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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Auburn, NY
    Posts
    471

    Default Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    What a mess. I opened up my hives this weekend and found 1 hive very very light. Next hive only a little light, but the queen had laid full patterns in the upper most box, supposed to be honey super. This keeps happening to me. I swear I am going to get excluders. This was the 5th medium on the stack. Next hive fair stores, a bit light. 4th hive, my mean hive, I didnt do squat with them. I opened it up and started going through it and said nope. Not going to. They make it or not. All hives in regard to population look like mid summer, very populous and in at least the one hive the queen is still laying like its not fall out there. This seems crazy to me. All hives are now 5 mediums deep and in various states, brood, honey, eggs. I cant easily pull one box. Looks like I will go through winter 5 deep on everything. Comments on this??

    So... shouldnt I be seeing a reduction in hive populations?? Is everyone else seeing perfect full frame capped brood patterns?? I just hope this works out and golden rod keeps giving something. My hives do not smell of goldenrod at all though. I am seeing purple asters now that I know what they look like. Isnt it late for asters???

    Dan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    N. Ridgeville, OH, USA
    Posts
    352

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    Hi Dan,

    If I'm not mistaken, though they overlap, the asters usually start coming in after goldenrod. We're a bit over halfway through goldenrod here and the purple and white asters are just now hitting full stride.

    You mention that your top boxes have brood but what do the bottom boxes look like? Perhaps they're storing more in the lower sections? I think we may be in the same zone as you (zone 5) and I can tell you that it's not unusual for our queens to continue to lay well until the first frost.

    I also tried a different tactic this year on our strong hive. In the beginning of July, I placed the topmost box above the queen excluder and allowed them to fill it up first. It now sits on top of the brood area as their winter reserve and, since it's rare for the queen to cross a filled honey super (so I've read), we removed the excluder, too. We'll see how this works out.

    Cheers

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Auburn, NY
    Posts
    471

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    Thanks for the info. Yes I am zone 5. I hope the asters are just getting going near me. That may carry the hives through the spring. They are around and look in good shape so that is a good sign. Goldenrod near me looks "dry" or burnt on the top of most. There are pathes of golden here and there but looks like its drawing to a close.

    I did a very quick hive check and did not search every frame, just some per box. I hefted them all though and bottom boxes were not heavy. Easily lifted which tells me empty or nearly so. I have one semi heavy box for hive 1, two heavy for hive 2, 2 heavy hive 3 and who knows/cares for mean hive 4. Only hefted the top two of 6 boxes on my mean hive. They were drawing out comb on the upper most super. I am going to let nature take its course with that hive. If it makes it without intervention, so be it. If not, Ill take the leftover stores and empty boxes and make a split or two in the spring.

    I am thinking 2 and 3 are ok, but a bit light for winter. I think I will feed hive #1 very soon. Hope for nice weather the next few weeks...

    Dan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,380

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    While you still have mild weather this may be a good time to go through your hives more thoroughly one last time. If you have 5 mediums, and they feel light, then you probably have a lot of empty frames in there that could come out. I just went through some of mine a couple weeks ago after removing some frames of honey and consolidated down to 3 mediums for winter. You could probably do the same. Remove empty frames and leave any with pollen, honey, and brood. Five mediums is too much space for the bees to try to manage and protect over winter. Just my opinion. Consolidation and a thorough inspection will also let you know if they need any supplemental feed this Fall. You'll be glad you did it next spring.
    To everything there is a season....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Auburn, NY
    Posts
    471

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    Good advice.. I will work on that this coming weekend, weather permitting. I think you are right, I will be happy I did this in the spring.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    947

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    All of mine were like that 2 weeks ago had 4 8frame med boxes of solid capped brood top to bottom with the exception of the outside 2 frames we finally got some rain so they just started working goldenrod as most of it has started to dry up but they are backfiling well so for the time being I'm going to let them do their thing I think

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    294

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    Some of my queens moved up as they used up stores below in August. Lots of empty frames below. The fall flow here has been spotty to non-existant. I have been consolidating them down to 3 or 4 mediums similar to Mike. I have also had to feed splits made after July 1st. Talking to other beekeepers in this area, most hives haven't gained any weight since August 1st.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,309

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    You folks who have yeilded to the hype for the all-medium hive configuration will have to adjust to a feature of that configuration. It's not uncommon to have the brood nest
    "clime" in the spring season and fail to recede on the trailing edge of main flow. That effect is sometimes accompanied by excessive pollen stored in the lower boxes.

    Don't blame it on the queen. She doesn't make the decisions on where and when to lay. Those decisions are made by the "Steering commitee." (court/retinue)

    Walt

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    1,817

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    It's not uncommon to have the brood nest
    "clime" in the spring season and fail to recede on the trailing edge of main flow. That effect is sometimes accompanied by excessive pollen stored in the lower boxes.

    Don't blame it on the queen. She doesn't make the decisions on where and when to lay. Those decisions are made by the "Steering commitee." (court/retinue)

    Walt
    good advise, the napp weed and golden rod didn't produce any nectar this year, so there was no flow to push the queens down and they stored pollen like crazy in the lower boxes. I have been feeding for a couple of weeks and from the looks of it will continue to feed until to cold, then again in the spring. With all the extra propolis they are using either they are bored or it's going to be a heck of a winter this year, so better get them heavy!
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,144

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    Walt,
    It isn't hype. It's a personal decision predicated on the idea that mediums are easier to lift than deeps.

    Dan,
    Queens lay in "honey supers". They don't know the difference. That's your idea. Asters have been in bloom for a while now. Differing blooms overlap. Goldenrod comes and while it is in bloom the asters start. I have been told that asters don't really yield until after a frost. We usually don't get much aster honey up here in The North Country. You might get some down there in auburn. But I would not depend on it to get your hives through the Winter.

    Do you have any way to feed syrup to your hives? If you do you aught to get to it asap. Daylight's a wastin'.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,991

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan. NY View Post
    What a mess. I opened up my hives this weekend and found 1 hive very very light. Next hive only a little light, but the queen had laid full patterns in the upper most box, supposed to be honey super.
    I am trying to remember your other posts if these hives swarmed. I suspect that you have a lot of bees in the top of the 5 boxes but not below. My hive that swarmed this year may be in the same situation. I might just throw an inner cover between the second or third medium and see if they make it.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Auburn, NY
    Posts
    471

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    Good advice though a bit confounding. Any rate, my guess is MAQS pushed the queen up to the top. She was not there before and it seems to make sense.

    I have two feeders and will put them on this weekend. We had rain a few days ago and temps are high 60s - 70s this week/weekend. I am hoping the week yields some weight for the hives.

    One thing I should ask here is essentially how do I want to winter. Hive arrangement is really the question here. Do I want any full frames of honey placed in the brood boxes? Honey frames above? I was just going to let the bees get themselves arranged like I did last year. It worked fine that way. I ended up with a good amount of leftover honey frames though.

    As I sit here in my 3rd or 4th month of constant back pain and 3rd year of on/off back pain, seems like I made the right decisions thus far on what to get. One hive check I was lucky and my wife lifted the boxes for me. No hope of doing it on my own that day. I did invest in deeps this summer. In the spring I will put them on the bottom and leave them.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,144

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    I think you should leave the boxes where they are and feed your hives as much as you can. Mess w/ the configuration and you will regret doing so.

    Seems like you don't have feeders for each hive, right? But you have some deeps? If you can get some one gallon jars or feeder buckets, you can set those right on the top bars and cover them w/ the empty deep and a cover. This would put feed right above your bees where they don't have to travel up onto a top feeder to access syrup. A feeder pail or gallon jar is a better feeder when temps make it hard for bees to get to feed.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    660

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    I would move all brood frames together and also major pollen frames into two boxes (if possible) and then the best honey/nectar frames into another box above them.

    All the other frames I would put above an empty box. So they will rob out what's left in the other frames from above and move it down.

    You may find they have more than you think once they consolidate it.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,144

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    I don't usually advocate Top Bar Hive use, but, I wonder if a TBH wouldn't be a better choice for someone w/ real back problems. Until it come time to move the whole hive.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    660

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    Long hives are great for those with bad backs and can be supered too, where a TBH can't.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
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    1,817

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    I would move all brood frames together and also major pollen frames into two boxes (if possible) and then the best honey/nectar frames into another box above them.
    as Mike Palmer said in another thread, the bees have been doing it for thousands of years, they know better what to do than the beek, let them work it out, save your back for next year.
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    660

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    There's a factor involved called human intervention that is playing into this.

    For example, breaking up a band of honey above the brood nest and having new comb above, making it attractive to the queen to lay in, may have caused the brood nest to continue to move upwards.

    I agree with Michael Palmer in that it's not a problem if the brood nest is at the top going into winter. It's more that the brood nest and honey stores are better off being consolidated, so that the cluster is more of a round shape and better able to maintain temperatures.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,144

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    Being in Australia, you may see things differently from those of us living in NY. If Dan goes into his hive and rearranges the way the bees have already set things up he will cause more damage than good. If anything needs doing it's feeding syrup, not manual frame moving.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    660

    Default Re: Large populations, Queen laying in the 5th medium and asters

    Thanks Mark, you're right, I don't know if I comprehend how cold winters get in NY.

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