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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Atlanta, GA USA
    Posts
    188

    Default How to get the bees down?

    I did my first spring hive inspection in my two hives (my first year), and one of them is doing great. I have a question about the other one: it has 1 super and 2 deeps and was a strong hive going in the winter. The inspection revealed that the bees have moved on the super, and they have pretty much abandonded the two deeps. The super has about 5 frames of capped honey, and some new nectar coming in, and has at least 6 frames of bees. I did not check for brood in the super. The question is this: how can I get the bees off the super and down to the deeps? It's 65 today and temperatures in the 60s this coming week. An early spring maybe? A scary thought: what if this hive is queenless?
    Thanks a lot,
    Stavros

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default

    my money says you will find brood in the super. smoke the bees all down and put the super above a queen excluder. when they hatch it will be backfilled with honey-MOST OF THE TIME. good luck,mike
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Atlanta, GA USA
    Posts
    188

    Default

    If I smoke them now and put a queen excluder, then they'll move down and away from their food stores. Spring is coming but not here yet. Is it a good idea to move them away from their honey now? Or maybe wait for later? What do you advise?
    Thanks a lot,
    Stavros

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Niles, Michigan USA
    Posts
    167

    Default

    You will get many opinions on this, and most of them will disagree with me. Which is cool.

    Let them be (the honeybees, not the dissenters). Honeybees naturally move up during winter following stores and their own heat. Once the season starts, they will backfill the super and move down into the deeps in their own time. The same thing happens in a gum.

    You nailed the risk of smoking them down. They might not be ready, and removing them from their food and heat could be deadly if the weather doesn't cooperate.

    Better yet, "smoke down" one hive and leave the other alone. While two colonies does not a scientific test make, report back on your results so we all can learn. I am doing the same.
    Kevin
    Milton Township, Michigan (near South Bend, Indiana)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    at this point (things could change dramatically in 15 minutes) the signs suggest an early spring here. you need to be alerted that this is the time of year and the kind of season (relatively mild winter) where honeybees can starve very quickly (and right on the cusp of spring). I don't know how many bees you might have in the hive in question, or brood? but if they have good numbers of both, the 5 frames of honey will not last very long. although you seem to believe you have some nectar coming in (I hope you are not confusing pollen coming in on the girl back legs with nectar coming in???) I would advise you to be very cautious about assuming the full extent of the nectar flow (most especially this early in the season).

    back to your stated question and/or problem.... I routinely (I put some effort into doing this 3 times per year) move the brood nest down via rotating the boxes (some folks use to call it reversing the brood nest). at the time of reversing I also clean the bottom boards (as a matter of routine). so if I had two deeps, now essentially empty, and one shallow at the top of the stack (now occupied by bees and brood and some feed) I would set the shallow with the brood on the bottom board and then flip thru the frames of the deeps and remove any with even a hint of honey or pollen and place this just above the shallow and then the remainder on top of this. once spring has progressed a bit and you then have brood in the first deep above the shallow (this need to be substantially filled with brood and bees) you can begin the process of bringing the deeps down to there original position and slowly move the shallow upward. the real caution here in reversing boxes is to NOT seperate any areas of eggs and green larvae with any empty space (this can create problems with chilled brood and or premature queen replacement/swarming).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    282

    Default

    ... and if your equipment is all the same size you wouldn't have to put the honey super back on top you could just leave it on the bottom?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Atlanta, GA USA
    Posts
    188

    Default

    Thanks for your advice. I checked today the super, where the bees seem to be, and I found some brood on frames 5 and 6. So, at least I know the queen is alive. I will move the super all the way down, with the deeps on top. Not sure when to do the move. I'll ask some local beekeepers, too, that know springs in Atlanta. I'll let you know how it goes. It's my first spring, so I have no prior experience.
    Stavros

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