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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Upperco, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    65

    Question bees won't move up yet

    I have two hives that I'll compare for your comments and suggestions. In central Maryland the flow isn't quite here full on yet.

    Hive 1 is busting with bees and I have been doing swarm management to keep'm home. I put 2 supers on and they are both full of busy bees doing bee stuff.

    Hive 2 is not quite as populated but it is very strong. It also has a couple frames (2) not yet built out. The hive boxes are busy with bees but when I put on 2 supers, these bees have no interest in moving up.

    There are queen excluders on both hives. Both of these had new queens from last year. Hive 1 was a nuc bought late and hive 2 was the result of a couple queen cells I moved into a box with built out foundation. Any ideas ? How long should I wait for hive 2 to move up before I take the queen excluder out? I'm not crazy about going through 5 boxes looking for brood and her majesty--it's just easier to keep all that activity contained.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,311

    Default Re: bees won't move up yet

    If you want the bees in hive 2 to start using those supers, you'll likely either have to:

    A: Place the super(s) UNDER the brood nest for a few days (you can put the queen excluder above them, if you want) so they bees will start building in them (in "natural" hives, the bees start at the top & build down; thus they often will not recognize the open space we give them above the tops of their combs as usable)

    or

    B: Pull a couple drawn, "in use" frames (brood or stores; so long as the queen isn't on them it doesn't make much difference) from the brood box(es) up into the center 2-3 spaces in the super, so the bees will use them as "ladder frames" to sorta prove to them that the space up there is usable.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Griswold Connecticut USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: bees won't move up yet

    Quote Originally Posted by robherc View Post
    If you want the bees in hive 2 to start using those supers, you'll likely either have to:

    A: Place the super(s) UNDER the brood nest for a few days (you can put the queen excluder above them, if you want) so they bees will start building in them (in "natural" hives, the bees start at the top & build down; thus they often will not recognize the open space we give them above the tops of their combs as usable)

    or

    B: Pull a couple drawn, "in use" frames (brood or stores; so long as the queen isn't on them it doesn't make much difference) from the brood box(es) up into the center 2-3 spaces in the super, so the bees will use them as "ladder frames" to sorta prove to them that the space up there is usable.
    Just a dumb question. Would giving them an upper entrance help? That is not an opinion, just a question.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,272

    Default Re: bees won't move up yet

    An upper entrance might help. Moving a frame of open larva up would help the most, if your frames from below are the right size...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,220

    Default Re: bees won't move up yet

    I've also seen bees ignore foundation in supers between the brood nest and a nearly full super above, had to put a couple capped frames down into the empty box before they would start working them.

    Just the nature of bees.

    Peter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,417

    Default Re: bees won't move up yet

    Quote Originally Posted by Ode1891 View Post
    I'm not crazy about going through 5 boxes looking for brood and her majesty--it's just easier to keep all that activity contained.
    These hives are 5 boxes high? No flow, no expansion. Wait it out
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,587

    Default Re: bees won't move up yet

    Using an upper entrance works if you get them to orient on it before placing the excluder. It is really hard to get them to reorient once they have already form a habit. If you completely close the lower entrance you will trap drones inside.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,424

    Default Re: bees won't move up yet

    Ode you say the hive has a couple of frames not built yet. Which means they have not filled the space they already had, and certainly are not ready for more.

    You should encourage them to fill the box they have, before adding more boxes. If there are enough bees, you could spread the brood a bit, ie, move one or both of those empty combs to centre broodnest to encourage them to fill the box. I suspect it will be a while before they start moving into the new supers you have added.

    Also, bees do not really like moving through a newly placed queen excluder, into a box of foundation. They have to be fairly strong plus be getting some nectar, or they just won't do it. As others have said they can be encouraged up by lifting some existing comb into the new box, but for this hive, that would be a bad idea they need to fill the existing box properly first.

    They could also have health issue, queen issue, or whatever, holding them back, such as, say, a high mite level. Would be worth investigating why they are underperforming compared to the other hive.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,415

    Default Re: bees won't move up yet

    What, queen excluders, that might be one problem, some bees don't like moving past them some don't care. Also, maybe they don't have enough resources coming in to get them interested in pulling more space. Might be going to open mouths to feed instead.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Upperco, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: bees won't move up yet

    thanks for all the posts. i will try by moving a frame of open brood up when I go in again. it has been a very cold spring here in maryland so I hesitate to go in again until it gets warmer and less windy. i have not tested for mites but this hive has capped brood in all the boxes. this particular hive has one large box and two mediums, plus the two medium supers with built out comb above. the queen is HUGE and laying like crazy with beautiful full brood pattern. that's not to say the brood is loaded with mites though. once I gett'm upstairs i will also try an upper entrance.

    thanks

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