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Author Topic: At 5 weeks  (Read 4049 times)
Kris^
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« on: June 02, 2004, 08:12:30 PM »

I'd like to thank everyone for all the discussions and responses to my sometimes-goofy questions.  The give and take certainly makes me feel more confident about what I'm doing and how to help my colony thrive.

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to make a comprehensive inspection of my hive, 5 weeks and 2 days after installing the package.  It was a much better experience than the last time I spent a lot of time in the hive, and nobody got upset.  Plenty of smoke, patience, staying to the side and back, and not throwing a shadow helped lots!  They workers had drawn four full frames in the top super, and the queen was there laying eggs.  She quickly moved back down into the lower box as soon as I replaced the frame she was on.

All the frames in the bottom  brood box had drawn comb, most of them completely.  One of the things I noticed was that because I had interspersed some drawn frames with undrawn foundation a few weeks ago, there was overdrawn comb in a few places.  I noticed this particularly along the tops and upper corners of the frames where honey was stored, but they didn't overdraw the brood comb much at all, although there was some uneveness on a few adjacent frames of comb.  

Looking at how the colony has developed over the past 5 weeks, I know that the most important thing for me to do is to help it get as strong as possible for the coming winter.  It would be risky to break them up to try start a second colony at this point.  It does take them a while to build up from a package, and I don't see them being that strong by fall if I make them start over again now.  They're coming along fine, as far as I can tell, and they look healthy, happy and busy.  So I'll be happy to wait til spring and see them buzzing about after the thaw.

-- Kris
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2004, 08:24:50 PM »

That all sounds good. Smiley Now that you've had some experience of your own, you see it takes a bit for them to get things started. Next spring though, you'll see a big burst in bees. And if you're prepared, you may even be able to expand your bee yard by a couple of hives off the one. Possibly more, you'll know yourself by this time next year.

I think if I had been prepared with all the hive boxes and frames (plus an extractor so the bees wouldn't have to keep rebuilding the comb when I took the honey)...... I think it's possible I could have turned one hive in Febuary into 4 hives by now with doing 2 splits. Not positive on that, but I think it's possible.

Beth
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mark
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2004, 10:36:14 PM »

hi kris^

    you know i'm glad to hear such a good progress report since we're neighbors.  i'm 2 weeks behind you.  hived my package the 11th last month on all foundation and have new bees emerging today. they're only 5 full frames right now but i expect not for long.

regards
mark
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Robo
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« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2004, 07:43:58 AM »

Quote from: Kris^
One of the things I noticed was that because I had interspersed some drawn frames with undrawn foundation a few weeks ago, there was overdrawn comb in a few places.  I noticed this particularly along the tops and upper corners of the frames where honey was stored, but they didn't overdraw the brood comb much at all, although there was some uneveness on a few adjacent frames of comb.  


This is the problem when mixing drawn comb and foundation, they will overdraw the honey storage area at the top of the frame. Sometimes so much that goes under the top bar of the adjacent frame.  This in turn prevents the foundation frame from being drawn correctly.  The golden rule is never mix drawn comb and foundation.  However, that is not always practical when trying to get them to draw foundation.  Just like when dealing with burr comb, it is best to address this as soon as possible before it gets worse.  I usually cut back the overdrawn areas, and then place the frame next to a correctly drawn out comb,  so they won't have the space to overdraw it again.

Sounds like things are going well for you, keep up the good work Cheesy
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Kris^
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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2004, 11:50:44 AM »

I thought of trimming the overdrawn comb, but decided to leave it because it was already capped and because it was not so bad as to interfere with manipulating the frames.  Although it wasn't so overdrawn as to run under the top of the adjacent frame, the bees -- keeping within their bee-space -- under-drew the top comb of the neighboring frames.  Rather than compound the problem in the upper super by interspacing drawn and undrawn foundation in an effort to get them to draw on the foundation, I sprayed it with sugar syrup to entice them. When I finally get some frames of evenly drawn comb, I'll probably trim and replace the uneven ones, like you say.

I also had the burr comb problem a few weeks back and removed it as advised (at great distress to me and the bees).  I guess the bees got "trained" -- there was really little burr comb  to remove this time.  The hive is getting into shape and hopefully, thriving.

My plan now is to extract a few frames of honey this year, get this hive through winter and populate my second, currently-empty hive setup next year.  I think I should order another package in January, because if the present colony doesn't survive winter, I probably won't find out until it's too late to order.  If the colony survives strong enough to split, I can always order/build another setup or two then.  Or slap on the comb honey super I have sitting around, just in time for next year's clover flow!  My bees teach patience.
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2004, 01:33:16 PM »

Mixing frames can be complicated - staggering them is often the only way to get bees to make drawn frames if you are trying to create a second super full of drawn frames quickly. The good thing is that you can rotate and shuffle the frames around some and ONCE the bees start drawing comb on new foundation they will have a lot less problems drawing it out if you move those frames into a new super.

What they are doing of course is trying to make a BEE-MADE hive out of a MAN-MADE template - it's in their nature and forcing frame drawing isn't easy especially with new colonies. But sticking a second super full of undrawn frames on a hive usually ends up being untouched by the bees - so it really is a bakancing act that requires intervention and sometimes some trimming.

Sounds like you had a really pleasant experience in your hive though, that is always great to hear. Being Bee-minded really does help to lessen the stress and improve the experience to both you and the bees.

As Beth mentioned, your options in SEASON TWO are greatly expanded if the colony Winters well - an early Spring and a good size cluster make for magical growth in colony count in your bee yard.

I'm happy with three, right now they are side by side with little room between them - which is necessary in my case due to small property size and tree spacing. The hives on the end are easy to manipulate, I can do it from behind or from one side - the middle hive though is only accessable from the rear, which is about 2 foot from a 3 foot high picket fence, so my elbow room is reduced a bit.

But proper planning makes the difference no matter what your beeyard layout. Having tools handy and at working height makes a huge difference and greatly reduces back strain, etc..

Great job Kris - glad to see the forum is helping and there are no foolish questions, only needless beestings!
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Mia
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2004, 07:49:38 AM »

Hi there,
I see lots of info on the topic of adding supers with new foundation.. I'm confused.

I bought two nucs, put them each in their own hive body and they are doing wonderful!  Nucs are wonderful!  I'm going out to look at them this weekend and I hope to find 7 or 8 frames in the hive box filled, so I'm going to add a second hive body to each.

The problem is, I ONLY have undrawn foundation in the second deeps.  What is going to be the best thing for me to do to get the bees to start working on drawing this out?  Also, would I put the queen excluder between the first deep and the second?

If I need to take frames out of the first deep, which do I take and where do I put them?  Do I need to spray the undrawn foundation with sugar water?  HELP PLEASE!! Thanks!
Mia.
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Robo
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2004, 08:11:42 AM »

First of all don't use the queen excluder,  or you will never get them to draw out the foundation.  The bees need a reason to struggle thru a queen excluder, and bare foundation isn't something that will persuade them.

I would start by spraying the foundation with sugar syrup as a first attempt.  Remember,  make sure you have 10 frames and that they are all tight against each other.
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Mia
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« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2004, 08:17:29 AM »

Would I have better luck if I wait till the first hives are "really" full?
Mia
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« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2004, 08:26:53 AM »

The problem with waiting until they are really full, is that there is a greater chance for them to swarm, which would really set your hives back.  There is no harm done by adding the super of foundation.  Just don't get too excited if they don't start drawing out the comb right away.  The room will be there, for when they feel they need it.

Just keep an eye on them, and if you see the first super getting really congested, and they haven't touch the foundation, then you might want to move a few frames of brood up to get them going.
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