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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Henry, Virginia
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    93

    Default Really need the 'right' answers after neighbor beekeeper checked over my bees today?

    Ok. So, a quick recap. I started my bees on 4/31 of this year. I have been feeding every week and added a second brood box 2 weeks ago. Everything seems to be fine.

    I called my neighbor over who has about 10 hives to come check out my progress. He came over today and this is what he said: he said I only needed 1 brood box and not 2. Is that right or wrong?? I thought it was supposed to be 2 brood boxes then start with supers. He said I needed to remove the second brood box and replace it with a super???

    He also said I didn't need to feed them right now and to make them go out and work. I can probably agree with that. He said to start feeding again at the end of July.

    Now here is my MAJOR concern. When we removed the boxes I seen some brood that was open. It looked like white larvae and they were exposed. This was like in little groups. It was very unusual looking. Some of them looked like little white worms, and were not developed and were out of the cells. He took the hive tool and scraped them off. It was milky looking. It was small patches. What the heck was that????? It was like in between where the boxes were connected. Not on the frames themselves.

    So if some of you can help me out with this stuff I would really appreciate it. I took off the feeders and felt really bad about it. LOL I so love to see them lick it up when I pour it in there.

    Thanks for all your help in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
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    2,870

    Default Re: Really need the 'right' answers after neighbor beekeeper checked over my bees tod

    It is fine to run two deeps...I do with no problems. The larvae you see when you pop the boxes is drone laid in burr comb....very normal.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,787

    Default Re: Really need the 'right' answers after neighbor beekeeper checked over my bees tod

    How many and what sized boxes are a beekeeper management decision. I like a single deep on the bottom and supers up from there. I'm changing over, though, to all mediums throughout, I think. OH, I'm running all 8 frame boxes for all depths. Box size and numbers are a management choice, it's up to you.

    He's probably correct, let them girls earn their keep. Get them feeders off, it's the summer flow right now, at least it is here.

    Between the boxes the bees will draw out and lay drone brood. That's more than likely what he was scraping off and discarding. No problem there.

    Welcome to beekeeping, enjoy the ride!
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: Really need the 'right' answers after neighbor beekeeper checked over my bees tod

    On checking for Varroa mites.
    Check the drone brood between the hive bodies for Varroa right after you separate them. Varroa mites are light sensitive and they will try to hide as soon as you separate the hive bodies.
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,397

    Default Re: Really need the 'right' answers after neighbor beekeeper checked over my bees tod

    I run 8 frame mediums and allow for 3 brood boxes and then supers on top of that. I think the conventional wisdom for deeps is two for brood but like Ray says, that's up to you.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Citrus County, Florida, United States
    Posts
    260

    Default Re: Really need the 'right' answers after neighbor beekeeper checked over my bees tod

    OP

    Was he giving this advice based upon his observations of your hives or based upon what the norm for the "area" is or what he does? Is there a flow currently going? Is the hive's upper body starting to be loaded with syrup or some capped honey? It could be that he has some local knowledge or from what he's seeing in his own hives that's making him say this. I don't know, but what if there is currently a steady flow in swing right now and your hive is sticking around home base due to easy pickens? You should have picked his brain on EXACTLY why. Then, according to his answer you would know if you have a good resource in this "neighborhood beek" or not.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Collinsville, VA
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    447

    Default Re: Really need the 'right' answers after neighbor beekeeper checked over my bees tod

    Bees4Us,

    I'm not far from you so can tell you what I would do here. We are currently on the sourwood flow and it seems to be "hit and miss" so far this year - at least here. If they are taking the syrup and they still need to draw comb I would continue feeding (Likewise, if the comb is all drawn then I would stop feeding). If the flow kicks in well, they will stop taking the syrup. We do start a severe dearth in mid-July that will last until the end of August when goldenrod starts to bloom. During that dearth is a good time to feed them 2:1 if they need to store some away for winter. It's been my experience that they don't draw comb well around here after the sourwood flow is over so I would keep feeding as long as they are drawing comb.

    The configuration of boxes you run is up to you. I winter with a deep brood box and an intermediate super. I've heard of people who winter with as little as a deep brood box and a shallow super. I plan to experiment next year with 2 deeps on a few hives to see how they do. I've heard there is an apiary in Floyd (again not far from us) that runs 2 deeps on all their hives and they get impressive honey yields.

    As has been said, the larvae between the frames was drone brood and nothing to worry about. They must be doing well so far. If they weren't they wouldn't raise drones.

    I started two packages the same time you started and I can tell yours are much further ahead than mine. I had some drawn comb so chose not to feed as much.

    If I can help you in any way just send me a PM. I'd be glad to. Best of luck!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Orland Park, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: Really need the 'right' answers after neighbor beekeeper checked over my bees tod

    I myself use a 12" brood box, Q/E, and 3-6 suppers on top, with a gable roof, it shortens the time for them to get the water out of the honey.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
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    1,066

    Default Re: Really need the 'right' answers after neighbor beekeeper checked over my bees tod

    Personally I would suggest he read Brother Adams work. More bees equal more honey. A limited broodnest limits honey production. Let the queen show you what she is capable of and go from there.

    Best of luck!
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Henry, Virginia
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: Really need the 'right' answers after neighbor beekeeper checked over my bees tod

    Thanks for all these awesome replies! I always have lot of questions. I guess he was giving me advice on his own experiences. He is an older guy, very sweet and actually brought me a jar of honey this evening.

    Now I am mostly confused about the feeding stuff. They were doing so well and I feel that taking their food from them, things may not go as well as they should. Should I go back to feeding them next week? I am so afraid of disrupting what they have going so well.

    Then, I feel so awful about moving those globs out that was brood drone will they be able to make more soon? Did I mess something up badly?

    I thought about after they fill the 7-8 frames on this second brood box that I would add a medium super. Do I need to use a queen excluder when I do that? I have the plastic ones.

    I want them to have everything they need. They are more pets to me than anything.

    Please keep your replies coming!!! I think I need some help!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Bon Aqua, Tn USA
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    330

    Default Re: Really need the 'right' answers after neighbor beekeeper checked over my bees tod

    You will have to decide for yourself how you are going to manage your hive. What he told you is acceptable and a lot do it that way. A lot also have two brood boxes, both deeps, some 1 deep and 1 medium, some use nothing but mediums. Some feed as long as they will take it and some don't, that is why I said it will be a personal choice. Small hive beetles also look like you describe. http://www.abuzzaboutbees.com/beekee...?album=4&pos=5 this is a picture of them and the drone brood here, http://westphoria.sunset.com/2009/02...one-brood-and/ I would just have ask him and he would have told you, don't be afraid or hesitant to ask questions, he sounds like someone who is willing to help. There really is not one right answer for your situation, but as Truman made famous, the buck stop here(with you).

  12. #12
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    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,924

    Default Re: Really need the 'right' answers after neighbor beekeeper checked over my bees tod

    You gotta get a feel for what your bees need. I wouldn't limit to 1 brood nest personally, especially if you want some honey production. About feeding, how did your bees stores look? Did they have any capped honey at all yet? I fed my bees a little bit per day to draw comb for a couple weeks, it worked well. When I checked them, they had 8 frames of fully capped honey.... you know what that told me? I also didn't give them unlimited food... just about 1/3 liter every day or other day. If they're storing it, they don't need it either, make them use it up to build more brood. I'm giving my bees unlimited brood nest, so far they've stayed in the lower two deeps, with the second deep having mostly honey til I moved it up 2.5 weeks ago. Adding my 4th deep this week as the third will be capped soon. Gotta see what your ladies are bringing in too and what kind of activity level they're at and know what they're foraging on in the area to get an idea if you need to feed or not. Another thing I've been thinking about is queen performance... everyone wants a super queen... I think this is one of the reasons why a lot of new beeks are failing as well. I can see from a commercial perspective of why people want high laying queens but for the hobbyist I would think something in the middle would be better. Your hive density would be managed much more efficiently, your hatchout to laying ratio is more equal keeping broodnest growth manageble and maybe even plateau at a certain capacity, and your bees wouldn't get crowded so quick feeling the need to swarm.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    Default Re: Really need the 'right' answers after neighbor beekeeper checked over my bees tod

    Just because it's a medium or a shallow box does not mean it's not a brood box. I like the single deep on bottom because it tends, most of the time, to help keep the brood nest at the bottom of the stack. Some hives nest goes into the first medium, some go further, depends on the flows and the hive.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Henry, Virginia
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    93

    Default Re: Really need the 'right' answers after neighbor beekeeper checked over my bees tod

    I am thinking after reading all the replies that I should probably feed every other week, or 2. I want to make sure they are a super strong hive since they are new. I would expect more work from them after 1 winter.

    I didn't see any mites (as shown in the pics above) on the drone brood. I am hoping they are busy replacing the drones I mistakingly removed. I hate I did that. It just looked so odd to me. I will check them one week from now to see how they are doing with food, ect. They are extremely active right now.

    One other thing he did was turn the inner cover upside down. He said it was best for ventilation, and so they wouldn't build comb on the underside of it. What do you all think of that? I don't want to argue with someone who has been keeping bees a lot longer than me.

    I have been using the grease patties made of honey, sugar and crisco for prevention of trachea mites. I have Apiguard and the f. acid as well. Didn't want to treat until I seen need to. I don't mind not getting honey this year, as I want them to have plenty for the fall/winter.

    For ventilation, I have the entrance reducer completely removed. Is that enough? They are also shaded well during the day, it's about 5pm or so they have any sun on the sides of their hives. I don't want to cook them. The coolest thing is this little bird bath I have about 30 feet from their hive. There are about 40-50 bees on the sides of it at all times of the day

    I see them more as pets, than anything else

    Thanks for these replies, I appreciate everyone taking their time to get back with me.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
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    2,060

    Default Re: Really need the 'right' answers after neighbor beekeeper checked over my bees tod

    Those drones will not affect your hive one whit. Your queen is fertile or she will not be laying worker larvae and she will remain fertile throughout her egg-laying career, with or without those drones around. The only benefit your drones may serve is in the very slim chance that perhaps one of them might get to mate with some other virgin queen from some other colony sometime in the future. And then they immediately die, having gotten "lucky."

    Get used to seeing some drone brood torn apart. The alternative is to never separate your boxes. As others said, it is a good way to get a quick hint of the mite population.

    Wayne

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Bon Aqua, Tn USA
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    330

    Default Re: Really need the 'right' answers after neighbor beekeeper checked over my bees tod

    Like Wayne has said and others, drones will also be cast out of the hive come winter time. The workers throw the bums out because they are not needed during winter. They do not forage nor help out in the hive, they only fertilize the queen and are no more. The Varroa mites lay their eggs at the bottom of the drone cells because they are deeper and when the drones are capped and the mites hatch they eat away the parts of the drones and when the drone is hatched they spread into the hive. Many people have a frame just for drones and when they are capped you pull that frame and destroy it and thus it is believed that you kill off many of the Varroa mites before they have a chance to infest your hive.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    3,653

    Default Re: Really need the 'right' answers after neighbor beekeeper checked over my bees tod

    One other thing he did was turn the inner cover upside down. He said it was best for ventilation, and so they wouldn't build comb on the underside of it.
    There are two sides to the inner cover. It depends on what you want to achieve as to which side is "right-side up". I have enlarged notches that I keep "down" for ventilation and another entrance. Any burr comb is not a problem for me. It's nice clean wax that I save for a future use.

    I place about 1/8" dia. twigs under the corners of the inner covers to help with the air flow in the summer.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

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