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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Arnold, MD USA
    Posts
    48

    Post

    I have a colony that is very populated in two deep brood chambers. I have been reversing since late Feb. About two weeks ago I added a medium super of foundation. A week later they had drawn and began storing in about half of it. I rearranged the existing one and added another one. As of yesterday, they had drawn and were using all but two or three frames in supers above. I then added a deep super, (6-drawn 3-foundation. Our main nectar flow doesn't even start for another 2-3 weeks, and these bees seem very motivated. Ideal situation right?

    I was only able to inspect 5 frames in the upper brood chamber before they had to be closed up. They were getting pretty defensive, and I don't like working with them when they are distressed like that. I noticed 3-4 shallow queen cups on the bottom of some frames. None had eggs or larvae. Does this indicate that they plan on swarming?

    I have three other colonies that seem to be building up normally for this time of year.

    I'm somewhat still a beginner and would like to know if I'm managing these bees properly. If not, what should I be doing to keep them from hanging in a tree.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Bridgewater VT. USA
    Posts
    238

    Post

    Bill
    It sounds as though they are capable of swarming. Do you see any drones flying yet if so I would go ahead and make a split if the queen calls on the bottom of the frames have lavae in them make sure you don't take the queen when you split I would do it into a nuc if you have one. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC, USA
    Posts
    71

    Post

    I have just about the identical situation. I had been reversing, then added a super with no drawn comb 2 weeks ago. I fed them syrup just once to start drawing comb. Yesterday they had drawn comb on all the frames and it probably weighed 20 plus pounds. Yesterday I added 2 more supers with drawn comb from last year. I also found a couple of queen cups on the bottom of a couple of frames. I noticed a lot of drone pupae, both times I opened the hive, but I just chalked it up to normal increase after winter. Now, I'm not sure. I haven't noticed any different behavior, they are busy gathering pollen and I haven't seen drones out flying or even venturing to the door like in mid summer. What's going on? Thanks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,329

    Post

    Cell cups on the bottom make me nervous. I don't care much about them in the middle of the frames.

    Are there larvae in the cell cups? If they are rasing queens it's a lot different than just some cups.

    You could throw some empty combs in the middle of the brood nest to give the queen some room. If they are rasing queens I'd take the old queen and most of the open brood, maybe some capped brood and put it in a nuc and do the "swarm" for them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC, USA
    Posts
    71

    Post

    Michael, there were no larvae in the cups, nor eggs, unless I missed them. I do have a nuc or I guess I could try a split, though I haven't done one before. Would putting on the extra room (the 2 supers) keep them from swarming if that's where they're heading or is that a point of no return? Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,329

    Post

    If there are no eggs in them I wouldn't panic yet. Check back in four or five days and see what's going on.

    I would also pay attention to the bees coming and going and listen to the humm. Do this before you open up evertime and you'll get where you know what they sound like when they are preparing to swarm or they are being robbed etc.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Arnold, MD USA
    Posts
    48

    Post

    >It sounds as though they are capable of swarming. Do you see any drones flying yet if so I would go ahead and make a split if the queen calls on the bottom of the frames have lavae in them

    There are a few drones flying, and there is a lot of drone brood. However, I did not find any eggs or larvae in the queen cup cells that I checked.

    From what MB said, I will not panic. I am actually pretty excited about this hive. I'm curious to see what they can produce if they stay home. If they have decided to swarm, will giving them the extra space keep them in the hive, or is it too late?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Bridgewater VT. USA
    Posts
    238

    Post

    congestion in the brood nest needs to be relieved either by adding foundation or drawn comb in the brood nest if you are using all mediums this is easier as you could just swap out capped brood for empty comb in the brood nest. it sounds as though you have enough bees to accomplish this if you have the equipment. if you have other colonies you could borrow empty comb from them and put capped brood in with the lighter hives. this not only helps with congestion in the strong hive but increases the weaker hives too. watch for eggs and larve in those queen cups once they start it is time to make the swarm happen for them.good luck.keep us posted.

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