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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    Gresham, OR USA
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    23

    Default Spring buildup and early supering

    Hello all, I am from Oregon and we have been having some really nice weather lately, so I was able to do my first complete hive inspection yesterday.. I went through every frame and clened them all up. There were only 2 frames of brood a few empty drawn frames, some pollen, and lots of honey. In fact I was really surprised to see so much honey but I remembered i had put on some thick sugar syrup about a month ago.
    I reconfigured my 2 boxes so the queen and brood would be in the bottom box, with a few empty drawn frames, some pollen and honey. The rest of the frames were all honey so I put them in the top box and now the top box is about 95% capped honey.
    So here is my question....my worry is that there wont be enough empty frames for the queen to lay eggs in and raise brood. Should I pull out a few of the honey frames and replace them with empty frames so the queen will have more space to lay eggs? I also saw today in an article that some people put on supers very early to try to catch the maple flow. Should I super because my top box is already full of honey or try to make more room for brood? I also put on a home made pollen patty because the older one i had on there dried out. How do you keep them from drying out??

    Any advice or ideas would be appreciated...sorry this is so long winded.

    Eric

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    3,503

    Default Re: Spring buildup and early supering

    I would take that top box off completely and let that small cluster expand in a smaller space where they will be more comfortable, defendable and heatable.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
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    2,220

    Default Re: Spring buildup and early supering

    I agree -- and will add that all that capped honey overhead is reputed to induce swarming!

    Peter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    8,411

    Default Re: Spring buildup and early supering

    Humm, not what I was going to suggest. He did not give any indication how many bees are in the hive and what size boxes we are talking about.
    My initial thought is to put an empty box underneath the brood box. This was assuming he had 8 to 10 frames of bees.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,038

    Default Re: Spring buildup and early supering

    the comb in the top box would be more useful to you if it didn't have the honey in it.

    you might consider extracting a few frames and using it to expand your broodnest.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    8,411

    Default Re: Spring buildup and early supering

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    the comb in the top box would be more useful to you if it didn't have the honey in it.
    Why do you say that? They need that honey/syrup to expand in the spring, don't they?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Gresham, OR USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Spring buildup and early supering

    Sorry if I didn't give enough info......I have 2 deeps, and when I went throughit seemed about 4 frames of bees, 2 and a half frames of brood. Maybe I'll take some of the capped honey frames off the top box and replace them with a few empty frames that at drawn out, or maybe just remove the top box until there are more frames of brood in the lower?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,038

    Default Re: Spring buildup and early supering

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Why do you say that? They need that honey/syrup to expand in the spring, don't they?
    sure they do ace, but only until fresh nectar and pollen starts coming in. if those frames are still full of honey at that time, it won't be long until they run out of room and swarm.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Spring buildup and early supering

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Walls View Post
    Sorry if I didn't give enough info......I have 2 deeps, and when I went throughit seemed about 4 frames of bees, 2 and a half frames of brood. Maybe I'll take some of the capped honey frames off the top box and replace them with a few empty frames that at drawn out, or maybe just remove the top box until there are more frames of brood in the lower?
    when does spring arrive in gresham eric?

    are your bees bringing in pollen and nectar yet?

    there are different swarm control methods when using double deeps, but i only have a single deep and don't have any experience with those methods.

    the general idea is that they need to have plenty of room to store nectar overhead. alternating the honey frames with empty drawn comb in your upper deep might be a good idea.

    maybe someone with double deeps and near your area will comment as to how you stand on stores for this time of year there.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Gresham, OR USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Spring buildup and early supering

    Spring usually starts about this time of year, with some early pollen coming in. I've seen them bringing in yellow and orange pollen when the temps have been in the upper 50's. It has been really nice here in Oregon the last few days, low 70's which is actually unusual for this time of year. April and May tend to typically be cold and rainy. I think last year I was feeding sugar syrup until about mid May.
    It was great to see so much capped honey but then I started to think it might not be such a great idea if there are no more frames to lay eggs in. Maybe I could pull out 4 frames of honey from the middle of the top box, and replace them with empty drawn comb? That way when the queen moves up there will be plenty of room for brood. If they ran low on honey stores I could always put the frames with honey back in. I'm just not sure what to do, I was just glad to see them make it through winter.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,038

    Default Re: Spring buildup and early supering

    >Maybe I could pull out 4 frames of honey from the middle of the top box, and replace them with empty drawn comb? That way when the queen moves up there will be plenty of room for brood. If they ran low on honey stores I could always put the frames with honey back in.

    sure. it's unlikely they will starve if they are already foraging.

    you have the right idea eric, don't let them run out of room to expand their broodnest.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: Spring buildup and early supering

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Walls View Post
    April and May tend to typically be cold and rainy.
    That is what I thought and that is what I would plan on, not the unusual.
    If you pull the top box off there would be no honey, a bad move in my estimation. You can easily give them space with an empty box below and that won't hurt you if the weather suddenly turns normal like it just did here.
    They should be grabbing pollen when they can mixing it with the honey above to raise brood. There is no flow, there are no drones, so they are not going to swarm now. When you get into the flow you can check to see how much brood / space you have and then decide if you should pile on supers or not.

    The only other option I can see is knocking it down to a nuc and then taking on the babysitting job that that entails. I could be wrong but I don't think you are ready for that just yet.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Gresham, OR USA
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    23

    Default Re: Spring buildup and early supering

    no, not ready for that at all. I'd rather leave the whole hive where it is if I can. Sounds like I may just need to add a few empty frames next to the good and leave everything else alone. Perhaps I'll just pull a few frames of the honey, that way they will still have room in the upper box. I could always add the honey back in later? I think we are having a false spring here right now and our usual weather will be here soon...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: Spring buildup and early supering

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Walls View Post
    Sounds like I may just need to add a few empty frames next to the good and leave everything else alone.
    I was under the impression that the frames were a mess and pulling them out would be difficult with a lot of bees in them. Will the existing hive support more boxes filled with honey? You don't want the hive tipping over with a high wind.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Gresham, OR USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Spring buildup and early supering

    I'm looking back at my post and didn't realize a few typos, I was on my iPad when I posted and with my fat thumbs I sometimes hit the wrong key and it spells a different word.
    Tomorrow it's suppose to be fairly nice here, close to 70 and after work I think I may go back in and take a quick peek. I don't want to be in the hive too long but it will be easier since I cleaned off the propolis and burr comb to make it easier to move frames around.
    Sounds like I just need to make sure I have a few empty drawn frames next to the broodnest so they can expand? I'll leave a a frame or 2 of honey on the outside, and then in the top box I think I may pull out a few of those capped honey frames and replace them with empty drawn comb. This way the hive won't be honey bound and have room to grow. I want them to take advantage of these warm days and have a place from the pollen that should be coming in.
    Does that sound about right? I also have a hive top feeder with a 1:2 sugar syrup on mixed with a little Honey B Healthy.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    4,943

    Default Re: Spring buildup and early supering

    > I also have a hive top feeder with a 1:2 sugar syrup on mixed with a little Honey B Healthy.

    The convention generally used in syrup ratios (at least at Beesource) is that the sugar comes first, then the water. So if you are really mixing 1:2, that would be 4 lbs of sugar to 8 lbs of water.


    If you are actually mixing 4 lbs of sugar to 2 lbs of water, that would be 2:1.



    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Asheville, North Carolina, USA
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    552

    Default Re: Spring buildup and early supering

    I wouldn't be feeding if they have that much honey stored.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Gresham, OR USA
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    23

    Default Re: Spring buildup and early supering

    Okay, so this is what I did.....
    Yesterday after work I was able to open the hive again. In the bottom box was the queen and now almost 4 frames of brood. The pattern looked good so I think I'm okay with that. I put empty frames next to the brood, and then the 2 outside frames have pollen and bit of honey in them.
    Then I moved to the top box, left 4 frames of capped honey on the outside and took 6 drawn empty frames, placed them in the center. I just want to make sure they have enough honey, but at the same time have room for the brood.
    I still have my hive top feeder with some sugar syrup and a pollen patty on the bottom box. I'll keep a close on on things the next few weeks. It's suppose to rain here but be in the upper 50's, lower 60's. If they look like they're running low on stores I can put back the capped frames I took off.
    Does this sound like the right thing to do? I want to manage them the best way I can so they can build up and bring me some of that wonderful honey!
    Eric

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