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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Glen Arm,MD
    Posts
    173

    Default 2 and 1/2 month old colony wont use lower box

    i installed a package in 2 mediums on april 13. they drew out 5 frames pretty quickly. i gradually moved frames around and now have 8 frames. they are building in the top box only.there are plenty of bees on these frames. should i reverse the boxes to try to get them to work on the other box? should i still be feeding them? i was going to wait till the end of the summer before resuming feeding. i haven't checked on them for about a week and a half because of the extreme heat the last week or so. also, i have the one piece plastic frame/foundations. i don't think 1 medium is enough for them to winter over in.
    thanks for any info.
    crabbydad

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,836

    Default Re: 2 and 1/2 month old colony wont use lower box

    You may want to keep feeding them as they need to pick up the pace. They should be further along by now. Three mddiums to winter would be even better. It would have been better to have started them in just one medium so they could have kept it warm and produced more brood easier. I suppose you had a screened bottom board which is an additional huge handicap for a package on foundation. I conjecture that is why they are in the top box where the rising heat is easier to maintain and away from the huge drafty hole in their floor. It should be warm enough now that they can keep their volume warm enough to make wax and cover lots of brood. I would feed internally only so no robbing starts. A gallon zip lock bag with three quarts of syrup laying on the top bars with a couple inch slits in the top side only is a good way to go. The bees tend to treat it as spilled honey that needs put away. Good luck.

  3. #3

    Default Re: 2 and 1/2 month old colony wont use lower box

    Quote Originally Posted by crabbydad View Post
    i gradually moved frames around
    I'm not sure I understand this.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Glen Arm,MD
    Posts
    173

    Default Re: 2 and 1/2 month old colony wont use lower box

    i have a top feeder. i am going to check them today and resume feeding. should i reverse mediums?
    to beemandan- i moved frames from the outside to the inside between drawn frames to encourage them to draw them out

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Eldersburg, MD, USA
    Posts
    159

    Default Re: 2 and 1/2 month old colony wont use lower box

    I don't believe temperatures have been an issue in this case, Maryland has been very warm for some time now. Crabbydad, feeding is key especially since the main nectar flow is pretty much done. When installing a new package, you feed, feed and then feed some more. They should be in more than one medium by now. You want to feed them until they have filled 3 mediums with stores. Pollen should not be an issue but you may also want to feed a pollen patty (only give a 1/4-1/2 of one to minimize laying of hive beetle larva) to increase brood production. Is there a Baltimore County beekeeper's association, do you have a mentor?
    If they're working 8 frames of a medium and you start feeding again, they will quickly use up their space. You will want to checkerboard the frames in both boxes to encourage them to use both boxes. The queen will only lay in response to the number of bees available to care for the brood and the level of resources available: few bees and few resources equal a tiny hive.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Glen Arm,MD
    Posts
    173

    Default Re: 2 and 1/2 month old colony wont use lower box

    i belong to the central md beekeepers assoc., but i do not have a mentor. i just walked out to my hive and i have never seen so many bees flying in front. quess they were mostly orientation flights, but usually i do not see this many. i m going out to check them now. when you say checkerboard, you nean put some of the frames from the top into the bottom? and if so, should i put the frames with mostly brood in the bottom and mostly honey in the top?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Eldersburg, MD, USA
    Posts
    159

    Default Re: 2 and 1/2 month old colony wont use lower box

    Can you ask for a mentor. It helps so much just to have someone look at your hives with you and talk through what you are seeing together.

    I'd like to alter my comment above, you don't have to checkerboard, but it can help. This involves moving some worked frames into the unworked medium and moving the empty medium frames into the vacated spots in the "full" box. You can move a frame or 2 of brood up to the "empty" hive, but you don't have to. I really think just by feeding them again, they will start to build out that 2nd medium because they will NEED to. I did this with 4 hives last weekend and they are all building out the next box, without moving any frames. Putting the feed over the empty frames helps as they walk through those empty frames on the way to the syrup.

    As the hive grows you'll see lots of bees flying in front, it becomes harder to tell if it's robbing versus orientation. I keep my entrance down to the 2-3" size (Honeybee Democracy reports this as their preferred natural entrance size). This lessens the space bees have to guard.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Glen Arm,MD
    Posts
    173

    Default Re: 2 and 1/2 month old colony wont use lower box

    ijust got back from checking them. they have drawn out 3 frames in the bottom box. there is a lot of capped brood and larva, but not as much capped honey as i would have liked to see. there was even capped brood in the bottom box. i did see the queen in the upper. i hope i didn't smash her returning the upper box. she probably stayed on the frame. i did put the feeder back on a couple weeks ago and fed them a couple times. they went thru almost a gallon in a couple of days. i'm going out now to feed them. thanks for the info. i currently do not have my entrance reducer installed, i watch them frequently, and haven't noticed any fighting at the entrance

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