My name is Jake, from Petaluma.
I have a first year package that ie managed to pull 50lbs out of this year. I'm currently at a standstill though. I want to prepare to over winter these bees but they aren't allowing me to. My current set up is 2 deeps and 2 honey supers. But the queen is laying in the top deep and lower super.... Making extraction a PITA.
My main question is how many boxes should I go into winter with? And should I take off the top super or the slightly empty lowest brood box?
Gosh these bee questions are always so complicated.
Thanks for the local input and I'll try to be more active on this forum! I find myself lurking way too much.
I am no expert. I think your queen will move down into the two deeps as winter comes on.
Did you feed your package? For how long?
This is a common occurrence. Several possible things to do:
- put a queen excluder under the super so the bees will hatch out and the queen can't lay any more eggs.
- if you have several hives you can consolidate the medium frames with brood in them to one hive.
- don't worry about it and see if the hive does move down and fill the super with stores. If not, no big deal to winter with an extra super on.
- some people advocate just using one size box (usually medium) so they can rearrange as needed.
I fed the bees for about 2 months until both deeps were drawn. They haven't seen syrup in months now.
I've tried a queen excluded twice, but this pesky queen is small enough where she squeezes above the excluder and then gets stuck up there. Once in the supers she only lays in the bottom one though.
I guess I'll just let them be for the rest of the season and overwinter them how they are. Hopefully they're able to put on a little more stores before winter.
If the nectar flows are not strong enough to keep the bees broodnest pushed down, then they move up into the honey. Frame manipulations can help keep brood low in the stack of boxes, by keeping deep frames of eggs rotated down to the bottom box. Queen excluders can also be used. Feeding long enough to keep the brood down can work also. There are also different options for the box sizes that can help in keeping the queen laying low. Also, don't add boxes too soon in the year when nectar flows are not strong enough to keep the honey moving up and the brooding pushed down.