Winter brood arrangement; inspecting today.
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Garland County, AR
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    Default Winter brood arrangement; inspecting today.

    In my last hive inspection the brood were scattered up and down 6 boxes of my 8-fr mediums, usually in pairs - the inner 2 frames of the 8 would be brood. I've been trying to lose 2 of those boxes to get it down to the equivalent of 4 mediums. I know capped honey should go on the outside.

    It's been two weeks since my last inspection. I am sure they have done some rearranging on their own, shutting down for winter (though we've been in 80s this last week). A) If the brood are still distributed that way, should I condense the brood into maybe 4 frames out of 8? B) I don't think I should do more than that, should I?

    I didn't take any honey this year (ugh!) because of drought - too worried about their sustenance. Last in, they were capping the nectar that was in there, had a good number of frames capped, but lots more of nectar only. I did not feed, since they had plenty of nectar, and if they capped it all, they will sit right for winter. C) Is that the right thing to do? I couldn't see the logic behind feeding if they already had tons of nectar. Except I wondered if they needed more feed (if no flow) to create the wax to cap. D) Or will they just utilize the existing nectar to help them do that?

    Thanks!
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: Winter brood arrangement; inspecting today.

    Hmmm, 6 boxes and you had a drought? Feeding doesn't make sense to me either if you have 6 boxes. When I don't know what to do I do nothing until I hear from enough people on this forum paying most attention to those that are close to my area or have tons of experience. Lets see what others will come up with.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Winter brood arrangement; inspecting today.

    Seymore: I don't think I would necessarily need do anything for a little while as far south as you are. Heavy brood rearing should be about over though if they continue to brood heavily it might be an indication of mite stress. Sure you cant pull an empty out from underneath? In any case at some point you should do an inspection and a bit of re-configuration if needed and centralize your brood with honey on the outside then feed as needed. A mite analysis really should have been done before now but late is better than never.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Winter brood arrangement; inspecting today.

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Heavy brood rearing should be about over though if they continue to brood heavily it might be an indication of mite stress....A mite analysis really should have been done before now
    Jim, I have tested and treated for mite. They have stabilized, best I can tell. With a couple of frames per box of brood - that is considered heavy brood rearing? I didn't know that mite infestation precipitated that. I learn every day with bees!

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Sure you cant pull an empty out from underneath?
    I COULD take out frames of nectar, but they needed more honey than they had so i left it all in there so they would convert it.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Winter brood arrangement; inspecting today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Hmmm, 6 boxes and you had a drought?
    Yes, drought. Fed at that time and we have been battling near starvation then mites ever since. They had collected plenty (1:1 in July) but have hardly been capping it. My inspection 2 weeks ago showed progress there so I am hoping to find lots more capped when I go in today. If not, maybe they don't like the necatar? I can look for signs of fermenting, but if they haven't capped enough for winter stores, is it likely they will at this point? We will have a few more days of 80s then start dropping to 60s with nights in 30s. How long does it takes to cap a frame of nectar in spotty 80 degree temps?

    Obviously, I'm trying to go into the hive prepared with all my options so MAYBE I will have a clue what to do.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Palm Bay, FL, USA
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    Default Re: Winter brood arrangement; inspecting today.

    News Flash! Bees eat uncapped honey just as well as capped. What makes you think you have only nectar in uncapped cells? Normally they will only cap honey after the cell is full so you will always have some uncapped honey in the hive.

  8. #7
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    May 2009
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    Default Re: Winter brood arrangement; inspecting today.

    Quote Originally Posted by fish_stix View Post
    News Flash! Bees eat uncapped honey just as well as capped. What makes you think you have only nectar in uncapped cells? Normally they will only cap honey after the cell is full so you will always have some uncapped honey in the hive.
    So what's your point, anchorman?
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  9. #8
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: Winter brood arrangement; inspecting today.

    Seymore: If you actually have 12 good frames of brood them put 6 of them in the center of two boxes. Place 4 of your heaviest frames (capped or uncapped it makes no difference) on the outside. Place a box of honey frames underneath and a box of honey frames above these two boxes and haul the other two in. But I would definitely do another mite check. Yes queens that dont slow down in the fall is a sign of mite stress, its like they sense that there is a problem with hive population and brood viability and they are trying to remedy the problem.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Default Re: Winter brood arrangement; inspecting today.

    Well, boy howdy. This inspection was not what I expected. My "weaker" hive had lots of honey and a good amount of brood. This is a hive that seems not to be affected much by the mites. That hive is good to go, I think.

    My "strong" hive isn't looking so right now. It had VERY spotty capped brood - maybe one side of a frame all together. Very little capped honey. I was able to lose one of the mediums - very little of anything in it. There is very little nectar left in any of the frames in fact, but there are lots of frames PACKED with pollen. So it seems this hive has gone from lots of brood and nectar to negligible brood and negligible nectar in 2 weeks. Wondering why???? It feels like they are starving again! Ugh.

    So - 60 degrees fast approaching. What does feeding them look like now? 2:1? Is there time for them to convert to honey? Jim, obviously I won't be able to follow your suggestions.

    There were some new larva, so queen is still trying. But too little too late? Any clues, suggestions???
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

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