Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Greenbrae, CA, USA
    Posts
    355

    Default Upside-down hive

    One of my hives has wintered in two deeps and one medium super. I did an inspection today and found the following: bottom deep virtually empty, top deep mostly full of honey and supplies with a couple frames of brood in the middle, top super loaded with brood in middle 4 or 5 frames, with honey on the outside. So basically the brood is in the top where the honey should be and the honey is in the top deep where I want my brood. What do?

    If I do nothing, I fear they won't work their way down, especially since there's so much honey they'd need to move around. Presumably this would encourage them to swarm.

    My thought is to wait another couple weeks, then remove some of the deep frames of honey and replace them with drawn comb, presumably making more room for them to move down. I guess I could also try to push the queen down then with smoke, then add an excluder to keep her below the super.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,974

    Default Re: Upside-down hive

    They'll move down, don't sweat it. I don't know why people get all anxious about where the bees are in the boxes, they know what they're doing most of the time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tyrone, Pennsylvania,USA
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: Upside-down hive

    I had a few hives last spring that did the same thing, what a pain in the back side it was! One of the problems I had was if there is a top entrance they will store pollen in the supers.I tried queen excluders with no luck, the queen would find her way back through. Even had one hive that started to make queen cells in the supers after I moved her down.I don't like using excluders but I also don't want the queen laying in my supers.Try storing frames with pollen in them, the wax moths will have a feast.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    402

    Default Re: Upside-down hive

    I would not sweat it as stated by JRG13. They should naturally work it out themselves. However, before going into winter I would make sure they have worked it out,,, and have a super of honey above them. I recently lost a two deep ten frame colony to starvation, the cluster was in the top deep with stores they had mostly eaten except about three inches on the opposite side of the frames where the cluster perished. The oddest part was the lower deep literally had nine frames of capped honey. I assume the weather was continuosly cold for several days and they could not move down to it, or the opposite side of the frames for that matter.
    Last edited by fieldsofnaturalhoney; 02-12-2013 at 09:31 PM. Reason: Spelling

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Upside-down hive

    Their instincts are to store honey over the brood when there is a flow and that will force the brood down. But only if you don't pile on the supers right away because they they will store it overhead and not push them down...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,074

    Default Re: Upside-down hive

    Quote Originally Posted by bison View Post
    If I do nothing, I fear they won't work their way down, especially since there's so much honey they'd need to move around. Presumably this would encourage them to swarm.
    They may or may not work their way back down. But at the moment they are set up pretty much like a comparable feral hive would be, and the next natural behavior on their calendar will be to swarm, as you have correctly surmised.

    Me, I would put the top box at the bottom of the hive, leave the middle box in the middle, and the empty bottom box, on the top. They then have plenty of room overhead and feel there is work to do before they can swarm.

    Course, this alone is not garuanteed to prevent swarming, but it's a giant step in the right direction.

    If you are concerned about black combs in the honey supers, you may want to rearrange things comb by comb to try to get the white combs upstairs. But the basic configuration you should aim at is brood and as much stores as will fit bottom box, whatever else second box, and empty top box.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    402

    Default Re: Upside-down hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Their instincts are to store honey over the brood when there is a flow and that will force the brood down. But only if you don't pile on the supers right away because they they will store it overhead and not push them down...
    Michael, I wonder what happen to this group of ladies then (post 4). They started as a local nucleus hive, and I down supered them (do you think that had something to do with it?), but the bottom deep appears never to had brood in it. Based upon the capped honey & color of the comb. I know nothing is absolute, but strange and wish I would have caught it before winter.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Upside-down hive

    How far down they get pushed and by when, all depends on how far they get in development and build up and stores.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads