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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Jay, Maine
    Posts
    275

    Post

    Well, about 4 1/2 weeks ago my 1st super (new hive) was about 85% drawn out. So, I added my secong floor (super). When I added it, all day that day my girls were coming and going in and out the top enterence like always. Rarely used the bottom enternece since day 1 of the hive.

    Over the course of the last month, they have started using the bottom (main) enterence almost exclusively.

    I just did a quick hive inspection of the second super and, to my surprise, after 4 1/2 weeks, there are 2 spots on 2 different frames with about a 1 inch area of JUST started comb. If there was 20 bees in the second floor I'd be surprised.

    Is this normal? Shouldn't there be more drawn out than this by now? At least, shouldn't there be more bees up there looking around or getting it ready? I didn't pull any frames from the 1st super this time, but from looking down, what I could see, the bottom super is pretty maxed out.

    Is this a problem? Are my bees afraid to use my second floor? It it the first week of July; at this pace, will they produce enough for winter storage from themselves?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Bob

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Post

    I'd checkerboard the supers. Put every other frame in each box one of the drawn ones and every other frame foundation. That will bait them up.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Jay, Maine
    Posts
    275

    Post

    So, are you saying take several fully drawn out and packed frames from the bottom (1st) supper and replace them with the new, empty frames from the second super. Then put the drawn, packed out ones from downstairs upstairs?

    I just want to make sure I have that right....

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
    Posts
    2,068

    Post

    You could also put the undrawn super just above the brood nest (bottom supering) and the full one above it. I had good success with that this year. Although it was a pain (literally) to have to lift off 3 full supers to put an empty on the bottom. Once I have plenty of drawn comb I won't worry about bottom supering.

    Dan
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Post

    >So, are you saying take several fully drawn out and packed frames from the bottom (1st) supper and replace them with the new, empty frames from the second super. Then put the drawn, packed out ones from downstairs upstairs?

    Exactly.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    summit park ut
    Posts
    10

    Post

    The one thing to watch out for when checkerboarding is placing uncapped honey next to foundation. They will often extend the uncapped frame well into the area of the foundation. Sometimes not working at all on the foundation. If it's warm enough, I like to move up a couple brood frames to entice them.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Post

    >The one thing to watch out for when checkerboarding is placing uncapped honey next to foundation. They will often extend the uncapped frame well into the area of the foundation.

    Yes they will. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    North Georgia mountains
    Posts
    923

    Post

    I'd pull the full one and just leave the other.

    BubbaBob

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Cooperstown,N.Y.
    Posts
    474

    Post

    Hey Bob,
    I was wondering,when you say "upstairs super" and "downstairs super" are you talking about the brood chamber(downstairs) and food chamber(upstairs)as oposed to a honey super(s).
    It sounds like that,if so,I would let the bees arrange the two lowest boxes(what most folks call the hive bodies)the way they want,short of cross combs etc.,IMHO.
    Richard Taylor said,if a problem arises and you don't know what to do,then do nothing.Things are seldom made worse by your doing nothing at all;whereas things MAY be made vastly worse by misguided meddling.
    Good Luck,remember,HAVE FUN! [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Mark

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Jay, Maine
    Posts
    275

    Post

    Yes, I'm talking about the "hive body." Brand new package this year. 1st Super (Hive Body) is totally drawn and filled out. I added the second (NOT a honey super) super (or hive body)4 1/2 weeks ago when the 1st body was about 85% drawn out.

    now, the bees are all grouping and gathering in the 1st hive body or cutting through the second body to exit or enter through the enterence in the inside cover. However, none are hanging around or drawing out the 2nd body. A couple very small spots like they started and quit. That's it.

    So, I'm going to try taking a couple random frames (does it matter if it's brood???) from the bottom body and insert them into the second body and replace the 2 full frames I pull from the 1st body with empty frames from the second body. I am hoping this will get them started on the second hive body while, at the same time, drawing out and filling the two empty frames I put in the 1st body. THEN, maybe I can get the 2nd body filled out so I can add my 1st honey super.

    This is confusing....

    Comments? Ideas? Suggestions?

    Thanks!

    Bob

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Lincolnton Ga. USA.
    Posts
    1,725

    Post

    I would checkerboard them, they will draw it out fast, keep feeding if you are feeding,

    checkerboarding =
    drawn frame
    foundation
    drawn frame
    foundation
    ect.

    you get the idea? both hive bodies will look like that, I had to do 1 of my packages that way this year and they did fine.
    Ted

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,525

    Post

    Are you feeding. could be a nectar dearth. Check the feed. Did it go bad? Plenty of warm days between now and winter. Watch em. But don't panic. It'll work out.

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Milton, Vermont
    Posts
    307

    Post

    If you started with a package they just are not strong enough to need the extra room yet. keep feeding them and they will move up when they need to. I live in Vermont and if you put packages on foundation up in this cold country you will not get any surplus honey the first year. If you feed them now they will probably draw out and fill that second hive body during the goldenrod flow if the weather is good.
    It is what it is.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    307

    Post

    As usual, ask 10 beekeepers, get 12 answers.

    I think the two most important items (both of them mentioned above) are

    (1) Need a nectar flow to get foundation drawn. Feeding is the best way to stimulate drawing comb. You should have been feeding your new package; if they're still taking it then keep feeding. My colonies that are in the same situation as yours (packages drawing foundation) stopped taking syrup when the nectar flow started, but they've been drawing foundation fine. I just added honey supers on top of two deeps, drawn from foundation this season.

    (2) You need to bait the bees up into the second super. Personally I just take one frame from the bottom one and put it in the top one. Others take two, or use the checkerboard technique. All of them work, but if you just sit the new super on top of the old one, it will take the bees longer to move into it.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Jay, Maine
    Posts
    275

    Post

    Thanks for all the help (I need it! LOL!).

    Yes, I'm still feeding. Just before I added the second hive body they totally stopped taking it. However, I didn't remove it. After I added the second hive body, a few days later they started taking it like crazy again! Now they are averaging 1 full feeder bottle (Boardman Feeder) a day again.

    I think I may try either the checkerboard or a portion thereof. I mean, I'll either checkerboard it, or just bring 2 or 3 frames up from downstairs. See how it goes.

    By the name, I'm in Southeast New Hampshire if anyone is wondering. In case that makes a difference in your replies.

    Thanks to all!

    Bob

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Wyoming MN
    Posts
    406

    Post

    If you are still working on two brood boxes, I would hesitate to checkerboard too much. Just grab a frame or two with brood, and bring them up to the middle of the second box. They are still working on raising new bees, and if you spread it out too much it will slow them down.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Post

    I agree with ChellesBees. I'd just do a couple of frames up to the next box. That way you give the queen some room, bait them and don't spread them too thin. But then these kinds of manipulations are best done when you know there are plenty of bees to handle the extra area they now have to maintain.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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