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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    6

    Default Advice needed please

    Good morning all, heres a little background on my situation.

    Last year was my first year keeping bees, we are part of a co-op garden on an acreage that our really good friends own. We started out last year with one hive and given the weather last year(central Iowa) it was really cold(high of around 60's) until June and then very wet the rest of the summer, that hive didnt do all that well. We did not think it was going to make it through the winter, especially since during a warm day someone decided to check in on the bees and were scared off and left the top off. It then rained, snowed, and whatever else until a nice 70 degree day in January. To ALL of our surprise the bees made it and were buzzing about doing their thing. Over the winter months, due to the ending state of the hive and winter issues, the acreage owner decided to purchase two new hives for this year. So now we have three and the hive from last year is doing EXCELLENT. Population has been exploding like crazy and they are well on their way to filling a super and capping. About a month ago though, I thought to help the hive by adding a new hive body with ten frames, but I screwed up. I put the new hive on top of the existing brood box. After reading some forums(should have did that first) I read how the queen will not travel above the "honey crown" to lay new brood. So my question, is, do we harvest the honey in the tall box that I put in for brood, empty the frames, and then place back in underneath the current brood box so they can clean the honey up and then will she start using that for brood?

    The other two hives are coming along, but not very fast. They will get there and we know that we will not probably get honey from the two new hives. How do you guys gauge when to add brood boxes and honey supers?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,947

    Default Re: Advice needed please

    Congrats on making it through the winter with bees! Lots of folks don't so you did well.

    First some questions: Did you over winter the bees in a single hive body? Was it a deep? Is the new hive body you put on also a deep?

    If the answer to all of the above is "yes" you can relax - you have not done anything that the bees can't handle. The queen will move just fine between deep brood chambers to lay in. And that is how it has been traditionally done - two deep brood chambers.

    Where you strayed from conventional practice was adding a honey super prior to a second brood chamber. Most would suggest that you not add a honey super before 80% of the frames in both brood chambers are drawn out and in use.

    However as you have found out, bees often do things differently than you read in books or on the internet. I imagine you have heard of queen excluders. They are intended to keep the queen in the brood nest and out of the honey super. In many areas they are used because the honey crown/barrier doesn't keep the queen confined to the brood chamber.

    So don't worry about what you've done. I presume the bees will get it all figured out in due course.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Advice needed please

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Dewey View Post
    Congrats on making it through the winter with bees! Lots of folks don't so you did well.

    First some questions: Did you over winter the bees in a single hive body? Was it a deep? Is the new hive body you put on also a deep?

    If the answer to all of the above is "yes" you can relax - you have not done anything that the bees can't handle. The queen will move just fine between deep brood chambers to lay in. And that is how it has been traditionally done - two deep brood chambers.

    Where you strayed from conventional practice was adding a honey super prior to a second brood chamber. Most would suggest that you not add a honey super before 80% of the frames in both brood chambers are drawn out and in use.

    However as you have found out, bees often do things differently than you read in books or on the internet. I imagine you have heard of queen excluders. They are intended to keep the queen in the brood nest and out of the honey super. In many areas they are used because the honey crown/barrier doesn't keep the queen confined to the brood chamber.

    So don't worry about what you've done. I presume the bees will get it all figured out in due course.
    Andrew-
    Thanks for the reply, yes this hive was wintered with a single brood box, queen excluder, and honey super. The brood boxes are both deeps (original and new one added a month ago). Currently, speaking from bottom of hive to top, I have original brood box(deep), new brood box(deep, but as of last inspection of two weeks ago no egg laying, only honey), queen excluder, medium honey super, spacer(for top feeding), vent top board, then roof cap. I do have ramp entrance and screen bottom board at the bottom of all of this and the hives all sit on wooden pallets out in a wild grass/clover field. The two new hives added this spring are the same configuration except they only have a single brood box(deep) as of right now. I also placed the honey supers on those as well. They are starting to draw comb out as of last week on the honey supers.

    I peeked in to the original hive just this past Sunday and it kind of spooked me out a bit, because the population of bees in this original hive is out of control. Its not like some of the pictures you see where its like a bee beard all over the hive when opened ... but its getting close.

    Thanks again

    Chad

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Advice needed please

    Hey Andrew? How do you know when to stop feeding the bees syrup? I put a gallon zip lock bag in the original hive last Friday and it was almost empty on Sunday.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,947

    Default Re: Advice needed please

    If you have a honey super on the hive you should not be feeding. I generally stop feeding when the 2nd brood box is drawn out. If the new hives haven't built out two brood boxes yet, I would take the honey supers off. Maybe a local to you beekeeper can comment on the one deep and 1 honey super for wintering - where I am in Maine it wouldn't leave enough for the bees but I just don't know what will work best in your area.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    386

    Default Re: Advice needed please

    [QUOTE=GruvyDude;801598]Andrew-
    Thanks for the reply, yes this hive was wintered with a single brood box, queen excluder, and honey super. I hope you didn't overwinter with the queen excluder on, and if you did you were really lucky, and the bees probably did not each much of the honey in the super, and stayed in the brood box. With the excluder on in the winter, the queen will be left behind under the excluder while the cluster moves up into the super. How long was the lid off of this hive?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Advice needed please

    [QUOTE=fieldsofnaturalhoney;801646]
    Quote Originally Posted by GruvyDude View Post
    Andrew-
    Thanks for the reply, yes this hive was wintered with a single brood box, queen excluder, and honey super. I hope you didn't overwinter with the queen excluder on, and if you did you were really lucky, and the bees probably did not each much of the honey in the super, and stayed in the brood box. With the excluder on in the winter, the queen will be left behind under the excluder while the cluster moves up into the super. How long was the lid off of this hive?
    There was no honey in the super last year, but I left it on(not knowing what I was doing). The top lid of the hive was off for at least a month and it rained and snowed during that time. I think it was divine intervention that got our bees to survive. The only honey they would have had was in the brood frames at the top (honey crown?). This hive that made it through the winter, is crazy strong right now, Im VERY impressed with the girls.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hastings Nebraska
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: Advice needed please

    100_0519.jpgAs a new beekeeper here, I am just wondering if everything looks normal here. I just installed the package 8 days ago and it was a brand new hive. There are eggs and older larva in the cells. Just looking for some advice or opinion from an experianced beekeeper as this is my first year.

    Thank You. -Ryan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Bon Aqua, Tn USA
    Posts
    330

    Default Re: Advice needed please

    GruvyDude I would not worry about them putting brood only in the bottom deep. Mine are doing the same thing and I have 3 mediums above almost full of honey and I only put the package in on Mar 22 of this year and it is loaded with bees. Remember that on 1 deep foundation there are about 3300 cells on each side=6600 per frame. Of course they will have pollen and nectar in some of those. But 10 frames could conservatively produce say 2000 per side X2= 4000 worker bees x say just 6 frames would be 24000 workers every 21 days. Some would be dying but as you are seeing there will be a great number of bees with only one deep of brood. If you had 2 deeps of brood producing bees like that, WOW. Build more supers or extract those supers and put them back on. What will you do with all that honey if you did have 2 full deeps of brood? Of course you know it might not work out like this, but at least we can hope so.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Advice needed please

    Well as an update, I just last week received my full suit from juwadis. If anyone is thinking of ordering the suit, go a size bigger than what you think. I ordered an XL (I am 6'0" and weigh in around 210 give or take 5-10 lbs depending on the time of year). Also, they threw in a pair of gloves, bee brush, and hive scraping tool. I wish I knew it was coming with gloves, I wouldnt have ordered an extra pair. Anyways, I sure am glad I had the full suit ... yesterday I opened up all three hives in pursuit of finding queen mum. About two weeks ago I think it was, our original hive (of the three) the queen was missing and there was a drone population explosion at the time. I killed probably 20-30 drones at the time, and noticed there were two queen cells on one of the frames. Well suiting up yesterday I thoroughly inspected each hive and things are looking VERY well. The new hives are coming along and the original hive has a new queen. I will say this though, the girls she is rearing are a little cantankerous. I found at least ten stingers on my right glove when taking the gear off. Soooo glad I had the protection ... yesterday would have sucked if I did things the old way(veil and gloves only). Its so nice to move about without fear of getting stung. ya i was drenched in sweat wearing the full get-up, but its worth the $75 to not get stung. All that too say, the top brood box has one frame with some eggs, but otherwise, the girls are storing up honey and its about 1/4 capped on all of the other frames. Cant wait to harvest some honey this summer/fall. WOOT!

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