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  1. #1
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    Default Switching from brood to honey storage.

    I'm not sure how to frame this question so please bear with me; I'm trying to figure out when they are going to change from making brood to focus mainly on building honey stores.

    This is a new TBH, 24 days old. Begun with a single package. Because they are starting from bare bars, I'm feeding vast quantities of 1:1 syrup.

    Here's what I'm thinking: The queen had to wait until the workers began building comb, then began laying with the goal of having the maximum amount of foragers available for the height of the nectar flow. I don't know the composition of the package, but certainly there were foragers in there, so they were available to gather some pollen/nectar (if any was available 24 days ago). But the majority of the foragers won't be available until (45-24= 21) 21 days from now. Hopefully we will be able to take advantage of the flow.

    I'm feeding and she's laying. At some point the hive is going to realize the natural flow is going to ease up some time in the future, so they can ease up on making brood. I'm interfering because I'm making 1:1 available. So, what will case the hive to switch emphasis from brood to storage? The vast number of foragers becoming available? - Mike

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Switching from brood to honey storage.

    A colony of bees is a super organism, not unlike you and I. The colony doesn't do one and then the other, it does both and much more at the same time. One can stimulate the other, but they do both at the same time. Like certain parts of your body doing different things all at once. You breath and pump blood, eat and digest, etc.

    I hope that helps. Maybe you are asking something else?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Switching from brood to honey storage.

    Realizing that they will always be some level of bee rearing going on Mike is wanting to know when will the focus shift. I would imagine he wants to know so he can start either adding spacers or wider bars for the "honey" section. I know once I can get some bees again and they start building I will be curious when does that shift change.

    I know later in the season and in winter bees live longer so they do not have to raise as much brood.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Switching from brood to honey storage.

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    A colony of bees is a super organism, not unlike you and I. The colony doesn't do one and then the other, it does both and much more at the same time. One can stimulate the other, but they do both at the same time. Like certain parts of your body doing different things all at once. You breath and pump blood, eat and digest, etc.

    I hope that helps. Maybe you are asking something else?
    This is a good answer, but doesn't quite capture the question. I like the "super organism" reference. Based upon absolutely nothing, I'm assuming there is a "clock" (perhaps the latitude of the sun) which causes various responses from the organism. And nothing will be "all or nothing" but the emphasis will shift to storing nectar/honey and I was wonder if it was that "clock" or some intell they observed from the environment. - Mike

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Switching from brood to honey storage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Baldursson View Post
    Realizing that they will always be some level of bee rearing going on Mike is wanting to know when will the focus shift. I would imagine he wants to know so he can start either adding spacers or wider bars for the "honey" section. I know once I can get some bees again and they start building I will be curious when does that shift change.

    I know later in the season and in winter bees live longer so they do not have to raise as much brood.

    The real reason for the question is because they are at bar 13 of a 30 bar TBH and showing no sign of stopping - Mike

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Switching from brood to honey storage.

    Quote Originally Posted by mhorowit View Post
    This is a good answer, but doesn't quite capture the question. I like the "super organism" reference. Based upon absolutely nothing, I'm assuming there is a "clock" (perhaps the latitude of the sun) which causes various responses from the organism. And nothing will be "all or nothing" but the emphasis will shift to storing nectar/honey and I was wonder if it was that "clock" or some intell they observed from the environment. - Mike
    If I understand things well enough, arbitrairily starting when daylight lengthens, the queen starts laying a few more eggs each day, proiducing a few more adults as time goes by until pollen and nectar start comiung in, which also conincides w/ warmer temperatures allowing foraging for pollen and nectar which stimulates the queen to lay more, using the nectar and pollen to feed the colony and the brood, building up the colony population. Then we get into dandelion/apple blossom season in the East further stimulating brood rearing along w/ honey production. All along the adult population, as well as the brood population is reaching its annual peak on the curve across the year, until sometime during the Summer time the adult population of a colony will reach its peak and the nectar producing flowers are also at their most abundant. As tyhe Summer goes by the nectar producing flowers will deminish, daylight length will shorten, temps will slowly decline, as will brood production/egg laying, until no nectar and no pollen is coming in, which results in the queen laying fewer and fewer eggs.

    Somewhere along in there comb is being produced to make room for the colony to store its stores and make room for brood rearing. Mostly occuring early Summer. Many things are done and get done simultaineously.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Switching from brood to honey storage.

    Quote Originally Posted by mhorowit View Post
    The real reason for the question is because they are at bar 13 of a 30 bar TBH and showing no sign of stopping - Mike
    Which is a cause of concern or simply curiousity? I wouldn't be concerned. I understand the curiousity.

    Michael Palmer likes to say something like, "Bees know how to be better beekeepers than beekeepers know how to keep bees." Or something like that. So, let them bee.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Switching from brood to honey storage.

    I think it has a lot to do with population dynamics in relation to the intensity of the flow. In my location I've had colonies expand the brood nest out to 22 bars before the honey barrier went up. At that point it depends if the flow continues or not whether they can back fill the existing combs and/or build new combs for strictly honey storage beyond the honey barrier.

    The best thing to do is to learn your flow dates and watch what your bees are doing to see where the first full comb of honey starts.

  9. #9
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    Houston, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: Switching from brood to honey storage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Delta Bay View Post
    The best thing to do is to learn your flow dates and watch what your bees are doing to see where the first full comb of honey starts.
    Which is why some say TBH's are too much work. If you only have a 30 bar hive and they are on bar 22 with brood. you have to manage a little better their honey storage. Me personally I would rather be in there a little more often but do less work at a time.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Switching from brood to honey storage.

    Not too much work, the bees do all of it. The first objective is to have a large population at the opening of the main flow.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Switching from brood to honey storage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Baldursson View Post
    Which is why some say TBH's are too much work. If you only have a 30 bar hive and they are on bar 22 with brood. you have to manage a little better their honey storage. Me personally I would rather be in there a little more often but do less work at a time.
    Well, I have a second TBH ready to go, but I was thinking of using that as a nuc to build my own queen; come to think of it, the two hives can be put in-line; I could knock the ventilation screen out of the first hive and run a 1" pipe from one to the other, effectively lengthening the first hive. Thoughts? - Mike

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Switching from brood to honey storage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Baldursson View Post
    you have to manage a little better their honey storage.

    Isn't that your bees' job?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  13. #13
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Switching from brood to honey storage.

    >I'm feeding and she's laying. At some point the hive is going to realize the natural flow is going to ease up some time in the future, so they can ease up on making brood. I'm interfering because I'm making 1:1 available. So, what will case the hive to switch emphasis from brood to storage? The vast number of foragers becoming available?

    It's a complex thing for a colony to make a decision. It is a combination of population, flow, time of year etc. And, as you say, you are interfering by feeding. If you keep feeding, my experience is they will backfill the brood nest and swarm. I would stop when they have some capped stores and there is nectar available.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
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    Mar 2012
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    Weweantic, Massachusetts, USA
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    Default Re: Switching from brood to honey storage.

    Quote Originally Posted by mhorowit View Post
    Well, I have a second TBH ready to go, but I was thinking of using that as a nuc to build my own queen; come to think of it, the two hives can be put in-line; I could knock the ventilation screen out of the first hive and run a 1" pipe from one to the other, effectively lengthening the first hive. Thoughts? - Mike
    Why not simply butt your two hives together end to end if they are of the same types and join them into one? Or just put a super onto the first top bar hive?

    Cheers

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