bees are not building into the new box
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Union, Washington, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default bees are not building into the new box

    So this is my first year and first bees. I installed my package 4 weeks ago in 8 frame medium box with foundationless frames. Last week they had filled out all but two frames so I added another box on top thinking they would start building in that in no time. I went into the hive yesterday and nothing at all has been built in the upper box, though they did fill out the last two frames in the bottom.

    Did I add a box to soon? Should I continue to feed them sugar water even though there are capped stores? Should I try checkerboarding the frames?

    Another quick question, some of the capped brood looks dark to me could it be foulbrood?

    IMG_3701.jpg

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Cordova, TN, USA
    Posts
    327

    Default Re: bees are not building into the new box

    It sounds like the bees think the top of the hive is at the top of the bottom box still.

    I would take the brood frames and put half in the center of the bottom and half in the center of the top box. Immediately outside of those on each side put a foundationless frame, then a frame of stores, then another foundationless frame, then stores, to fill out the box. The bees should draw out the frames next to their brood chamber. Once they do, swap those with the other foundationless frames - they probably won't draw it out between stores frames. But if they do, you've set them up properly.

    If it is warm enough there, you could possibly put an empty frame in the midst of the brood nest. I've done that here but only once there is no risk of cool temps at night.

    The best way to insure they continue to draw out the frames is to keep feeding. Only stop if you know for sure they're bringing in nectar.

    Boxes should look something like this when you're done. Adjust as needed depending on how many brood frames you have now.

    EHEHEBBEHE
    HEHEBBBEHE

    E=Foundationless Frame
    H=Nectar/Honey/Syrup
    B=Brood

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,866

    Default Re: bees are not building into the new box

    IMO WR's proposal is a little drastic and might indeed slow down the bees expansion. He is right that moving a drawn brood frame up in the middle of the second story will draw the bees up into that space and get them working there. The dark cells you see are pupae getting coloration and are certainly not foulbrood. Good luck with your bees.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Cordova, TN, USA
    Posts
    327

    Default Re: bees are not building into the new box

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    IMO WR's proposal is a little drastic and might indeed slow down the bees expansion. He is right that moving a drawn brood frame up in the middle of the second story will draw the bees up into that space and get them working there. The dark cells you see are pupae getting coloration and are certainly not foulbrood. Good luck with your bees.
    Vance, certainly willing to learn more - what would you suggest?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    rockmart ga
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: bees are not building into the new box

    In my limited experience, I would move up just the two outer frames that they just completed. Put them in the middle of the super with an undrawn frame in between. The drawn comb will make the aware that they have a second story and provide a ladder for them to move to the top. I've never had package bees but would be cautious on breaking up the brood nest.
    Let us know how it works out.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    reidville, sc
    Posts
    131

    Default Re: bees are not building into the new box

    My two cents...

    I added a 10 frame medium on top of my 10 frame medium box started 6 days ago from a 6 (frame NUC). They had 50% of outer two frames started when I added the top box.

    It took the girls the full six days with the new box on top, to start drawing wax up there. They finished 80 % wax on outer two frames of the lower 10 frames first.
    Now they are drawing wax in the center frame of the top box.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    5,486

    Default Re: bees are not building into the new box

    It's not about how many frames are drawn, it's about how many bees you have. Rw, you only checkerboard or split the broodnest when you have a full box of bees with most of the capped brood going to emerge soon. Also, foundationless frames require more bees to properly festoon than foundation. Honestly, I would remove the top box now, move the two undrawn frames in to get drawn. Now you wait and when you have bees covering all the frames and capped brood ready to emerge, you can add another box and checkerboard them completely. If you have a good flow, all your frames should be drawn in less than two weeks and the colony will have them all full of brood, pollen, and nectar.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Battle Ground, WA
    Posts
    370

    Default Re: bees are not building into the new box

    Looks and sounds like you are off to a great start. At four weeks with a package you have a lot of bees at the tail end of life and your young colony is just starting to see new bees emerge from the first eggs laid. Your population is going to be exploding in the next week or so and that 2nd box space will get used quickly. If you have an outside frame mostly drawn it would be nice to move it up to the center of the 2nd box but we're still having cool nights in Washington, I would not break the brood nest up. I'd start to go easy on the syrup, there should be lots of good forage right now and you don't want them backfilling the brood nest. Not saying I'd stop feeding but I wouldn't give them unlimited.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    4,323

    Default Re: bees are not building into the new box

    Bees like to be a bit crowded. The brood frames should be covered in bees. I mean covered to the point that you have to brush them off to see brood. IF you add a super too quickly it will have adverse affects by demoralizing the bees. Sometimes the queen will shut down for a bit.
    When the frames are covered in bees and the frames are 70% full of stores (pollen, brood, honey, nectar) then it's time for another super.
    You can push an established hive a little but not a new package.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Union, Washington, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: bees are not building into the new box

    Thank you for all the input. I feel much more confident going forward.

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