I have two hives - one swarmed recently and the other seems really crowded. I am going back in them this weekend and I am planning on reversing the deeps, at least in the crowded hive, and I was also considering taking some of the capped brood from the crowded and moving it to the recently-swarmed hive. Also, how exactly should I swap frames? I've never done this and was hoping for some wisdom-
Acutally when moving brood into another brood chamber, I've never had any fighting. The bees on the brood in the old hive are nurse bees, and the ones on the brood in the new hive are nurse bees. They usually accept each other pretty well. I do spray them with some light syrup with Honey Bee Healthy usually. You can use pepermint extract or Lemongrass oil in the syrup also or just straight syrup.
So there's no need to try to shake off all the bees before moving the brood frames over? Does it matter which frames I take? (Some from the middle as opposed to some from the outside) Also, though it is crowded, they never finished drawing the foundation into comb on the two outermost frames.
Any thoughts on when and how to reverse boxes?
I realize that reversing boxes is a religious doctrine, but I only reverse them in the spring when the bottom box is empty and the top box has all the bees in it. And sometimes I don't even do that and the queen gets pushed down into the bottom box anyway. If you want to follow this doctrine you'll have to find a believer to advise you.
>So there's no need to try to shake off all the bees before moving the brood frames over?
>Does it matter which frames I take? (Some from the middle as opposed to some from the outside)
I'd be more considering what you want to boost the other hive with. Emerging brood is the biggest boost because they require no feeding and the add to the workforce quickly.
>Also, though it is crowded, they never finished drawing the foundation into comb on the two outermost frames.
Normal. You can swap these in with the one next to it if you like.
>Any thoughts on when and how to reverse boxes?
The how is simply a matter of having two somethings to set the hive bodies on. A bottom board, an inner cover upside down etc. Pull the top one off and put it on the inner cover. Pull the bottom one off and put it on another bottom board if you have one. If not put it on the TOP of the telescopic cover. Now put what was the top one on the bottom board and then what was the bottom one on top of that. It's a juggling act.
Thanks for the info Michael! I got into both hives yesterday afternoon to have a better look around. In both hives, there were still more bees in the bottom box than in the top, so it seemed pointless to reverse them. I saw that that are storing so much honey everywhere that there are few empty cells for egg laying, which may be why the one hive swarmed. In the hive that swarmed, I did not see any eggs, and only a (relatively) small amount of capped brood. I did see a queen cell that was already vacated, and two more that are capped. I will check back in a week or so to see if a new queen is laying yet. Both hives now have supers on them with foundation and queen excluders. I don't know what to do if there's no more egg-laying space. I hate being a newbie! Seems like no matter how much I learn, there's a zillion things I haven't learned yet!! ARRRGG!
Try to get some of the honey out of some of the brood frames. If you have an extractor, extract it. If you don't, uncap it and put it above the inner cover in a box (if you don't have a deep try two supers) and see if you can get them to move it down to the supers. Of course you have to have some empty frames to put in the space while you do this. Try to take capped honey without pollen out. The open honey and pollen are being used to feed the brood.
Always needing extra equipment. Also, if you have an extra deep you can run an unlimited brood nest. Personally I find running all mediums is the simplest for a typical vertical hive. All the equipment and frames are interchangable and I can just pull some of the honey and move it up to the supers and put some empty or drawn comb in the brood chamber. And if I extract, I'll probably have some empty drawn (extracted) comb to put in the brood chamber. Since I don't use chemicals, and, other than the first year and maybe a little stimulation on occasion, I usually only feed honey, I can put honey from the brood chamber in the supers and not bother to keep track of it all. And I can lift the boxes.
I had several hives I made from splits, where the bees raised themselves queens, which are doing fine now. It seemed to me that after those queens emerged ,they took a while before they started laying, I would guess way over 10 days, which is more than the 3 to 7 or so I keep hearing about. Perhaps in my case it was due to the rainy wheather we had a while back that kept the queens from going out to mate. I'm saying this so you consider giving the possible virgin queens in your "bad" hive a little longer before you take serious action. Hoeverer I would say that giving them a frame of brood with some "less than three days old" eggs could help in determining if they have a virgin queen or not. And I see no danger in doing that, as long as you are pretty sure that the frames you are swapping do not have the queens on them. A virgin queen might be hard to spot. So I would shake the bees in each hive before the switch. If the so labeled bad hive was indeed queenless (not even a virgin queen) they would start an emergency queen cell in that frame.
As for spinning the honey off those frames you mentioned in the string above, as per Michael suggestion (who knows much more than I do, no doubt about it...) I would not do it. I think that the bees will move that honey in no time if they have to make room for the queen to lay eggs. Just my opinion.
Also for you to know... I'm not an expert. Only three years at the game...