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Thread: hive to small

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gallatin, Montana, USA
    Posts
    80

    Default hive to small

    I am a first year beek. I have two 5' handmade KTB hives and two warre hives. I installed two 4# pkgs in the two KTB hives and installed two nuc's in the warre hives. All are doing great. I was lucky enough to get my first swarm in early June. Since i wasn't prepared for the swarm i installed it in the other end of one of my KTB hives thinking at some point I would just do a combine. They are both doing so well that i am running out of room. The swarm side is about to fill it's 17th bar. the pkg side is on it's 20th bar. I only have 3 empty bars left. Should i hurry and make a new hive and tranfer the swarm side into it. Or can i remove some bars of honey and somehow store them to go back in this winter. I am in southwest Montana and don't know what i will need for feed to get through the winter. They are building a new bar every 5 days so time is short. Despite the drought the flow right now is great.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Postville, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    381

    Default Re: hive to small

    Option 1 is to harvest and store the bars if you have a way to do that. I put them into a suitably large "Rubbermaid" container for short term storage. Wax moths will be an issue this time of year, however. If it was cold weather, I'd say store in an unheated building, but in August that's not an option. If you have freezer room, comb can be stored in the freezer. An added benefit is that freezing will kill wax moth eggs and larvae.

    Option 2 is to harvest, crush-and-drain to get the honey, and store the honey to feed back later. I use the "baggie feeder" method with honey and think it works well. Even if the honey you get is mixed with pollen (making the honey unpalatable for human use), the bees can use it fine. If the honey is not ripe enough (low enough moisture content) for room temperature storage, store it in the freezer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gallatin, Montana, USA
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: hive to small

    Can I remove some honey bars from the crowded hives and install in the other hive that has lots of room, for winter storage? Will that hive finish capping if necessary?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Dunlap, TN, USA
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: hive to small

    Any reason you would be opposed to a new hive?

    My first suggestion would be to go ahead and build a new one if possible. If your bees survive the winter you'll be looking for more room come spring anyway.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    North Pole, Alaska
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: hive to small

    how are they doing on stores?
    how long till you anticipate your summer flows to be done and you need to start feeding for winter?

    I started robbing bars of comb to make room mid summer...now I'm feeding like crazy trying to ensure I have enough to overwinter. kind of a fine balance I guess.... I took them during the main flow....what honey they should have had was spent making comb.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gallatin, Montana, USA
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: hive to small

    Since i'm new I don't know what I'm going to need. We should have a decent flow through Sept. I figure right now i have around 80 lbs of honey per hive. The late alfalfa is still in bloom. And there are still alot of other wild flowers still around. I didn't plan on feeding until the end of Sept. Do you think i should pull them and freeze them or just put them in the big hive that has lots of room.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: hive to small

    Quote Originally Posted by JYawn View Post
    Any reason you would be opposed to a new hive?

    My first suggestion would be to go ahead and build a new one if possible. If your bees survive the winter you'll be looking for more room come spring anyway.
    Ditto this post and add to build another hive for every current hive you have now for spring. Essentially be prepared to double your
    hive count in the spring.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Postville, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    381

    Default Re: hive to small

    "...pull them and freeze them or just put them in the big hive that has lots of room..."

    Either way will work. Do what your intuition tells you is right. If you put the bars into the larger hive, the bees in the new hive will care for the new honey comb properly.

    Or make a new hive, like the others are advising, if that makes the most sense. There is no single correct solution here.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Greenwood, Indiana
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: hive to small

    If I didn't want a new hive now, I'd put in a screen for a couple of days to separate the two hive before/after my having killed one of the two queens. Then when I removed the screen wire, it'd be one hive w/one queen that they all accepted.

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