I know all of the bee books refer to how the bees (and queen) like to
work UP and that we should rotate brood chambers to give the bees
more room above. But, in an unmanaged hive (e.g. a feral colony) I
doubt the colony works its way to the top over winter and never works
back down. Isn't the NATURAL annual movement of a colony UP during
the winter as they consume their stores and then DOWN during spring
and summer as they fill the comb above with honey? My limited
observations have been that bees WILL work down (especially with a
slatted rack?). I left one of my 3 brood chambered hives alone last
season (instead of rotating boxes) and they utilized the lower boxes
Have you ever had a 10 frame colony that you decided needed more
room? ....so you place a second box on TOP and it takes forever for the
bees to move into it. Next year I'm going to experiment by placing some
of those boxes on the BOTTOM and see if they prefer working down.
My 10 frame hive needed a second box and I just stuck it on top. Not only did the bees NOT go up and use it, they swarmed and left me with a cranky base hive to boot!
I will most definitely be sticking new boxes UNDER the top boxes this year.
I put my 2nd box on top the bees moved in right away, in fact, they had drawn out 8 frames before the winter. About a month.
I'm with Beth on this one. I had the same darn thing happen last summer. Empty box on top, and half the hive in a cedar tree 20 feet away! That hive is a bunch of numbskulls anyway.
In one of my reference books is commentary about rotating frames of brood between supers if the bees aren't working all the supers. I haven't tried this -- yet. Anyone have comments/experiences on that idea?
Rotating frames of brood between hives is an interesting idea. I'd like to hear from anyone who has tried this.
BTW, glad to hear I'm not the only one with ditzy bees LOL.
Beth in wet and cold Washington state
Hi Beth and all,
I'll let you guys in on a few tricks to get the bees into second brood chambers. Take two frames of brood and pull them up into the second hive body dead center. Bring the two frames of foundation down placing each one between frames of brood towards the center. Feed, feed. As the bees draw out combs from foundation keep adding foundation between brood combs one or two at a time. Repeat.