I installed 2 packages last year and didn't have any drawn comb for the honey flow this year. As a result I have very little honey stored this year. I installed 4 Nucs about four weeks ago and I am going to put on the second brood box tomorrow. My question is, when the second brood box is drawn out how do I go about drawing out supers for the honey flow next year. Should I put them on top and feed syrup or could I put them in between the two brood boxes?
[This message has been edited by twlankford (edited May 27, 2004).]
Super only after the hive has worked all the frames in the brood chamber. You need to have the brood chamber in shape for winter first off. Second consideration, and always second, goes to the honey collection. Once the brood chambers are fully worked, and there is still honey coming in, add your full super of foundation and leave them until they have filled it all, super and so on. What is in the brood chamber, stays, and what is in the honey supers, is yours,. Dont expect any more or less, take it a year at a time...
I'm new at this too so take this with for what its worth. Lloyd Spear has written several items on BeeL on drawing comb. He seems to know his stuff so check this out http://listserv.albany.edu:8080/cgi-...P=R272&m=33174
Thanks "GalvestonCo" I appreciate the link as I have been struggling with drawing out comb too.
Bottom line is this. The bees will only draw out comb when they need it. When you install a package, the bees will not draw out anything larger than their own cluster. Then as the new bees emerge and the cluster gets larger, they'll increase the amount of comb drawn so the queen can lay more. They don't build any more comb than the size of their cluster at first because any eggs laid outside the cluster will not survive. After the brood nest is well established, and the bees become numerous enough to start collecting surplus honey (meaning they are gather more honey than they are using), then they will start to draw out more comb.
This is why its so easy for bees to get honey bound, they only build what they need when they need it. When they start needing comb for honey, they built it then and there, and it is because of this that the brood chamber gets wrapped in honey at the sides. From nature's point of view, getting honey bound is no big deal, it prevents the hive from getting too big too fast and not being able to support itself. If too many bees are raised and they don't have the honey to support them the hive starves. Then next year after the hive has made it through winter, they have the room for the queen to lay more eggs than the swarm (or package) did the year before which is ok because they get an earlier start and can gather more honey sooner.
You have to understand that the bees evolved for millions of years without a beekeeper managing them, they didn't have a beekeeper feeding them in the early spring, and they didn't have foundation being fed to them. They built comb all on their own.
For an experiment I suggestion you try one or two hives that are foundationless, and then you can see better the pattern of their comb building. You will see that the bees will build only enough comb to support the hanging cluster, and will only be able to see the edges of the combs showing outside the cluster. As the cluster gets bigger so does the comb. Its really neat.
Scot Mc Pherson
Foundationless Small Cell Top Bar Hives