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  1. #1
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Empty Med between two deep bodies

    I recently added a med super to my two deep body hive. Hive is doing well but is not paying any attention to the med super.

    I have thought of a couple of resons this might. be

    I added it a bit to early and the bees simply are not done working on the second deep.

    I also read that adding space to fast may actually slow down the bees down. in short that to much space they cannot control which has negative effect on the colony growth.

    I also have noticed that bees are more reluctant to move in and start working any space placed around the area they already have. But will quickly fill in any empty space that is placed in there area. I am nto sure that explains it well but that is not important.

    My son and I checked the before mentioned med last night and we where talking about why it might be that it is getting ignored. He asked me about placing the med super between the lower and upper deep. Keep in mind both deeps have brood. I told him I had no idea what might happen but I woudl ask on this group.

    Has anyone tried this? does it work or not etc. Basically what woudl be the results as best as you could guess, have seen etc.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  2. #2
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    Jul 2010
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    moravia,ny
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    1,188

    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    Imo its best to never split the brood nest. any empty super should be placed on top.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Camas, WA
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    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    You are trying to out think the bees again. They know how to set up a bee hive. Let them do it. When you get a honey flow, you will probably to quite surprise how fast they draw that medium.

  4. #4
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    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    Yep...what they said.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  5. #5
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    beedeetee, one concern I do have is that I saw comments on these forums that others have bees that will back fill the brood nest before they will move into that med super. No idea why, as it is a problem someone else is having. I Know there is empty room in the second deep of my hive as of 5 days ago. So I really suspect they have not moved up in my hive because they don't have to yet.

    I also know that I am only in the first week of a 6 week period that the hive will build up to levels that the queen can really produce. When I first started the hive the new comb the bees drew allowed the queen to start laying all the eggs she is capable of. that brood should have started emerging just last week.

    I am also trying to learn as much as I can about what I am seeing at the hive entrance. But so far that is confusing more often than not. The entrance is always very busy. lots of bees foraging and the landing board is almost always covered in bees in certain sections. It seems to me they have had something to gather in large numbers for the last two weeks solid. They also have a huge number of brood to keep up with. I am not sure that all the foraging is not going straight into the mouths of brood. There is some build up of nectar but not as much as I would think their would be with all the bees coming and going. I know they can take a quart of sugar water a day and still be foraging at the same rate from the entrance. I gave them a quart over the last couple of days just because I know they have a huge brood increase to tend to. They are still not touching that upper med.

    I just want to have my homework done if they do start back filling the brood nest. The answer would be easy if I had some already drawn med frames. But this is the first med box I have put on the hive. all empty frames of foundation. The bees don't seem to be to quick about getting on foundation. I have noticed that from day 2 after installing the nuc.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Winhall, VT
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    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    If this medium is not a honey super then keep feeding and have patience. They will get to it when they think they need it.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    Bees don't do anything 100% of the time, but you can't manage hives based on something that 1% of hives might do, like having a first year hive backfill a brood box and swarm rather than store honey. Genetically that would doom both groups of bees most likely. So 99% of the time a new queen hive will store honey before they backfill and swarm. A second year queened hive will act differently.

    If you saw my hives you would probably ask me why they aren't swarming. They are packed with bees with honey supers on. From this time of year on, bees are going to be less likely to swarm. It isn't an immediate thing, but as the days start getting shorter, you will have less and less hives go into swarm mode.

    It is amazing how much food brood takes. When your hive population gets to the point that foragers can keep up with brood and store honey, then the honey supers need to be on. For me, most first year hives couldn't produce a honey super.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Calvert, Md,USA
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    1,701

    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    Absolute speculation:
    I started a hive on med foundation, some drawn comb, way back beginning of April. Tried to feed, wouldn't take it. This was a queen from last year, good one. They are just now getting a third box. I think some bees just do not take to meds. JMO Possibly because they were used to the deeps prior. Possibly the Meds are barriers. I'm sure timing is a critical factor.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    Well we abandoned the med between the deeps idea. We never really intended to do it but really could not decide what the effect might be in the end. Basically we where just discussing what sort of things can be done with bees and how they work and why. Together we are learning about how bees behave.

    We did do a full inspection of the hive yesterday. as much or a little more than 9 frames of brood. I didn't see any eggs but may have simply missed them. about 4 frames of empty comb which some may have had eggs. I have seen as much as 2 and a half frames of eggs at one time in this hive. If that many eggs are in the hive now it brings the total frames of brood to 11.5 (we are talking two 10 frame deeps) The rest was honey, pollen or nectar. Except for those 4 frames this hive is pretty much full. What they are doing with the comb is a little strange though. In some places they are actually tearing things out. there was considerable bridge comb in the lower deep and they are actually building comb on the bottom of the frames in the lower deep. My overall impression is they are working hard just to keep brood fed for now. Both deeps have bees on all fames but they ar not packed in shoulder to shoulder yet. I suspect thaty will not show much interest int eh med super, which is still untouched, until they get more crowded down below.

    Overall it looks like the queen moved the brood nest to the upper deep and only has a spattering of brood in the lower one. For now I am not concerned as I am just looking for a increase in population for this year. Hopefully they will build up and be ready for the late summer early fall sage bloom. then they may be condition to put some honey away for the winter. From everything I can see they are in the midst of a population explosion just as I expected to find.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  10. #10
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    Jul 2011
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    Evansville, IN
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    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    Definitely ready for that super if they are building comb off the bottom of the frames.

    I wish my small swarm was that active!

    Peter

  11. #11
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    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    You feeding them at all? When I added my third box, they moved up quickly but didn't really do much in it for about a month. Just have patience. Put a little feed on to help them out if you want. I wouldn't do unlimited feed just enough to stimulate some comb building. I didn't feed them at first but there were plenty of bees in the 3rd box manipulating the foundation for a long time before they started drawing it. They thinned it out, cut all the holes around the edges and were anchoring and propolizing all the frames. If they're not moving up at all then they're just not ready to use the space which is what it sounds like from your description.

  12. #12
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    After reading several threads where people mentioned similar situations I did place the med between the deeps. Before I did I had also noticed the queen had moved the brood nest to the upper deep on her own. the lower deep has quite a bit of empty comb in it now where brood has emerged but the queen is not laying. They seem to be filling this space with pollen but very slowly. I don't see a lot of honey being put down there but sort of had that answered in the other threads I have read.

    Anyway even though others have found that placing the med between boxes, it has not worked for me. they still refuse to do anything with that box. If anything they are using it for a lounge or something. there are a few bees spread out through the entire box. they have filled a few gaps here and there like between the wood frame and the foundation and are chewing the foundation in places. The foundation is also starting to buckle and sag a bit.
    One difference with this box is it has wireless then honey comb making foundation. I don't know if others have found there is a difference int eh thinner whiter honey comb foundation or not.

    I am going to move the med back to the top today and add sugar water for a week. Unless they start giving that box some attention before then. once they start I will stop feeding and see what happens.

    Otherwise I suspect they are using most of what they are foraging right now to keep up with brood. That should be leveling out in the next couple of weeks as the population of the bees catches up with the increase in egg laying. I am pretty sure it had to be a stress on the hive to go from 2 frames of brood to 9 plus. some of those first bees to emerge from the increased laying should be starting to forage soon. Hopefully that will start showing a bit of a build up of honey and they will start drawing comb again.

    One other thing. I am not sure just what to expect from a good hive that was started this year. I know everyone says don't expect any honey. so is two deeps about the best they should be able to do? Fill it with honey in the late summer/ fall as the brood production falls off?

    something definitely clicked in these bees that stopped the comb building whatever it was. The available amount of comb. to much space. not enough bees to cover existing comb. I have seen quite a few things that others say will cause them to stop making more room. No flow is one of them. But my bees are foraging like mad. They just don't seem to be able to fill anything up. I see a random bee get caught at the entrance and drug away but nothing that tells me this hive is getting seriously robbed.

    I am not worried about this. As far as I am concerned it is just the next step in observing how a hive builds up and fills in their space. IF there is not a flow on that allows them to store surplus I suspect there will be one in a few week as the sagebrush comes into bloom.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  13. #13
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    If you're not worried about collecting honey, I would feed a little bit to try to stimulate comb production. Depends what they're foraging too.... you may see a lot of pollen coming in, but if it's from species with low quality pollen then you have to take that into consideration. It seems your stores are good though and it's sounds kind of like what my bees were doing early on but they also had frames of capped honey, but it took them a month to really start working the 3rd box and even then build up was slow. Just depends on the bees i guess, some draw out frames like no tomorrow, others take their time.

    Also, I think with your brood going from 2-9 frames you're still not on a growth curve of where you have extra bees to go up and work frames. All your new bees are taking care of brood but you should probably start having more of a build up if the queen keeps up and starts using the bottom box as well. You have to think of the logistics of the hive and resources. Yes, your hive is full perhaps or looks it, but a full hive that is fully occupied cannot spare resources to move up and draw out a new super. Not only do you need an excess of bees that can go up and draw the new frames, you need another excess of foragers who can bring in surplus stores to put there.

  14. #14
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    JRG13, You last comments are pretty much where my thoughts on the whole thing have been. Basically they have a lot of work to do and this is how it looks when they are just getting the brood taken care of. The brood frames all look good with honey and even capped honey. but that also seems to be about the best they are getting done. They are definitely not packing it in as I have seen others say their bees can do. I also suspect I am just seeing the details of why a colony does not produce a surplus in their first year. To me it looks like they hit a critical mass and have to hang on at that point for a while. Just as you say. all the comb builders are to busy tending brood or foraging. I have noticed that bees are very efficient in what they do. if drawing comb only means it will set empty I can see why they would not be doing it.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  15. #15
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    Cool deal Daniel. A really strong flow would probably help out too, just sounds like you have a flow though or maybe a tapering off flow. If you can get a good hatchout and another set of brood going, I bet they'd take off with any type of flow and be able to get the second box booming as well and maybe even a super of honey. It just comes down to having a flow that supports growth or one that the bees can bring in quick enough to feed all the brood and generate surplus. All things considered, I think your hives are doing well.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Santa Monica, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    Well we abandoned the med between the deeps idea.
    You may be interested in "Rose method":
    http://www.rosebeehives.com/index.html
    Sergey

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    Keep in mind both deeps have brood. I told him I had no idea what might happen but I woudl ask on this group.
    Maybe they just don't need it. Is there any nectar coming in?

    The result may end up being that one of those boxes of brood will raise a queen and you'll have two queens and maybe a swarm.

    As far as what to expect in the way of a honey crop for ther beekeeper, don't expect anything. Then you will be pleased if there is something for you. What is likely is unpredictable from here.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  18. #18
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    Well we had sugar water on the hive for the past 5 days and the bees are now drawing comb in the med Super. We also did an inspection of the upper deep body where a month ago the queen had been doing the majority of her laying. It is now a full deep of honey much of which is capped. I didn't go into the lower deep where I suspect the queen has gone back to. We are going to keep sugar water on them for a couple more days to get the med super drawn a bit more and then let them fill it with honey.

    It is my thinking that as long as they are adding to the top box I should not have to worry about the lower boxes or that deep of honey. So they should be set for the winter as long as they do not start falling back on stores. They are due for an inspection of the brood nest at the end of this month so for now I am going to leave it and hope all is well. I will monitor the hive by just checking the top super until fall. Is that about how it should be done?

    IT seems this past month was a hickup that did not look like I expected it to but the bees where in fact building things up just they way it should be. I've never been able to see just how the filling of a box develops just taken full boxes from the bees when I was told to.

    It is a big difference to look in a hive and be making the decisions rather than just going and doing what someone else chose to have done. I am learning fast how much more there is to what is going on in there than I ever paid attention to before.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    It seems my concern was not entirely pointless.

    During the month that my bees woudl not touch the med super. it seems they have packed the lower two deep bodies so full the queen has very little room to lay.

    I have two deep bodies on my hive. The lower one is now over half full of pollen while the upper one is packed completely full of honey. There are maybe 4 frames total still available for the queen to lay in.

    All the while there was a completely empty med super at the tip of the hive I could not get the bees to even take a sniff at.

    My main question is why?
    All new boxes where added when the lower box was 80% drawn. The bees seem to me to have been packing in a lot of honey but still not drawing comb.

    From other conversations I gather that bees like to have honey above the brood and pollen below. it now seems to me that they simply did that but did not leave enough room between the pollen and the honey for their to be a brood nest.

    So far my favorite plans is to switch the deep and the med super so that the newly drawn comb is just above where the brood is now.

    Any better suggestions? The queen only has about 4 frames available for laying in right now.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  20. #20
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    May 2009
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    Flora,IL
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    Default Re: Empty Med between two deep bodies

    I would have done it. not a big issue. sometimes bees will stop and not move up into that super. there back-filing the nest in July (a bit soon for me) the other thing I do a lot is put empty frames in the middle of the brood nest when its warm enough out the hive can keep them healthy. the will draw that frame out quickly, and fill it with brood usually.

    If were are to manage our bees, then we do things to make them react differently. Of course I will get told to Let them do what bees do there smarter than we know, but I am not raising them in a log, I am not letting them swarm when they like, and I want them to make and store a lot more honey than a wild swarm ever would.
    To that end frame, box manipulations are normal. don't split brood on a week hive or when its possible to get it chilled.

    Right now I have 7-10 hives that are still drawing way at a rate of at least 1 frame in 4 days. when they finaly stop drawing wax for the year (soon) you will play he__ getting them started again.... in the mean time I will do anything that may work to keep them moving. If there backfilling, then you have little or no choices Give it a whirl, or wait till next year..... up to you.

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