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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Seattle, Wa, United States
    Posts
    14

    Default Rearranging frames

    1st year.
    I have a new hive from a package installed on 4/29 (5.5 weeks ago), queen released on 5/2 (5 weeks ago), on 5/13 there were 5 frames drawn, lots of nectar, 1 frame with capped brood.
    Today, some sun after 2 days of straight rain, there is a lot of activity in front of the hive. Orientation flights of the first generation of new foragers leaving the hive for the first time, I am guessing, pretty much on schedule.
    And I am assuming the colony is now in it explosive growth phase.
    I have another hive from a nuc, that already swarmed 3 times. I think the reason, or at least contributing factor for them to swarm was, that even though there were empty frames, there was not much empty brood comb, most of it either occupied, or filled with nectar. (I had not supered yet)

    I want to avoid that happening with this hive too.
    So, 3 days ago the hive looked like this, 2 deep (H=honey/Nectar, B=brood, E=basically empty foundation)

    E H H H E E E E E E
    H B B B B H H E E E

    (the off center pattern probably due to the entrance reducer that I used for the first 4 weeks having the opening on the left)

    With 7 empty frames in the top hive I decided not to super yet. But again I did not see much open space for eggs to be laid in. Lots of honey and nectar. I stopped feeding on Friday (5 days ago).

    Any suggestion for how to best rearrange the frames to induce them to draw more brood comb?
    I definitely am going to shift the empty frames around to be more centered, but I am thinking in addition some rearrangement might be helpful. But not sure if I should stretch out the existing brood nest horizontally, like so

    H E E E E E E E H H
    H E B B E E B B H H

    or vertically

    H E E E B B E E E H
    H H E E B B E E H H

    Or something else entirely?

    Main idea being, I want to avoid a shortage of open brood comb, let's move the honey out of the way to the sides, and undrawn frames close to existing brood, so maybe the will draw out the empty ones.
    But obviously I am pretty clueless, so give it to me.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Whitemouth, Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Rearranging frames

    When did you add the second deep? Personally, I would have waited until about now to do so, as it looks like you're just getting to a population able to cover brood in two boxes. Also, they have so much room, they haven't felt the need to move up to lay, the foragers are using it for storage, and making the queen feel honey bound.

    If you have a strong population, I would go:

    E H E E B B E E H H
    H H E B B E E E H E

    This opens the brood nest a little, and (in my opinion) encourages the queen to go to the empty frames immediately above and below current brood frames. She will also have room around them, and not be restricted by a honey bound brood nest (as she currently is). After all, you want them to consider both boxes as brood nest right now, and not have them fill it with stores until later.

    Just remember, you started from a package, and the queen can only lay in cells that have been drawn (did you start with new foundation?), and only the amount of brood that can be covered. Your population is dwindling while waiting for the next generation to emerge, and it won't match what a nuc can do in the same time frame, so swarming is less of an issue at the moment.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,541

    Default Re: Rearranging frames

    Not much you can do beside move some brood up into the top box and put foundation under it. If you had drawn comb (and no new beekeeper does) a frame of drawn comb would fix you right up, you could put it right in the center of the brood nest.

    As you now know, you need to observe carefully when feeding a new hive in the spring -- some bees will ignore syrup when there is a strong flow on, and other will cheerfully stuff the brood nest full of syrup while foraging like crazy and swarm instead if you have only bare foundation in the hive.

    I've started watching to see what the bees do. I got two swarms this year, and fed the first one, didn't have a chance to get the feeder on the second one for a couple days (literally -- caught it on Friday evening and hived it on Monday afternoon) and when I looked in they had drawn four frames from foundation and completely filled them with nectar. Absolutely no point in feeding those bees!

    The bees will not draw more comb than they can use for brood, nor will they draw more than they can cover to keep it warm enough in the spring. If they are not foraging enough, you need to feed, but if they are quite busy, feeding can result in shutting the queen down and swarming becaues they won't draw more comb with a small cluster of bees. Once you have emerging brood, they will start to expand the brood nest, draw more comb, and move store out to give them more room. Takes three weeks plus a few days for a package (they need to get some comb drawn before the queen can lay), but a nuc should be expanding immediately. You can still feed them "out of the hive" though, depending on the bees since they cannot or will not build more storage space but will not quit picking up nectar or syrup. It's a judgement call, experience will help you out in the future.

    Good luck -- and catch those swarms if they make them, or do a split.

    Peter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Seattle, Wa, United States
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Rearranging frames

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawksfield View Post
    When did you add the second deep? Personally, I would have waited until about now to do so, as it looks like you're just getting to a population able to cover brood in two boxes.
    2 weeks after installation of the package I believe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawksfield View Post
    E H E E B B E E H H
    H H E B B E E E H E
    I like that one, thanks.

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