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Author Topic: Starting A Hive With Drawn Frames  (Read 650 times)
Steel Tiger
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« on: January 06, 2014, 05:08:36 PM »

 When starting a new hive with packaged bees and without drawn frames, generally one box is used until the bees have drawn out and are using most of the frames (lets say 90%) and then a second box is added.
 This year I'll be ordering packaged bees.  Right now I have about 80 frames of drawn and partially drawn comb sitting in my basement plus two hives in the field. One hive seems dead while the other is surviving.
That will give me 10 mediums worth of drawn frames. If my hive survives the rest of the winter, I'll be removing their deep and they'll start spring with three mediums. The bottom will be full of drawn comb that the queen will hopefully be already laying in and the other two will be checkerboard with drawn and empty frames.
 That will leave me with 80 frames that I hope to maximize.
 My thoughts are, starting eight packages of bees in hives with two boxes. Each box will be checkerboard with five frames of drawn and partially drawn comb and empty frames. I figure that will give the queens enough to start laying right away and also give enough comb for foragers to store as the rest of the frames are being drawn out. The only real concern I have is that the packaged bees may start drawing out larger comb (my current bees are small), making the hive look like it's half full of drone comb. This, of coarse, depends on where I finally decide to get my packaged bees.
 Or should I scrap that idea and just use one box of drawn frames for each package and add a second box of empty frames after the first is pretty much full of brood and honey and pollen?
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iddee
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2014, 05:21:10 PM »

Either way should work, just be sure when you install them, push all frames tightly together, and centered in the boxes. Otherwise, you may get some wild comb between a drawn and an empty, or between 2 empties.
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Joe D
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2014, 01:26:39 AM »

I'm with Iddee, either way will work.  Does your undrawn frames have foundation or not.  If foundationless, you will need to keep a check on them to make sure they are drawing it straight.  I would put them in one box and add the other when the first is about 80% drawn.  I have let mine draw brood and honey supers that way, half drawn and half foundationless.  Good luck to you and your bees Tiger.



Joe
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2014, 02:34:54 AM »

I'm with Iddee, either way will work.  Does your undrawn frames have foundation or not.  If foundationless, you will need to keep a check on them to make sure they are drawing it straight.  I would put them in one box and add the other when the first is about 80% drawn.  I have let mine draw brood and honey supers that way, half drawn and half foundationless.  Good luck to you and your bees Tiger.



Joe
They're all foundationless. Overall, last year the bees did a good job building straight comb. I had maybe 6 frames that they started building "wonky comb", but I caught it and straightened it out before it became an issue.
 From what I understand, bees will draw out frames faster in the brood box, which by checkerboarding empty frames in with drawn frames, they'll have those filled out pretty fast. and then by rotating the outer frames up to the next box. Then putting two empties in the middle with a drawn frame between them, they'll draw those frames faster than just leaving them in the top. I couldn't do that method last year. I was using a single deep because that's how my nucs came, and the queens never left the deeps.
 Even after the deeps were packed with bees, brood and honey, they weren't building comb in the medium. One of the hives had a broken frame, so after most of the brood emerged, I cut the comb out, split it in half lengthwise and put each piece into a medium frame with rubberbands. Four days later, one hive had the frame completely draw and was working on several other frames. The other hive had the piece attached and was working on completing it and was working on another frame. Both hives also cut the rubberbands for me.  Smiley
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T Beek
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« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2014, 08:04:25 AM »

I agree with everyone!   cheer

However much depends on intended purpose and colony needs.  If you want (or need) more drawn comb, then checkerboard the drawn with empties to encourage new comb building.  If you just want to assure room for egg laying, especially for your packages, I'd fill the bottom 2 mediums (?) with 'all' drawn comb if you have them and let your queen rip it up, removing/replacing drawn comb as it hatches out, encouraging more comb building, or not depending on the intended purpose.

By force of habit I now write with carpenter pencil on my top bars the year frames are placed in use so they can be removed after 3-5 seasons.  

As with most things in life and particularly beekeeping; Its all about the intended purpose.
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sterling
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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2014, 11:08:19 AM »

If your bees are small and you want them to stay small your best bet would be to put the packages on drawn small cell comb and not put empties or foundation in there until the new brood has emerged. The new bees will be the ones drawing the new empties when you put them in and they should draw comb like they emerged from [small cell]. The original package bees will be mostly foragers or dead by the time new foundation will be drawn.
You didn't say weather your medium boxes were 8 or 10 frame but either way one 8 frame box is good to start a package in with drawn comb especially if it is early and you still have cold nights. But they may out grow it fast so keep an eye on um.
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T Beek
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2014, 12:49:05 PM »

Your individual colonies will make their cells the 'proper size' for their own purpose and reason, regardless of the size of the cells in the comb or foundation introduced by the BEEK.  They 'will' adjust cells to their own specs based on 'their' needs (their current size) for the larva intended to occupy them.  Its just one reason why I went foundationless several years ago.  I like the idea of letting them decide.

Foundationless frames are often found with several different sized cells on a single frame.  I figure, who am I to decide how to arrange their furniture, its enough I gave them a box  grin 

It can take several generations for the 'larger' more typically sized package bees to regress when using small cell foundation or just going foundationless.  Either way, If we are a patient BEEK they'll do it on their own with no other intervention cool.
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10framer
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2014, 01:25:06 PM »

I agree with everyone!   cheer

However much depends on intended purpose and colony needs.  If you want (or need) more drawn comb, then checkerboard the drawn with empties to encourage new comb building.  If you just want to assure room for egg laying, especially for your packages, and let your queen rip it up, removing/replacing drawn comb as it hatches out, encouraging more comb building, or not depending on the intended purpose.

By force of habit I now write with carpenter pencil on my top bars the year frames are placed in use so they can be removed after 3-5 seasons.  

As with most things in life and particularly beekeeping; Its all about the intended purpose.

I'd fill the bottom 2 mediums (?) with 'all' drawn comb if you have them
absolutely^^^^ give the queen as much room to get started as possible
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2014, 06:52:17 AM »

With drawn comb I would put a package in one eight frame deep box, or if deeps, one five frame deep nuc.  But one ten frame deep would do ok.  Less room is better as they can heat it better and guard it better and draw comb better.  In two weeks you may have to add a box (or not) but that two weeks makes a difference in how cold it gets at night.
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Michael Bush
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