I have made 2 shallow supers, and they turned out well. I will try tonight to set them up to entice the feral hive into using them.
Would it be best to put BOTH supers out at once, or just set them out one at a time as the bees build into them? I have figured out how to put the supers over the bee's entrance, so hopefully the hive will grow into the supers, then one day I can take the supers away and have the start of a domestic hive.
Instead of putting foundation into the supers, in the interest of speed (the wild hive is bulging at the seams) I just placed slats for the bees to build combs on.
Do I need to observe a bee space between the slats? I would prefer to leave a gap in the middle, as I will want to examine the bees once in a great while to check on their health. I do not intend to sell honey at this time: I want to have them for pollination since all of the hives out here died out a few years back from the varroa mite. My garden hasn't been the same since.
I would like to keep these bees, which means taking care of them. I actually feel like I have recieved a gift from out of no where!
They appear to be both healthy and well behaved (at least to the point where I can mow around the hive and peer into the entrance). I MIGHT even have a resistant queen! Time will tell about that, I suppose. The hive has been in my yard for about a year, now.
Can anyone think of anything that I might have missed, or left un-done?
Any time you don't respect the beespace, you run the risk of getting comb everywhere. The foundation and frames actually allow you to better inspect the hive. Depending on how your slats are, the bees may decide they have their own ideas. Ditto for leaving a gap in the middle. That is where they want them to put brood, and if you leave a gap, they will fill it with comb.What part of the world are you in? Bees are lots of fun, but for a beginner you are taking on a very big project.
if the bees don't want to move into your supers,they will probably swarm this year if they are cramped for space,that may be a good thing if you keep your eyes out for them in the next few months.you might want to set up one of your boxes as a swarm trap.
With full sheets of foundation you can stretch the bee space a little and not get into trouble too often, but with anything less than full sheets you need to be within the tolerances of bee space wich is plus or minus 1/16 of an inch. With frames and starter strips or foundation you have to figure in the thickness of brood comb. For 5.4mm foundation ("normal" not natural) that would be 1 3/8" on center. Meaning if you measure from the left side of one frame to the left side of another it's 1 3/8".
I'm not clear on how you are using slats. Is this like a top bar? What keeps the slats spaced correctly? What is there to encourage the bees to build in the middle of the bar? Is there a slope to the bottom side of the bar to the middle? A groove in the middle full of wax? A starter strip? Without one of these things as a guide the bees will build comb anyway they want.
Normally I'd say only put one box on if you have foundation in it so the foundation doesn't sag in the heat. But if you dont' have any foundation maybe it doesn't really matter. Of course you could use one as a bait hive as mentioned.
Yes, I AM using the slats like top bars!
It would probably take several days to get a mail-order in and I don't think that I have that much time. I had no idea the wild hive was so full until I saw comb at the enterance!
I couldn't due much last night because of a storm, I think that I will take what I have and set it up over the entrance. They will either like it and stay or NOT like it and swarm. But, the way I see it, if they didn't like boards they wouldnt have moved in between 2 walls!
If they build comb everywhere, so be it. I can deal with that once they have a little breathing room.
I can always get in proper foundation for upper supers, and let them keep these 2 supers.
I agree having them in ANY box is better than having them in the cold frame or having most of them leave in a swarm.