Western NY - brood in honey super, need help
I went to inspect my two hives yesterday and one of them had what appeared to be 8 frames of partially filled honey comb in the top super (above the queen excluder), the other was empty (no queen excluder). So I decided to transplant 2 frames of honey from one hive to the other. In the process of doing so, I noticed that about 4 frames from the transplanted hive had capped brood on them, which I didn't notice last week when I added the queen excluder. I made sure to put only the frames with NO brood in the weaker hive.
But for the hive with the honey/brood frames, what do I do now?
I have two more empty supers with 10 frames each of undrawn pierco comb. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough beeswax to rub onto these frames yet.
Should I scrape the brood out of the 4 frames in the super and replace them back into the hive or are these frames "contaminated" and now they can't be used just for honey?
Should I put the honey/brood frames in the freezer for 24 hours, replace the empty space with undrawn comb, then put the honey/brood frames back and the let the bees clean them out?
Should I do something else?
Of course, all of this depends (I think) on my being able to find the queen in the super and if I find her, putting her in the top deep below the super, then replacing the excluder.
Would I be setting the hive back too far for winter by replacing any frames with undrawn comb?
We're going through a massive goldenrod explosion around here and you can smell the goldenrod honey about 20 feet from the hive. I kind of think there's enough nectar to go around for the next few weeks.
Re: Western NY - brood in honey super, need help
The first year isn't one for harvesting honey for most newbees.
It's for letting the hive build comb, establish space for brood and for stores.
I'd remove the excluder and let the bees keep all of the honey they gather.
The purpose of the excluder is so the the queen won't lay in comb so that one doesn't get bee larva in his honey harvest.
In years you don't harvest, that's not an issue.
Honey from cells that have contained brood is fine --we just don't put comb containing brood through the extractor so that we a) don't kill brood that is valuable to the hive, and b) don't have bee larvae in our honey.
From now on, you ought not bee thinking about enough nectar for the next few weeks, but enough for the next several months.
By the time the Goldenrod flow stops here in NY, there isn' much time to feed your bees if they haven't enough.
Some years, there's no time to feed them syrup.
They can be fed dry sugar, but that is an EMERGENCY measure and no substitute for stores.
Bees have to break cluster, get sugar, and return to the cluster w/ dry sugar.
Sometimes, it's too cold, and they won't leave the cluster, and starve with sugar inches away.
If your weak hive really has no stores of food in the comb, and has a low bee population, I'd ensure they are not diseased, then pinch the queen and combine them -putting a newspaper btw the boxes where they meet to prevent fighting.
By the time they chew through the paper, they share the same hive smell and few if any bees will fight.
This will give your combined hive more workers and foragers to make winter stores, as well as provide the hive more comb -- which is important food storage space this time of year.