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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Woolstock, Iowa
    Posts
    54

    Default frames and new bees

    One of my hives got wet and froze off this winter. My second hive started bringing in pollen yesterday. I have lots of frames with honey and pollen stores and a few empty frames. I also have new undrawn frames with foundation in them also. I will be getting two packages next month and was wondering if I should put some undrawn frames in the center and have the honey frames and pollen/bee bread frames on both sides, or stagger the few empty frames with undrawn one in the center. I was thinking I could use one deep each from the dead hive for the starter box for the two packages I'm getting. I have four new deeps with foundation in them. Before I discovered one hive died, I had planned on splitting both hives to get four total. This is my first over winter so I want to know the best way to place my frames so the bees do well.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    2,730

    Default Re: frames and new bees

    You may still end up the summer with four colonies, as the over-wintered one might need splitting as part of your anti-swarm manipulations.

    Instead of just giving the whole boxes of resources to the new bees, from the start, I would give them some of the frames, keep some for the split, reserve some to have a small store of resources on hand for unexpected uses (an emergency, a captured swarm, etc.), and keep some to prime the second box for the new bees.

    If you are confident that the dead bees succumbed to cold and wetness, there is no problem passing their resources on to the new bees. Some of the pollen and bee bread may be unusable, perhaps even moldy, but the new bees will clean that up quickly.

    But surely there are also empty, but drawn frames, as well?

    I would take two, or perhaps three, of these and put them in the center of the box intended for each new colony. Then I would add a frame of pollen on one side and bracket this cluster with a frame of honey on each side. (The honey is both for immediate stores and for thermal mass around the first early brood. The bees will use it up or move it and these frames will be useful in short order for the expanding brood nest. If possible choose honey frames that were once worker-sized cells but just filled with honey as winter storage, rather than larger honey storage cells.) Then fill the remainder of the box with new, undrawn frames for the bees to fill on their own. I find giving an immediately usuable center section, along with the stores gets the bees off to a roaring start.

    The one thing I have never had good luck with, though I often see it referenced, is alternating drawn and undrawn frames. Perhaps my bees are peculiar but they seem to see this as a prompt to make the already-drawn frames thicker, and leave the undrawn ones alone or perhaps just drawn in uneven lumps.

    There are probably other configurations that will work, but that is what I would do. But I wouldn't pass up the chance to get new, eager, bees in their establishment year to draw out more comb. Extra drawn comb, with or without stores, is a ready improvement for all kinds of beekeeping issues; it is beekeepers' gold. BTW, I find adding a coating of extra wax to new plastic foundation makes the bees really go to town on them.

    What plans do you have to avoid the cold and wet issues next winter?

    Enj.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    3,918

    Default Re: frames and new bees

    To get the new package to draw comb there must be a flow on or you must feed. I would simply divide the stores up in 10 frame boxes making sure there is plenty of room for the queen to lay in the center. It will take no time at all for the box to get crowded. place another box on top when it does. The bees will draw the new box very rapidly because they need the space.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Western new york
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: frames and new bees

    I would put the undrawn frames toward the outside. If they don't draw it after a few batches of brood emerge you can put it in the center the other bees tend to make honey storage cells longer on the old frames. A solid wall to wall capped brood frame on both sides of the foundation is best to get them to draw it straight. At least that's what my bees have taught me

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