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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    lee county, fl, usa
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    736

    Default 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    beehives.jpg

    I hope I did the picture correctly. It's not very often I get out to my yard early in the morning but today I was there at 6:30 am. I took this picture, and out of the 10 hives each being 2-3 stories, 2 looked like this. The super in this picture has 5 or 6 full frames of honey and foundationless frames that are completely empty. I'd accidently put in a plastic frame which they took as a wall early spring, and about 3 weeks ago I replaced it with foundationless frame. I haven't gone into the 2nd hive that looks like this since mid May and it had plenty of room at that time, plus a peek a few weeks ago.

    Is this normal or do I need to go through the hive and look for swarm cells, maybe try an artifical swarm?

    Also, I have 2 nuks ready for deep box. I have typically moved them to deep, in order of course, and all to one side. Is it better to center the frames with empty on each side, does it matter?
    Thanks
    "Rule Three of beekeeping...Never cease to feel wonder" Laurie R. King--
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,224

    Default Re: 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    Probably just bearding, they do that in hot weather. If the hive is overflowing with bees, you might consider another super just in case, but if they have not filled the one on there, it's not lack of room.

    I would put the nuc in the center of the deep. Bees typically start in the center of a space and build out, although starting on the side won't hurt anything to my knowledge. I think it's better to mimic their natural behavior as much as possible.

    If they are not filling the brood nest with nectar, they aren't going to swarm.

    Peter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,293

    Default Re: 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    That doesn't look like normal bearding to me at 6:30 am, it shouldn't be that hot even in Lee County, Fl. Maybe 2:00 pm when it's really hot. When you say empty frames, do you mean drawn frames that are empty or undrawn foundationless frames?

    I'd go in and have a look.
    Last edited by Charlie B; 06-17-2012 at 11:19 AM.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    736

    Default Re: 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    I will take a look inside tomorrow and have supers with me. The frames were undrawn foundationless. I'd put in the plastic wax coated to act as a guide but it became a wall instead. The other foundationless frames were drawn beautifully but they didn't go beyond the plastic. And you're right Charlie, it was not even in the 80's at 6:30 am. I'll bring a nuk just in case too. Thanks.
    "Rule Three of beekeeping...Never cease to feel wonder" Laurie R. King--
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,293

    Default Re: 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    I'm just thinking out loud but it could be that the queen doesn't have anywhere to lay and since capped honey can trigger swarming, they maybe thinking about it even with all the extra room. Just a thought.

    Let us know what you find.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,595

    Default Re: 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    Put your empty super w frames on the bottom of the stack and they will move inside. The hive will be less crowded on the inside because it will give them more room to hang out under the brood nest where they like to. But if they are already swarmy it won't really solve anything.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,207

    Default Re: 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    Bearding. Put a stick under one corner of the top.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    You might want to move a frame or two of brood up into the top box. If you move two up there, put an empty frame between them, near the center, and the bees will move up and start to draw comb on the empty frames.

    Likewise, the empties you put in the bottom to replace the drawn comb that you moved up are best if put individually between other drawn comb, preferably in the #2 and #9 positions if you're using 10-frames and all frames have drawn comb. Those empties will get drawn, as well, and you can continue to rotate drawn comb up if they are drawn faster in the bottom than the top.

    That is what works for me, anyway. Good luck!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Fort Myers, Florida, USA
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    Hey Bev!

    I've got one hive that ALWAYS looks like this about now, at least when the foragers are in. I've done two splits from it in the last four weeks, and they still beard like crazy. The three next to them, not so dramatic. No queen cells either, still my marked girl.

    Are you running SBB's on those hives? Do they have any other ventilation? Adding some top ventilation has helped mine a bit.
    I started out as an opportunistic beekeeper. Now the bees keep me...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,244

    Default Re: 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    I just returned from there. At 6:30am it was 78 degrees with 85-90% humidity.
    Put more boxes on so that they can spread out the drying. Otherwise they will be backfilling the brood box.

    Fuzzy

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    5,018

    Default Re: 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    Just bearding. You can see action like that day and night in the south.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    736

    Default Re: 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    On both I took out deep frame(s) and replaced with undrawn empty. 2 frames out of one box, replacing at frame 2 and 9. One frame on the other, frame #2 which had more super space than the hive in the picture and I replaced one deep frame there with a frame drawn about 75%. I'm using the pulled frames for the nuk transfers, to give them a honey boost with a little brood on one. Each box had plenty of bees and honey, and it appeared enough room except maybe for queen laying room. I also added a shallow super in the middle of the hive with most bees. All frames but one are empty foundationless. I don't use excluders, I may be misusing the term "super" if that indicates it is only for honey. I just add boxes as needed. If I get to 4, then it's time to at pull and extract because it's too hard for me to lift that high.

    I didn't look for swarm cells. I only pulled those end frames that I replaced. I don't like disturbing the bees that much, and even if ther is I'm probably too late now. I found the queen on frame 2 of the less crowded one, that would have been my chance for an artificial swarm.

    Bec, sounds great on those splits! You have enough yard room?
    "Rule Three of beekeeping...Never cease to feel wonder" Laurie R. King--
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,288

    Default Re: 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    I'll second, ventilation. Prop up one end of the cover to allow the heat to vent out. Doesn't have to be much, just a 1/8" stick. It may be a pressure cooker in there right now and a small gap will allow them to create upward circulation.
    To everything there is a season....

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    736

    Default Re: 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    I will vent them too. I did have shims under the lid on the bigger hives--I think I was not careful to replace them when inspector came through. Shims work well.
    "Rule Three of beekeeping...Never cease to feel wonder" Laurie R. King--
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    2,293

    Default Re: 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    Bevy,

    If you don't want to pull each frame to look for swarm cells you can tilt the box up on the edge of the lip of the bottom box and look underneath. Really fast with minimal disturbance.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Fort Myers, Florida, USA
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    Haha Bev, I'm running out of hive stand for sure but I can make more room! Actually one (that we did a few weeks ago) went to the Club yard, we are going out there tomorrow. I hope they are doing well! The other one is here at the house and is still touch and go.

    I'm almost tempted to go snap a pic of my bearding hive right now...
    I started out as an opportunistic beekeeper. Now the bees keep me...

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Fort Myers, Florida, USA
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    Curiosity got the best of me. 12:50 AM, 76F and 66% humidity. Here is my bearding hive! They have bearded over my registration number, how funny.

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Monkadelic; 06-18-2012 at 11:11 PM. Reason: Accidentally uploaded thumbnail
    I started out as an opportunistic beekeeper. Now the bees keep me...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rogersville, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    Looks like bearding to me... BTW - heat and being cramped are not the only reasons that they beard out onto the front. I have two or three hives that every time a storm approaches they beard. Quite interesting, it is like they want to watch the lightning show coming in... Once the storm hits they are all back inside drinking their coffee.

    I get a lot of washboarding on days like today, at 8:30 pm @ 82 degrees, I had seven or eight hives bearded and washboarding.
    Jeff - like me on facebook
    See my bees @ www.ozarkshoney.com

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Fort Myers, Florida, USA
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: 2 hives look like this, overcrowded?

    Jeff, that's funny. I had a hive last year that washboarded specifically over where I had painted my registration number. They got me in the habit of painting it on the sides from then on!
    I started out as an opportunistic beekeeper. Now the bees keep me...

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