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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,333

    Default Inspection of supers raised many questions

    Yesterday my Son in law was able to help with the hives...he is great at lifting

    We decided to check the honey supers as we are about a week into our Blackberry bloom.

    Some of the hives had what I expected..a dadant with some capped honey frames and others still open. Honey but not much else.

    Other hives were not what I expected.

    One had brood..drone and worker...plus lots of pollen and nectar, with a bit of capped honey in the corners but true honey frames only on the outer most frame. One frame was drawn like crazy comb with solid sheets of drone brood on both sides on both sides of the frame. When I cut it out the actual foundation was not drawn at all. This hive also has 2 deeps of drawn comb. I didn't check the lowest one but the other had capped brood. I do not use Queen excluders...perhaps I should.

    The other oddity was a hive that on first look after I cracked the inner cover seemed to be boiling over with bees...and it was. The oddity was that vast majority of the bees in the honey super were drones...drones,drones and more drones. Again the only proper honey combs were on the outer edge and those were not fully capped. I looked at the upper deep brood box and it had workers and worker brood..no excess of drones there. I kick myself as once I saw capped worker brood I closed up. I think I should have also looked for eggs etc. . One other hive had this same sea of drones.

    This is my second year...first year with over wintered hives. Last year my packages and nucs filled the honey dadants with honey...not nectar, pollen and brood.

    Is this all happening because the hives have swarmed at some point?

    Should I be doing anything to sort it out or will the bees do that over time?

    We took off 28 frames of fully filled capped honey from the dadants to extract. We took nothing out of the deeps. I was suspicious that one hive being Queenless as saw no open brood..perhaps waiting on a virgin...so gave them a frame of eggs.

    I have so much to learn..these established hives seem quite different from packages and nucs.

    Thanks on any insight into these hives and direction on how I should manage them and how to avoid this next season.

    On a better note the 14 "baby" hives I have set up seem to making queens and growing their families...slowly but surely.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,944

    Default Re: Inspection of supers raised many questions

    Your situation sounds like one made for queen excluders. I tend not to use them, unless I discover a super where the queen has been laying. In that case I shake the bees into the hive body below and install a QE.

    I'll wait to harvest the super until all of the brood has hatched out. There is a super in my kitchen from last fall that I haven't dared check out for some months.

    I never use queen excluders when having foundation in my supers drawn. And as I noted above, I don't routinely use them until I have to.

    I don't think the brood in the supers has anything to do with swarming.

    The use of queen excluders is very regional. Sounds like you are in a region where their use is routine.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,333

    Default Re: Inspection of supers raised many questions

    Thanks..I have excluders but didn't need them last year so had not used them this year.
    I will go back...when I again have some help..and put excluders on the hives that have brood and/ or pollen in the supers.

    Do you know why those 2 hives would have had so many drones ...wall to wall...in the supers...no obvious brood just drones. The ones with drones looked like brood frames back filled with nectar.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,923

    Default Re: Inspection of supers raised many questions

    Those colonies have some foundationless frames in there? It sounds like they have 2-3 drone combs and they're getting laid up every chance the queen gets.

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