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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Auburn, NY
    Posts
    485

    Default Pollen in honey super, 8 frame medium questions, tons of drones

    I did my hive check and forgot I had three boxes instead of 2. Hive was booming and had utilized the space I left for them. (Instead of creating swarm cells like I had thought). All three boxes had brood, pollen, some honey all at various stages. I thought three 8 frames was enough space for the queen, pollen and any surplus honey they may want to keep. So.. I added a honey super with a few drawn frames and one frame that has a small amount of honey on it. I figured I was in good shape for them to draw and start filling. WRONG... The next day, about 16 hours later, I popped open the top lid to look without much disruption. The inner cover had a good pile of burr comb on it already and in the burr comb they had stuffed pollen already. I dont know if there were eggs, I didnt see any but that does not mean anything. I dont supposed there is much I can do to make them use the honey super for honey is there? More to the point, those of you using 8 frame mediums, do you use 3 boxes for brood or 4 boxes? How do you regulate it or dont you really??? I am thinking put on a queen excluder and keep eggs out at least. Then I think maybe I shouldnt as if they are using it for pollen/eggs, seems they have a better knowledge of what they need than I do. Dont know????

    The other think I wanted to ask about is I found a large amount of burr comb in between the boxes, on the top/bottoms of the frames. Many frames I moved I ripped up comb, drones. I accidentally put a serious dent in the drone population of that hive. Assume that wont do much harm. I decided since I had such a large amount of drones, I would check for mites. I probably looked at 30 mostly formed drones, maybe 10 smaller drones. Not one varroa did I see. Based on this alone, can I assume I have a varroa free hive or isnt that the case?


    Thanks all
    Dan in NY

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,468

    Default Re: Pollen in honey super, 8 frame medium questions, tons of drones

    Varroa is usually low in the spring and builds up as the brood nest is expanded.

    To try to answer your question about 3 or 4 mediums; If you don't use a queen excluder the bees will use all the boxes you put on for raising brood until a honey cap is created. If the hive was an overwintered hive with 4 or 5 boxes in my area it will go gang busters in the spring. If it had 3 boxes it might be touch and go that it makes it and it might not get to the four box brood nest size for that season. Then again it could. I see no harm in running four medium boxes through the winter. It is possible that the bottom box will not be fully plugged and I almost think this helps in the winter because I ran last year with wide open SBB.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,841

    Default Re: Pollen in honey super, 8 frame medium questions, tons of drones

    you need to move all frames of nectar up to the 4th box if you have any. Once you establish some honey frames in there they should keep it that way. Are you using a top entrance?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,065

    Default Re: Pollen in honey super, 8 frame medium questions, tons of drones

    I use 3 8 frame mediums below a queen excluder for brood, and it's enough. They may still store some pollen in the honey supers - especially if you have an entrance above the excluder. If you do put in an excluder at (or after) this point you need to check for cells throughout the hive - both above and below the excluder - at the time you add the excluder, and again in 7-10 days. After that you should not need to check above the excluder.

    You know you can always wait until your main spring honey flow is well under way or even beginning to wind down, and then add an excluder at that time. Brood above it will emerge and be backfilled with honey. Make sure there is a way for drones to get out.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Auburn, NY
    Posts
    485

    Default Re: Pollen in honey super, 8 frame medium questions, tons of drones

    Thanks all. I am not using top bar entrance and the one frame of partial honey I put in the top. Sounds like I am on track here. Hive check again this coming weekend. Ill see what it looks like and think Ill add the excluder. Here are some images of the drone burr comb I ruined. Is this pretty normal? Seems like it I guess. Attachment 5826CIMG5445.jpg

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
    Posts
    709

    Default Re: Pollen in honey super, 8 frame medium questions, tons of drones

    In the spring I think an overwintered hive just feels compelled to make drones, lots and lots of drones. Love is in the air and they want their genetics far and wide. If you've got foundation in the hive they have no place for drones to be made so they build a bunch of drone comb in between the frames. If you'd like to try something, add a foundationless frame (but pay attention to it so it doesn't get drawn wonky) at maybe the second frame in from one side of each of your two top boxes, so two frames total. They'll build nothing but drone comb in there. If you get a cold snap it'll be toward the outside and they'll let them freeze but they'll keep your worker brood warm in the center, so no harm really done. Your top bars will be *much* cleaner, and once the hive is up to the number of drones they want, they'll back fill those frames with honey. Just be sure to mark those frames with a big "D" so you know which they are.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Glen Arm,MD
    Posts
    190

    Default Re: Pollen in honey super, 8 frame medium questions, tons of drones

    my hive looked the same way when i opened it this spring. i went back in 2 wks later and scraped it all off. it makes a mess when you pull frames to inspect, not to mention more chances to kill you queen.

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