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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Verona mo
    Posts
    8

    Default Not enough space --mad bees

    Ozark beginner here. I have my first bees and have read some books and signed up at the local bee keepers group. I have a great mentor who is dealing with family emergencies so I am looking for some advice. It is almost impossible to remove the frames from the hive without crushing bees. The frames are packed so tightly. I thought that they were too crowded so I added a second super yesterday. The bees are very hostile and I think it is because I crushed some trying to get the frame out. I cannot take the frames out to check conditions because the sting factor stops me. Earlier in the year there was not a problem and the bees tolerated my working with them. Did I do the right thing? Do I need to remove one of the over filled frames and move it to the top super to allow for more room? I could then space the others a bit more to allow for removal and inspection. I would appreciate the advice. Thank you, Neal

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Not enough space --mad bees

    My guess is your in a dearth and the bees get testy around then. Are they still building comb? Are all frames filled out and bees on them? At this time of year I don't do inspections unless there is something that doesn't look right to me. If you do, use plenty of smoke.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Verona mo
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Not enough space --mad bees

    I can't tell if all the frames are full. They are so tightly stuck together. I did use smoke. Do you mean dearth as in a shortage? Thank you for the help.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Not enough space --mad bees

    If you are using foundationless frames, it's best to bring a frame up. If you have foundation then I still would if I could, if I can't at least they have a "ladder" to get to the top of the frame to start drawing it out. From the information I have so far, I would leave the super on and see if the draw any of it. Yes, that's what I meant from dearth. This time of year there are less sources for nectar and pollen and so you have more cranky forage bees hanging out at home. I have to use more smoke this time of year than I normally do, then again they could have just been cranky that day.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Verona mo
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Not enough space --mad bees

    Thank you, I will move a frame to the top super and see if they will draw out the new frames. I live in the SW corner of MO and we still have abundant flowers. I am hoping for a great goldenrod bloom shortly. My main concern is that they have enough honey for winter. I do have sucrose to feed them for the coldest times. Thank you again

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    721

    Default Re: Not enough space --mad bees

    You mentioned being a beginner, so I hope you won't mind if I add this: Smoke the bees thoroughly along one side of the box to get them out of the space between one of the outermost frames and the inside surface of the box. Then carefully slide that frame over towards the outside as far as possible w/o crushing the comb. Usually you can get it out OK, if you're patient and controlled. Once you have one frame out, prop it up against the side of the hive - or hang it in an empty box near where you're working. That should give you enough manouvering room the get the next one loose so you can remove and exmaine it. Once you've looked at both sides, slide that frame towards the edge and pull and examine the next one, and so on. The outermost frame will be just fine out of the hive during the inspection as it rarely has any temperature-sensitive brood in it.

    When replacing the frames make sure to get them pushed together again as tightly as possible. Work slowly and carefully when first making contact between frames to avoid squashing bees, but after they are touching they can be pushed together with a little more force. Lastly, after returning the outermost frame, push all the frames together to leave bee space on both sides of the comb-mass, along the outer walls. Besides being good for the bees to move around and attend to both side of the frame, that bee space is your wiggle-room for the next time you pull frames.

    I found I wasn't consolidatiing my combs as tightly as I should and once I got over that, things were easier. If you have Pierco plastic frames watch carefully that you don't have a bee caught in the groove along the upper portion.

    Some people do run with one fewer frame in the supers to make extra-thick combs for honey. (Fatter combs yield more honey for the same work of uncapping, but make sure extra-fat combs will fit in your extractor.) I think you will find that bees will fill all the available space, so unless you are deliberately planning on having extra thick honey combs I would keep to the "normal" eight or ten frames that your boxes are designed for. This is especially important in the brood area where mis-formed comb engendered by too-much space will result in willy-nilly brood-combs that will break apart when inspecting. (You don't want to have poor little bee pupae wiggling around on your sneakers like I did this Spring!)

    I find the tiny-but-forceful controlled pushes needed to shift well-filled frames along the frame rest force me to move slowly and deliberately, which is also safer for the bees.

    Enj.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Lakeland, Florida
    Posts
    642

    Default Re: Not enough space --mad bees

    I line the edges where the frames fit with a piece of aluminum flashing. Saves the edges and makes it easier to slide the frames togather.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Verona mo
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Not enough space --mad bees

    I do not mind in the least. Thank you for the advise.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    7,125

    Default Re: Not enough space --mad bees

    Welcome!
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Verona mo
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Not enough space --mad bees

    Thank you. I so want to be a good beekeeper and there is so much to learn.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Verona mo
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Not enough space --mad bees

    Ok I used a ton of smoke and moved a frame up. I can tell they are already filling the upper frames with honey. They are very aggressive and cover me up when I try to inspect even getting in my veil and stinging through the protective clothing. I had to walk away a couple of times to clear my veil. I moved slowly and tried not to squish or drop anything. I could not stick it out long enough to check every frame. These are not the sweet calm bees I started with this spring. They are buckfast bees. They even stake out my front door for an hour or so after I leave the hive which is not by the hive at all. Did I not inspect them often enough earlier...about every 3 weeks. I must be doing something wrong.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Not enough space --mad bees

    I've never had Buckfest, but have heard some people say they can be mean. I would think it's just the time of year. When the fall flow starts in your area, see if they are more docile then. Like I've said I usually don't do a full frame by frame inspection and this time of year I only mess with the supers, unless something is wrong, or so I think. It's normal for them to be cranky and protective this time of year. If you don't like there aggressiveness, I would re-queen, but I'd hate to lose the Buckfest line. I don't think often enough really comes in to play. Do you have any robbing?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Verona mo
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Not enough space --mad bees

    No signs of robbing. I added the frames this morning at 10 AM and they are still nailing us at 4 PM 100 to 150 yard away on the porch and in the garden. I put out some sucrose bags in case that would settle them down. I do appreciate the help.

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