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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Amador County, California, USA
    Posts
    138

    Default Would my bees have had a higher chance of survival if I removed the second story?

    I had some weak colonies (3-4 frames of bees) which were in 2-story hives (10 frame).

    I'm wondering if they would have had a higher chance of survival if I had removed the second story and left them with only the first (to keep warm perhaps).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    312

    Default Re: Would my bees have had a higher chance of survival if I removed the second story?

    In my opinion that would have helped a lot. You used the word "had", Did they starve? What is in the frames right now?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,067

    Default Re: Would my bees have had a higher chance of survival if I removed the second story?

    If I read you right, 4 frame of bees in 2 story stacking 5 on each box on top of the other. So 10 frame altogether.
    If warmth is the key then it is better to put them all inside one hive box. Crowding them together will help them conserve more heat or should I say to generate more heat to warm the hive.
    But if your bees are growing and producing queen cells then it is better to put them in 2 hive boxes. One on top of the other. To conserve heat for warmth you must fill up the outer space with anything that is not toxic to the bees. Foam and sponges came to mind on this process. Have you seen the sponge nuc pic box I posted here? It is for this purpose of keeping them warm at night time. I think keeping them on your current set up without filling in will make them colder at night because they cannot heat up the 2 hive boxes fast enough. How can they grow if they're too cold at night? Have to crowd them together to enable them to grow from the heat. I have to separate the hive now that they grow too fast even though it is still cold at night time outside here.
    I started this set up on 3/11 and now one week later they are ready to do a swarm prep on 3/19 at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMjrC7bFfak
    They even build a swarm cell ready for this process. But seeing this massive growth I put in another hive box filled with sponges too with only 4 frames full of bees on the top. Four frame of bees also in the bottom hive sponge up as well. I since added 2 more foundation frame in case they want to expand further at the bottom. The bottom hive also full of bees as well but no queen cell yet. When the new queen sealed I will take off the top hive to form their own colony. The old queen will be put in the bottom hive to grow further. On a warm day 60F I have to widen their 3 entrances to let them fly out and keep their hives cool. I don't use a bottom screen because it is still cold at night time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Amador County, California, USA
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Would my bees have had a higher chance of survival if I removed the second story?

    Right now there's some honey and capped brood (it seems) and a cluster of dead bees. I had three that were like this and died.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: Would my bees have had a higher chance of survival if I removed the second story?

    The bees don't warm the hive, they maintain a constant temperature in the cluster, over any brood. They are constantly circulating from the inside to the outside of the cluster, as the heater bees and others maintain the temperature. The advantage of a two story hive is that the bees tend to move up, and not to the side, as they consume their winter stores. So a two story hive has a better chance of survival in winter than does a single story.

    As one poster asked, what killed them? Where was the cluster when it died? Where were the honey stores? That will answer your question.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,270

    Default Re: Would my bees have had a higher chance of survival if I removed the second story?

    Move them to the single until they need more room and they will do better. Being able to maintain heat in a smaller area matters to the amount of brood that a colony can cluster over and keep heated. Use any SBB for kindling or reserve it for weather over a hundred. Certainly don't use it on a colony building up.

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