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  1. #1

    Default Brood chamber too high?

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    I am a fairly new beekeeper living in NC. I obtained my first hive very late last summer and this is my first year going through spring buildup and swarming. I have three hives right now and my big hive (the original one) swarmed at some point in late May or early June. I had split it right before the swarm and was left with two queenless colonies. The smaller colony showed signs of a queen very quickly, but the larger colony was queenless for at least two weeks (could have easily been over three weeks). Just as we were about to give up, I noticed unusual activity and we decided to do a full inspection this morning. Starting from the landing board, the bottom two supers (what I thought was the brood box) were empty. They held maybe one frame of uncapped honey in each. The third super had some pollen and uncapped honey and still had many frames with undrawn foundation. The fourth super was the surprise. Out of the eight frames, 5 had brood and several of those were packed. The fifth super had 4-5 frames of capped honey.

    My question: I'm leaning toward shifting the brood box to the bottom, putting a super above it to allow the queen to move up if she runs out of space, adding the capped honey, and then adding one additional super to allow more room for honey. This would reduce the hive from 5 supers to 4. Is this the appropriate course of action, or do I leave the set up as it is?

    Pictures and details are available at my blog: http://juliasbees.wordpress.com/

    Thanks in advance for the advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,236

    Default Re: Brood chamber too high?

    I wound up with a hive like this and just decided to leave em alone. The bees will eventually put honey on top and move the brood area down. If you leave the honey on the hive until the top two or three boxes are fully capped, then you can remove them, put an excluder on, and put new supers on top of that.

    Otherwise you are just chasing the queen around and being disruptive to the hive. But it is your hive.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Arcata, California, USA
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Brood chamber too high?

    I would probably do just as you're suggesting.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Havelock,NC,USA
    Posts
    59

    Default Re: Brood chamber too high?

    Did you rotate your brood chambers this spring?

    Check out "The bee keepers handbook" its an excellent read and shows you how to rotate brood boxes in the early spring to shift the most available space up and the full frames down. Basically the top box becomes the bottom and the bottom the top..

    I'd do what you are suggesting, give them the most open space above.

  5. #5

    Smile Re: Brood chamber too high?

    I did flip the brood chambers early this spring, and added supers as they were filling them, but while I was out of the country, the hive swarmed. The boxes were empty and a large portion of the honey was gone. I thought I was completely queenless until finding their new brood chamber this past weekend.

    I will shift the boxes this weekend. Thanks for the replies.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Havelock,NC,USA
    Posts
    59

    Default Re: Brood chamber too high?

    consider also condensing the number of supers you have on. if your hive swarmed, you are down in numbers and having too much area to cover can lead to Moths, beetles taking over.

    I just suffered a similar fate recently. too much room, not enough bees spells disaster.

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