This is my first winter and my hives are doing well, have lots of bees and honey. Winter is not over here in central North Carolina but it has been very mild. Is there a problem with added a super of new foundation at this time? When should I add this super?
Are the bees bringing in pollen down there? Any dandelions yet? When do you first see them? You should be getting close to reversing time in NC I would think. How are your hives set up singles, doubles , ect?
Howdy David --
Never add foundation unless there is a good
flow on or you feed sugar syrup constantly.
If no income, bees chew holdes in the foundation and damage it.
Adding a super above the brood area, could do severe damage to the colony right now. Remember that we could very well get some more cold weather, perhaps a March storm. Bees have to heat all empty space above them. They are starting to brood up now, and this could draw off the warmth that the brood must have. Chilled brood is not a pleasant thing to see, and it sets a hive back so much that it may do little for the season, by the time it gets all the corpses cleared out.
If you are convinced that the bees are very powerful and must have space, add a box (already drawn comb, only) UNDER the brood chamber, so they won't have to heat it, but the space will be there.
You can add a super on top in mid to late March. If it is still cold, put a sheet of newspaper between the boxes, so they can open it when THEY decide.
Thank you all for your responses. My bees are in double hive bodies. They have been bringing in pollen for several weeks now. As for chilledbrood, I saw that last year when I started my hives and freaked out. I read my Hive and Honey bee and decided that it was chilled brood and then I talked with another beekeeper and he agreed. I like the newspaper idea for mid March. I will try that.
I am always leary of what I am doing so please feel free to correct me. I believe that if I don't make any mistakes, I probably will not learn anything. On the other hand, I don't want to make too many mistakes.
I added a feeder on each hive the week before last. Then last weekend I reversed one of my hives because the lower box had fewer bees in it. The other hive I left as is because the bees were in both boxes.
One of my feeders started to stink real bad so I took both feeders off and dumped the smelly on and let all of the bees drink from the clean smelling one in the yard. A couple of days later (yesterday) I saw lots of bees covered with dried up sugar water crawling slowly around on the ground so I dumped the other feeder as it was drownding bees.
I brought both feeders in the house and cleaned them good. My plan is to move my bees to another site about 1.5 miles away on Saturday and then put the feeders back on. I am moving them because I live near other neighbors and I want to start some 2 nukes on 4.9mm next week.
I will be getting bees from our local bee supplier and shaking them on to the foundation. If this goes well, I will have enough bees, this summer, for the neighbors with those 2 hives .
I have an observation hive in my living room so I can see what is going on with the bees. This is extremely helpful for learning what the bees actually do and I recommend it to anyone who is as confused about beekeeping as I am.
Thanks for any responses and I hope I have not bored you with my ramblings.
when you say you have an observation hive in your living room , are they entirely inside your house? do they not come out of the hive?
how does that work?