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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Brunswick, Maine, United States
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    18

    Default Late Sept./fall congestion what to do? (in Maine)

    Hello


    I have three colonies that are very very strong in population. 2 were spring splits from the third hive. Mite counts are almost nil (3 or less with sugar roll) and I did harvest a ton of honey this year mostly from the original colony that is strong each year. I am wondering what to do about the huge population in these 3 hives. This has been standard behavior for the original colony and now the splits are doing similar. Nothing to complain about of course, I am very happy with colonies that do not tend to swarm and I suspsect will make tons of honey and we already know make tons of bees. I am regressing all these hives to natural comb but they are still mostly large cell.

    Now for my question... All three of these hives do seem to be congested, they are choked full of brood. The weather is still warm here in Maine. I did put an excluder on the original colony and placed an empty super. Should I do the same with the others? or will they slow the queen down and be fine. These hives are heavy, likely mostly with brood, and it is definitely warm enough that I can still feed if I need to. I am not medicating as there seems to be no reason to. These bees all are bringing in nectar still. I am also wondering if I can/should leave a honey super filled on each colony for the winter. I have never done this before as I had smaller colonies and want them to have to heat less space. I am running 2 deep hives bodies, solid bottom boards, and shallow or medium supers.

    All advise appreciated as usual.. and thanks in advance!! love beesouce!

    Best
    Marcy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,127

    Default Re: Late Sept./fall congestion what to do? (in Maine)

    Quote Originally Posted by gomarciab View Post
    Hello

    All three of these hives do seem to be congested, they are choked full of brood. The weather is still warm here in Maine. I did put an excluder on the original colony and placed an empty super. Should I do the same with the others? or will they slow the queen down and be fine. These hives are heavy, likely mostly with brood, and it is definitely warm enough that I can still feed if I need to. I am not medicating as there seems to be no reason to. These bees all are bringing in nectar still. I am also wondering if I can/should leave a honey super filled on each colony for the winter. I have never done this before as I had smaller colonies and want them to have to heat less space. I am running 2 deep hives bodies, solid bottom boards, and shallow or medium supers.

    All advise appreciated as usual.. and thanks in advance!! love beesouce!

    Best
    Marcy
    Congratulations, you should be giving advise , not asking. The only concern I see is not being sure with the ratio of brood/bees to honey. Only way to be sure is to look.
    I see no advantage to the excluder, but then I only use them as a splitting tool. Normal year I would say leave off a new super, right now I would say put it on even if you take it off in 2 weeks unused. Double deep will protect an extra super. It has a little bit of the feel of a strange year. They could be doing dandelions in December.
    Leaving an extra super on or not ? What did you do for the parent colony last year? It is the best indication of what your bees will do in your location.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Late Sept./fall congestion what to do? (in Maine)

    Marcy,

    I agree, the excluder is not helping anything.

    The only thing I would do is increase the size of the hive. If you are still getting nectar in, maybe you could get some frames drawn with that much brood. But it depends heavily on your climate. I'm not familiar with Maine, however, I'm always for bigger hives.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,834

    Default Re: Late Sept./fall congestion what to do? (in Maine)

    Your fall weather should be similar to mine, and if it was me I would not add any more boxes this late in the year for nectar storage. Its almost October and even though you may still see fall flowers it won't be too long and they'll be past prime and won't contribute much additional nectar. With double deeps already for brood, you likely won't get comb drawn (if your supers are foundation) this time of year either in any new supers you put on. What you want is to get the double deeps nice and full of food, if they have lots of brood as you say, the brood will hatch out and give them room for storage of any incoming nectar and pollen you might get.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    795

    Default Re: Late Sept./fall congestion what to do? (in Maine)

    You'll have plenty of room in the hives as the brood laying ceases. Backfilling the brood is the main fall task of the colony.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,127

    Default Re: Late Sept./fall congestion what to do? (in Maine)

    Spring splits that are now both double deeps and not shutting down as they should. (Maybe, need to look inside.) Force a shutdown with heavy feeding and risk a swarm ? Or wait for them to slow themselves with more temporary space? Are she and her daughters brood factories that need heavy stores?

    Think I would take my choice based on inspections and knowing what that particular queen line did last year. Very interested in others takes myself.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Brunswick, Maine, United States
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Late Sept./fall congestion what to do? (in Maine)

    Thanks Salty

    and yes that is what I am concerned about, ratio of bees to honey. Leaving a honey filled super on each of these three hives should resolve that issue for me over the winter as I would not want to lose my strong colonies to starvation simply because the ratio was off. I have always just wintered over with 2 deep bodies per colony and that is how I wintered the parent colony last year. I did put the excluder on as this colony has put brood up in supers before in late season.

    So just to clarify you do not see a problem with wintering over with a filled super on each of these hives to be sure there is no starvation?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Brunswick, Maine, United States
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Late Sept./fall congestion what to do? (in Maine)

    I do not know why they would not shut the queens down but this is consistent across the three colonies so I suspect it is just the line. I am thinking temporary space. Last year the mother hive did pretty much the same and did just fine. The colony came out great gangbusters this spring, hence the two splits. I have had the mother hive for about three years and it does not tend to swarming.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,807

    Default Re: Late Sept./fall congestion what to do? (in Maine)

    Hi Marcy,

    I don't think you will have a flow for much longer. We've had our first killing frost here (Jonesboro) as they have at MOFGA in Unity. The population of the hives is going to adjust from summer to winter bees and all of the winter bees will fit nicely into a double deep configuration. There are some people in Maine who are going to a 2 deep plus a medium for a brood chamber - My understanding that for those going to this configuration it is setup early enough in the year for the bees to provision it during the summer and fall flows. Where you are looking to have bees on natural combs I'd start no later than June next year if you want to establish that configuration. I don't think you need to add a medium to your brood chamber, but it sounds as if the line of bees you've got likes to maintain a large population, and as it takes a big population to make a big honey crop, adding a medium doesn't sound like a bad idea.

    My inclination is to not leave full honey supers on this winter, but to instead change the brood nest configuration next year if that is what you decide to do.

    I have one hive in a three deep configuration which may end up as a double before winter. I've taken some slabs of honey already to help out double nucs - I'll see in another week or two what the bees have done with the drawn but empty frames I gave them, and make the decision about reducing the colony to a double deep then.

    Are you planning to attend the MSBA annual meeting in October? Speaking will be Kirk Webster and Dr. Deborah Delaney. If you do, please be sure to introduce yourself.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Brunswick, Maine, United States
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Late Sept./fall congestion what to do? (in Maine)

    Hi Andrew

    Thanks for all the sound and rational advice. The 2 deep with a medium sounds interesting and I will likely run the experiment next year as yes these bees run big populations which is delightful. I will check on the populations next week. If the congestion is slowing down but honey stores are low I will likely give them some of their honey back as I think this is better for them than sugar syrup. Let me know if you do feel otherwise.

    I have not registered for the MSBA meeting yet but thanks for the reminder.. see you there.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,127

    Default Re: Late Sept./fall congestion what to do? (in Maine)

    Andrew, I was hoping you would post.
    Found this post interesting;http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ium-and-asters
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

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