How long before swarming does the queen stop laying?

It's backfilling the brood nest that stops the queen from laying.  This can happen by design or because of constant feeding and all the places she needs to lay are filled because there is no where else to put them and feeding bypasses the normal feedback mechanism of the receiver bees.

> My notes from June 24 indicate lots of brood (including a fairly large amount of drone brood), and yesterday there was virtually no brood.

Open?  Capped?

>Should I return to feeding the hive now that it is so reduced?

Isn't that what got you into this mess?  I would only if there is no nectar flow and then you need to watch for robbing.

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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
tjc1
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« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2013, 01:37:28 PM »



>Should I return to feeding the hive now that it is so reduced?

Isn't that what got you into this mess?  I would only if there is no nectar flow and then you need to watch for robbing.



On the 24th there was lots of capped brood. Now there are frames with honey crowns and wide open spaces of open cells in the upper deep and the equivalent of one drawn frame in the lower deep that is also empty.

I wrote the question about restarting feeding guessing that you would respond as you did!... but I was afraid that they will not have much more time of flow in which to build back up.
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2013, 06:14:29 PM »

 Right now there's a nice flow in our area. I just got back in from checking the hives. I put the entrance reducer back on both and drilled two 1/2 in the top boxes for a top entrance. I also peeked into the top boxes, which I added last Saturday, and they've been building a lot more comb and filling them with honey. I wish I drilled the holes when I added the boxes, now I'm fearing that the bottom boxes I added are being drawn and filled with honey as well. Guess I'll find out in 10 more days when I'm planning on doing my next full inspection.
 Side note...I suited up but everything is wet so I used no smoke while I was drilling. The bees took it in stride and not one buzzed me.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2013, 09:19:33 AM »

>I was afraid that they will not have much more time of flow in which to build back up.

As soon as they don't have a flow, feed them...
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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