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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    GREENWOOD S.C.
    Posts
    10

    Default beginner-needs help

    i bought my first 2 packages of bee's(italians) last year and as far as i know everything went ok. the 1st package is about a month older than the second. a couple of months after i had them the second hive seemed to have caught up with if not passed the progress level of the 1st. well i added a 2nd hive body to both. the 1st never went up while the 2nd moved right up and went to building. before winter set in i removed the 2nd body that i put on the 1st hive and winterized it. i just left the 2nd body on hive 2 and winterized. i went into my hives just the other day and found the 1st to look o.k. as far as i know(still had some stores and plenty of bee's). the 2nd hive is where my question is. the 2nd hive body i applied is 8 frames full of honey. what should i do and how soon?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    248

    Default

    Assuming there is a decent bee population left in the second hive (you didn't say) it does not sound like you have a problem at all. Everyone made it through your SC winter, such as it is, and is ready for your spring which I imagine will be bursting forth momentarily if it has not already.

    I am pretty new too but I would just be making sure there is open comb in the bottom deep for brood and make sure the bees always have some space (drawn comb or foundation) above so that they do not swarm on you.

    If hive #1 needs food before the natural sources are providing it you could move a frame from hive #2 or start feeding light syrup. I would probably go with syrup so that you can continue to see how each colony does for itself. I am interested in what more experienced beeks would do.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    GREENWOOD S.C.
    Posts
    10

    Default

    first off thank you very much for your reply. there where plenty of bee's in the 2nd body that was almost full of honey. i did not go into the bottom body. and yes we are just now beginning to see blooms on some things such as wild plum and bradford pears. i did also notice about 2 weeks ago that they (both hives) were bringing in some kind of pollen. do you think i should try to extract some of this honey or maybe go ahead and add shallow super? thank you for your input

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,660

    Default

    You might consider doing this...

    In hive #2, remove 1/2 the frames of honey and replace with frames of foundatio.

    The frames of honey you removed, put in a new box, adding frames of foundation to fill the box. Put this box on top of hive #1.

    This will give room above on hive #2 to reduce swarming tendencies while still leaving pleanty of stores for spring brood rearing.

    This will also give more stores to hive #1 for spring rearing.

    This will give both hives room to expand upwards.

    Best of luck to you
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

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

    Default

    first if you had and future plans of expansion (say you wished to add one more hive) I would set a couple of fat frames of feed aside for this...

    you did say...
    i did not go into the bottom body

    tecumseh:
    at this time of year it is a real mistake to not at least obtain some information as to what is happening in the bottom box. about half the time the cluster has moved into the top box and the bottom box 'can be' almost empty of brood or honey (there typically will be a bit of pollen stores left here). at this point the 'old school' in me instructs me to move the brood center downward (ie reverse the boxes). you need not totally disassemble the bottom box to obtain the essential information... usually lifting one or two frames from the center of the bottom box will tell you if the cluster (brood rearing) has moved upward.

    another possible suggestion...If you do have a full box of honey (deeps I assume) I would use these to 'remodel' my two hives and at the same time organize the brood cluster into the bottom of the box. in the bottom box use two full frames of honey and place the outer two positions of the bottom box. fill in between these with brood... keep the brood in the central position as much as possible and if not enough brood (in either box) add empties to the outside of the central brood mass. quite frequently I will encounter full frames of pollen at the outside edge of the brood nest. first look to make certain there are no eggs or larvae on these and then move these to the next to outside position and up against the full frames of honey. these full frames of pollen can act as a wall to the brood nest expansion horizontally (ie the girls use pollen up fairly slowly and unlike nectar seem disincline to move it).

    if you still have full frames of honey left (after doing the above to both hives) remodel the top box in a somewhat checkboarded pattern. it is not so important to have every other frame full of honey as much as it is to have one or two empty frames just above the lower brood nest. no honey cap means the girls can expand in this direction if they so desire.. it also means the unit is less likely to swarm at an early date (which they will do with a solid honey plug). in the old day we would have called the above manipulation 'opening up the brood nest'.

    hope that helps... and good luck.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    GREENWOOD S.C.
    Posts
    10

    Default

    thank you all. this sounds to me like a very good idea to help my first hive to move up. i mis-stated the part on hive 1 where i removed top hive body and winterized. i just took that 2nd body off about a week ago. i think i'll put it back on with some of the honey frames from hive 2. this should give hive 1 food for spring and also get them to start moving up. it should also give hive 2 some room in their 2nd body. like tecuseh said i was worried about the fact #2 may be honey plugged. boy this worked out just as it should. take two great idea's and combine them. thanks again to all.

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