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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Douglassville, PA, USA
    Posts
    5

    Post

    Last year I installed a new package on 4.9mm foundation (2 inch strips). The hive now has two deep supers. I've read on this site that I should take another super and put 2 inch strips in frames and replace the bottom super. Should I be replacing both supers or just the one?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Post

    It's not so simple as just replacing or not replacing. You're trying to get the brood nest to be 4.9mm. If you started with a new package it's most likely bees from large cells so they probably drew it to somewhere between 5.1mm and 5.15mm. Now you have a brood nest of probably that size, you want the bees to build and the queen to lay in smaller cells. If you replace any empty frames with a starter strip or full sheet of 4.9mm (Since you've done the first regression, I'd use the full sheets), then the smaller bees that were raised on the 5.1mm first regression should draw it small still.

    Also this depends on if there is brood in the combs and what time of year it is and where the queen is. You don't want to be putting empty combs in a brood chamber this time of year anywhere where the bees are clustered because of the cold or anywhere where you would expect them to be this time of year. You only want to add empty frames during a nectar flow. Otherwise you will deprive them of cluster space, food and disrupt their hive in a stressful time, and they have nothing with which to rebuild things the way they need them.

    Also if you remove frames from the brood chamber and put them above the queen excluder you need to be sure the queen isn't on them.

    Let's assume, however, that it is spring, there is a nectar flow, or one is expected soon and you are feeding. You could do this several ways.

    Method 1. Shake down.
    Basically this involves making the bees homeless. You brush all the bees into hive bodies with new 4.9mm foundation and put any brood in another hive. Put a queen excluder on the bottom so the queen can't abscond. Very stressful on bees and beekeepers but also pretty sucessful at quickly getting more regression.

    Method 2. Replace any empty frames with new 4.9mm foundation and pull some of the honey laden frames with no brood out and replace them also. stagger the empty frames between the drawn ones. This will take several times of rearranging the brood nest to get them all swapped out. You probably should mark the first regression and second regression frames so you can tell which is which. If you keep moving the first regression frames to the outside and putting empty 4.9mm frames in the middle you will eventually swap out all of the first regression. Then you can start marking the as 3rd regression. I'm guessing they will be fully regressed, so you could measure the cells to make sure and mark them as something more final like RF for Regression Final or 4.9mm for the cell size.

    Meanwhile, until you are fully regressed, I would keep an eye on mite populations. Measure mite drop, or open some drone brood and look for mites. If you have a lot of mites, you may need to do something in the interim to keep them alive. FGMO, essential oils or Apistan if that's your preference. I'd get a fogger and do the FGMO in the interim.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Douglassville, PA, USA
    Posts
    5

    Post

    I will be doing the modification in the spring. I just want to be prepared (knowledge, equipment, etc.)

    I have read that the bees will tend to build comb the same size as they have previously. Using method two, I would think the regression would be slower than method one. However, I think the stress on the hive would be lower using method two. Any comments?

    If I use method two and depending on how well the honey flow is, how many frames in two supers should I try to replace?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Post

    I think I would look for frames that are empty of brood or have honey stored in them (don't take all of the honey, though) and remove them from the brood chamber, after carefully looking for the queen. I don't think it's so much a matter of how many as it depends on how many don't have brood in them. If you're lucky and you catch them early in the spring when there's not much brood yet you might get to swap quite a few, later it would be harder to find empty frames. Early in the spring there are often frames that are just empty of everything. You could take all or most of these out. I would try to have every other frame or so be already drawn out so they have something they can cluster on.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    I have read that the bees will tend to build comb the same size as they have previously. Using method two, I would think the regression would be slower than method one. However, I think the stress on the hive would be lower using method two. Any comments?

    reply:

    On the first regression it is best to do a shakedown which in essence is similar to a package to remove the cell pattern from them. The bees attempt to size to the new pattern given them although they physically can't achieve it the first round. You have done this and probably have the cell sizing Micheal mentions, but you should measure. Keep the ruler handy as you will need it. Why guess? Measure and be sure. Now if your bees come through winter strong you can go for a second shakedown ( but can go progressive). Now on this shakedown should this be your choice you should probably use full sheets of foundation that are wired to minimize drone comb so you don't have to cull combs that could have been excellent. Remember you want no more than 10% per frame, using strips can get quite a bit of drone. Not to mention the build up of the bees will be significantly faster too. Now if the bees are medium to weak through winter its best to go progressively adding frames to the center. In the spring I'd shake the bees into a single box leaving the smallest cell combs there and any brood given to others (this can be divided to do half the colonies, then the other half later). Then slowly add new foundation to the center every other frame fashion (not too many). When drawn measure, and place in the center all together. Then add more and repeat the cycle but measure EVERY time. Usually soon as the major flow hits you are done drawing 4.9 in volume and you need to make sure that the combs added last "ARE 4.9". If they aren't move them out of the broodnest. Watch what the timing is for when the bees decide to draw honey cells instead of 4.9 cells? Note what is blooming and the weather and season. You keep prymiding up the best to the center and the worst up into the super and to the outsides, but do NOT leave non 4.9 combs in the central core if it can be helped. Just work with the bees and follow along what they do till you get a good feel what is happening, do this by measuring the combs no guessing allowed. It is dificult to distingush 5.0 cells from 4.9 cells especially after you start getting cell blind after doing it for hours.

    If I use method two and depending on how well the honey flow is, how many frames in two supers should I try to replace?

    reply:

    NO!!!!!!!!!! Not on a flow. On the spring build up will give the best results. Some colonies never draw 4.9 on the major flow. Better to make honey on the flow don't over due the broodnest with larger cell combs. At that time jockey the combs into the best positions and try to get the culls to be plugged in the supers with honey. Extract them. Then process the wax and redo the frame with foundation and put back into action when needed.


    Clay


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397

    Post

    Hi all

    For more information and basics go to http://www.beesource.com/pov/lusby/ and read appropriate chapters

    You can also pull up "Show all Topics" and read some of the original postings and topics here. You will find topics with Sewell, Huestis, Birkey, Allen Dick discussing regression etc fascinating information to read.

    Sincerly.

    Dee A. Lusby

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