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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Lawrenceville, NJ, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default New bees old hive what to do?

    I am a new beekeeper in NJ. Had two colonies that did not make it through this winter. I will install packages in these hives. For this thread lets assume that there are no issues to do so (bees did not dies from AFB/ EFB for instance). The question I have is: These hives have/had two big boxes, most (95%) of the combs are drawn, some are empty clean some are full of honey. When I install the packages what would be the ratio of frames with honey vs. frames with drawn empty comb vs. frames with only foundation? Also, I assume I will start with only one brood box, correct?
    Thanks for your advice.
    Jean-Pierre

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Wake County, NC
    Posts
    103

    Default Re: New bees old hive what to do?

    If no problems I would put 5 empty drawn frames and 5 with honey if it is a 10 frame box.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,150

    Default Re: New bees old hive what to do?

    GIve the new colony the best of your resourses. Put the honey you have on each side of your single hive bodies till you run out and then fill in the middle with the empty drawn comb. Why would you want to force packges to fight with drawing comb when they can use all their energies cleaning up and reaaranging the new brod nest the way they want it. After they are established, it has warmed up and the queen is laying well, then yu can think about drawing foundation. Screened bottom boards are NOT helpful while establishing packages! They need all the heat in the hive that they can get~! If you must use them, do it after the night time temps are in the sixties or seventies.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Lawrenceville, NJ, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: New bees old hive what to do?

    Thanks for the advice. To summarize, use the empty drawn combs and the frames with honey, no frames with foundation at this time. So I could have 2 frames of honey on each side of the box (total 4 frames) and the rest of 6 empty drawn combs in the middle. Then replace the frames with honey when empty? until we have a nectar flow? When do I add the second brood box?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,034

    Default Re: New bees old hive what to do?

    While I won't argue that it may be "better" to start the package in one box instead of two, when it comes to putting package bees in deadouts, I just put them in. With drawn comb and some frames of honey, they take off quickly and I usually get a honey crop.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Slinger, WI
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: New bees old hive what to do?

    all my hives have screen bottom boards, I do not block them in winter. This season I have lost only 1 hive out of 10! THis is certainly not been the norm lately. Last spring I had 7 colonies die out over winter so I had 7 new packages. I put them into 10 frame deeps, gave them 4 frames of honey, 3 frames of drawn comb, and 3 frames of new foundation. After that I do not feed them anything, they are on their own. In june I rotate out the 7 pre drawn frames I had given them with new undrawn foundation. To rotate the frames out I add a deep on top separated from the bottom two with a queen excluder, move the 7 frames up add 3 additional to fill the spaces and after 21 days all the larva have hatched out and I take the third box off. When the second deeps were added I gave all new foundation, they drew out 10 frames in the second deep in about a week and a half, after that the hives literally exploded!
    Last year was the best year I have ever had as far as getting honey. Every fall I have the Wisconsin State Bee inspector come out and he evaluates my hives for mite counts, and overal health, and keeps records and trends on how they do each year. Last fall he was amazed by how strong and healthy my bee's were, and that strength and health has been shown by a 90% survival rate. I am believer in new foundation and I will be replacing my foundation every two years.
    Steve Wenger
    Gentleman farmer/9 year Bee Keeper

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