Ok. Next question to help beginers and lurkers. How does one draw bees up into the next brood chamber? How does one draw bees up from broodchamber to the supers? ( all assuming the use of foundation here).
Is this assuming the presence or absence of an excluder? I don't like them,I always have problems with bees refusing to go through. I've found that the bees will go up of their own accord provided, firstly, there were enough of them, and secondly, they didn't have to squeeze through any obstructions on the way.
In my experience, I really have not had a problem getting the bees to move from one brood chamber to the next one ABOVE it. They will go there when they need to with little or no "urging".
But of course, the excluder is usually the problem. I tried several years without excluders with the old addage that the queen will not cross solid combs of honey. However, I invariable found that the queen ended up in the honey supers and it was a mess to deal with when the time came to harvest the crop.
So we're back to the excluder. There are several things you can do to entice them through it.
1) Bait the first honey super by putting it directly on the upper brood chamber. No excluder. After the bees are working it in ernest, and ENSURING the queen is not in the super, put the excluder underneath this super.
2) Cut out the row or just the ends of the bars closest to the LONG edge of the excluder. The thinking here is that the queen rarely if ever goes there. I've been doing this for some time and she hasn't come up through this wider space I've created by removing said bars yet.
3) Put a frame of honey from the brood chamber into the honey super directly above the upper brood chamber and excluder.
4) Put a frame of capped brood with bees (and of course no queen) into the super directly above the upper brood chamber and excluder.
5) Spray honey super comb or foundation with 1:1 sugar syrup with Honey-B-Healthy added.
Any one or combination of these actions should do the trick.
Bear in mind that the bees willingness to go through an excluder depends on many factors. Strenth of hive, weather, available nectar, whether the honey super has drawn comb or just foundation. If just foundation, let them get some of the comb drawn before putting on the excluder.
I have not tried it but I think there are "center entrance" hive configurations and associated equipemnt available that precludes the need for excluders. I'll let someone else address this.
Hope this helps.
You can reduce the tendency of the queen to move up across solid honey into your supers by making sure you don't have drone comb in your supers. Early in the season the bees want to rear drones and will, in my experience, take the queen to all corners of the hive if there is drone comb there.
Interesting observation. I usually put any drone comb on the ends of the brood boxes. From my experience here in the mid-atlantic states it seems that the bees will first put nectar/pollen there before it gets warm enough for the queen to lay there.
I have accidently put drone comb in a super and I often don't use an excluder. The queen will go all the way to the top to lay the drone. I've also used 7/11 in the supers and the queen seldom lays in them, but sometimes lays some drone.
With the permacomb they do tend to build between the "frames" and that is often larger cells for honey storage which the queen may decide is drone.
Oh, yes. I just remembered another way in the past I have used to get the bees working the supers cum excluder.
In this case, you need a wood bound excluder with an "entrance" or opening on one of the top or bottom short sides of the excluder (i.e. the opening will be on one side or the other of the excluder's bars).
Put the excluder on top the upper brood chamber and below the bottom honey super WITH THE EXCLUDER'S OPENING POSITIONED SUCH THAT THE BARS ARE BELOW THIS EXCLUDER OPENING. Then turn the whole hive around 180 degrees. The bees not finding the lower entrance where it should be will seach that side of the hive for another opening. Finding the new entrance in the excluder, they will be forced to use that one and will have to go down through the excluder to get to the brood chamber. This seems to help get them going through the excluder and working the foundation/comb in the honey supers.
Never had a problem since I started doing this:
All my hive bodies as well as supers have a 5/8-3/4 hole drilled in them.
If I have the hole open on the second brood box and bees are accustomed to using this extra hole, then when I add the next box, plug the old opening with a cork, and open the hole on the new hive/super. Those returning use the new hole and all is well. As I add supers the process is repeated and they always work thier way to the next hole as the summer progresses. They seem to discover the new box and work it alot faster.
I can also plug the holes if they are only using upper entrances. This forces them to visit/travel the bottom hive boxes and reuse the lower brood chambers after the brood is hatched.
A secondary benefit is that this also helps control ventalation, and I can remove corks as needed and reverse for colder weather.
The added holes above the excluder seems to allow bees to work the upper supers without being impeded.
I buy large bags of corks at craft stoes and always have them handy.
You will be surprised at what control you can have over a hive when you can control the entry point of the hive.