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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Palm Bay, FL
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    84

    Default Questions from today's Inspection

    During today's inspection I noticed that I have a lot of empty brood frames that were previously full. No eggs as far as I could see. There several full of capped brood. I did not see any larva today, which is unusual, but I did see comb previously filled with capped brood with nectar and pollen. I am assuming that nectar and pollen in brood frames means there is eggs in the cell. Is this correct?

    Is this just a coincidence that I caught them in between emerging brood and the queen not maker her way back to the empty frames or should I be concerned. One last thing, today was the first time I have actually see capped Drone. About a 1/2 dozen. They are pretty obvious. Haven't seen drones in a while.

    Also, I added a medium honey super with a QE 3 weeks ago. 3 frames of honey and 7 1/2 frames of the 8 completed built out with comb. My guess is that I will be adding a 2nd honey super in a week or 2. Do I add it above the current super or below? Does it matter?
    Mike Harrell

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,855

    Default Re: Questions from today's Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by mharrell11 View Post
    I am assuming that nectar and pollen in brood frames means there is eggs in the cell. Is this correct?
    It is not correct.

    There are a few ok reasons for there to be no eggs/larvae and many not good ones. It is up to you as beekeeper to figure out which one your colony is experiencing.

    The most likely ok reason is if what you are seeing is a characteristic of the race of bee you are running. As an example, a Carniolan queen in the midst of a dearth may slow or stop entirely her egg laying.

    The chief bad reason could be that your queen is MIA - missing in action.

    I suggest waiting a few days and then do a comprehensive inspection looking for the queen - or if you find eggs/larvae call it good and end the inspection.

    If you find an emergency queen cell - well, you know what that means...

    To answer your questions about supering the way I do it is as follows:new foundation under, drawn comb on top.

    Have you got a flow going on? I'm afraid I don't know Florida conditions.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    NE Kansas
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Questions from today's Inspection

    Did you install a Queen excluder when you added the honey super?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Questions from today's Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Dewey View Post
    It is not correct.

    If you find an emergency queen cell - well, you know what that means...

    Have you got a flow going on? I'm afraid I don't know Florida conditions.
    The one thing I did not do today was inspect the bottom brood box. I only looked at the upper. The upper has been packed with brood in the past and larva was always present and was fairly representative of what I found in the bottom, so I got in the habit of not inspecting the bottom every time. The last bottom inspection was 2 weeks ago and it was packed and no Queen cells. I did inspect every frame of the top and specifically looked for Queen cups and cells. There were none. I will need to inspect the bottom box again to see there are any there.

    Typically the summer can bring on a lower flow. Many plants won't bloom during the very hot and humid months. Generally you will see an increase in flowering in the fall. Having said that, there has been a fair amount of honey production. 3 full frames of honey in 2 weeks.
    Mike Harrell

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Questions from today's Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Maue View Post
    Did you install a Queen excluder when you added the honey super?
    I added the QE 2 days after adding the super. I wanted to give the bees some time to start building comb, but not enough time to complete a frame and allow the queen to come in and start laying. I noticed the initial decline in capped brood 1 week later. This is only an observation and could be completely unrelated. Wasn't sure if large numbers of bees in the honey super take away from brood box activities.
    Mike Harrell

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    ludlow, Ma . USA
    Posts
    77

    Default Re: Questions from today's Inspection

    I had the excat thing happen to me, i thought maybe she was on some laying cycle, I gave it a few days and long behold she started laying again.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Questions from today's Inspection

    Think I going to get a GoPro camera and attach it to my inspection suit so that I can record my inspections and review them later to see if I missed something. I have found in the past that taking individual photos has helped identify things I missed but it is cumbersome and another piece of equipment to handle so today I didn't take it with me.
    Mike Harrell

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Questions from today's Inspection

    Could your queen be above the excluder?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Questions from today's Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by John Scifres View Post
    Could your queen be above the excluder?
    Unlikely, the super has been in place for 3 weeks. 7 1/2 of the 8 frames have comb. 3 are full of honey. No brood. the other frames without honey are pristine comb.
    Mike Harrell

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    825

    Default Re: Questions from today's Inspection

    MH...What size boxes you running for brood? Two deeps, or two mediums? Might you have been a bit late adding the super and they started backfilling?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Questions from today's Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Bees In Miami View Post
    MH...What size boxes you running for brood? Two deeps, or two mediums? Might you have been a bit late adding the super and they started backfilling?
    Running 2 deep brood and 1 medium super with QE. Don't understand what you mean by backfilling.
    Mike Harrell

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    825

    Default Re: Questions from today's Inspection

    Two deeps for brood is not very common in So FL beekeeping (it may change toward the panhandle and such...) Most common is single deep, or two mediums for brood, then QE and supers as needed. (Not saying its 'wrong'...I just don't know anybody in central/south Florida running double deeps for brood.) Curious if it was a local mentor that advised you, or???

    Backfilling is when the bees run out of space to store the nectar and pollen, and essentially use the space the queen was laying in because there is no where else to put it. As a result, the queen now has run out of space to lay...make sense? Not seeing it, and going by what you are saying, I suspect this may be the case here. Once the bees have the additional space figured out, they should start moving the nectar and pollen where it's needed, and solve the problem themselves. You might want to throw another super on now, even though they haven't fully completed the first. Or, if the honey is capped, harvest and replace the frames. We have no "over-wintering" to worry about. If it's capped, pull it.

    Florida advice here...I would definitely be wanting to split or divide that hive when our flow picks back up in October. A double deep plus supers is a lot of space for them to keep cool IMO. Once that queen gets to laying again, that hive will explode with population. How does the population look? Decreasing numbers? Orientation flights every day? (for my hives they happen between 3 and 5pm.) Beekeeping in FL is a whole different game....

    ps...and unrelated...My husband and I frequent Port Malabar...long range rifle competitors...so I know where you are real estate wise compared to me. I hope I can be some assistance...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Questions from today's Inspection

    The 2 deeps was the result of a combine. Had a package where the queen vanished and I didn't catch it until about a month later. Thought she was just slow. I didn't think the hive could be salvaged due to the low population so I combined the 2 deeps to make one hive with the hopes to split later once the hive is strong. Probably should have split it back out in June. Hive was plenty strong then.

    As far as back filling, there was a lot of nectar and honey in comb previously used for brood. There were a lot of empties too. As far as Orientation flights, we do see them. I don't see them every day because they changed their time. They used to do them between 5 and 6 pm, but with the massive amount of rain we have gotten over the past month about that time, I now see them around 2 - 3 pm. Although I do work from home, I am not always here at that time, but I do see them. Population in the hive is strong. Even the honey super had a decent amount of bees in it. The upper brood box was full too. I will take your advice and add another super.

    BTW, I had one question about splits. Until today, I had not seen drone cells in the comb. They are pretty obvious. Thought it was interesting that I wasn't seeing drones anymore and didn't see drone cells. Figured that the hive really didn't need them at this point so the evicted them. I assume they are necessary to do the split. Was curious if I could just take one deep and move it as my split as is. Essentially cutting the hive in half. That would allow me to cut down to one deep. Once the flow is back on.

    ps.. I am a member of the Port Malabar Gun Club. Live about a mile from it.
    Mike Harrell

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    825

    Default Re: Questions from today's Inspection

    Drones in your own hives are irrelevant, in that the queen won't mate with her own offspring...but the population of drones in your hives should give a pretty good indication of drones in the area. And yes, this time of year, they exist for sure...but not as strongly as they will in late September...

    As far as just 'dividing' (setting one box on a bottom board), I would not recommend it. You can make two 10 frame hives, absolutely, but you need to divide the resources. The top deep is presently likely populated by mostly honey and pollen I would assume, where as the bottom box is likely the active brood nest. Laying has slowed now due to the heat and slight dearth... When you do the divide, especially if you don't know where the queen ends up, make sure both hives have eggs, larvae and brood in all stages, and of course honey and pollen frames. I can count on two fingers the number of times hives have failed to requeen down here, and the time of year doesn't seem to matter...though this time of year I am most cautious about. You need eggs or just hatched larvae for them to be able to make their own queen, so divide the resources equally. Or...If you know where the queen is, make sure the other hive gets the majority of eggs/young larvae. Then the hard part...leave them alone for 4 weeks before you check their status. Bottom line, I would wait another month or so before splitting (unless the bees tell you otherwise!!!) If you start seeing queen cells or swarm cells, re-evaluate ASAP.

    Another word to the wise...have more gear ready for December! You will need it.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Questions from today's Inspection

    I opened up the bottom deep this afternoon. Was lucky, down pour came in about 15 minutes after I closed it up. As I noted earlier, I don't always open the bottom as I found in the past, it had similar characteristics as the top. Typically I inspect the bottom every other time. Except most frames were full of capped brood. There was larva and eggs in the frames that were not fully capped. However, there was 1 frame of pollen and nectar as was in the top deep. The top deep also had 1 frame of honey. I didn't specifically look for the queen, but I think it is safe to say that I am QR.

    Also, added a second honey super.
    Mike Harrell

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,855

    Default Re: Questions from today's Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by mharrell11 View Post
    I think it is safe to say that I am QR.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

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