No food in brood boxes, plenty in super
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    Berkeley,CA
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    Default No food in brood boxes, plenty in super

    Hey gang, maybe I'm overthinking this:

    I want to set up my hive for winter. I have deeps for my brood boxes and smaller boxes for honey supers.

    My top deep is very busy in that it's full of brood, but there is almost no food.

    I have two supers on top, and one has almost 9 full frames of honey and the other is uncapped and happy.

    I'd like to keep the queen out of the supers because of the difference in box size. If I could go interchangable size this problem would be simple, but since I have different size boxes, I'm wondering:

    Is there a way to encourage the bees to bring the food down from the supers so I can pull the supers off and not have the queen laying in them? It seems my other option is to leave the capped honey, pull the other super and now I end up with brood boxes of differing sizes. not ideal.

    Ideas?

    Cheers!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Mogollon Rim, Arizona 85933
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    747

    Default Re: No food in brood boxes, plenty in super

    In Michael Palmer's lectures he suggests you reverse the honey supers under the brood box to force them to move it up into the brood box.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    2,749

    Default Re: No food in brood boxes, plenty in super

    Placing the honey below works well, it speeds the process if you scratch the cappings when you place the super on the bottom board. What do you mean by uncapped and happy?
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Berkeley,CA
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    4

    Default Re: No food in brood boxes, plenty in super

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    Placing the honey below works well, it speeds the process if you scratch the cappings when you place the super on the bottom board. What do you mean by uncapped and happy?
    By uncapped and happy I mean that it's doing well, but the honey is uncapped.

    It sounds like there is consensus on what to do.

    Should I be worried that the queen will lay in there?

    Cheers

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
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    Default Re: No food in brood boxes, plenty in super

    If you want to be sure the queen doesn't lay in the supers you can put the supers on the bottom board and then put on an excluder. You would need to create an entrance above for drones, but that is easily done by sliding the top deep 1/4 inch to the rear. The drones and the field bees will start using this entrance. It will take several weeks for the bees to move the honey, will your weather stay warm enough for the bees to work?
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Berkeley,CA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: No food in brood boxes, plenty in super

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    If you want to be sure the queen doesn't lay in the supers you can put the supers on the bottom board and then put on an excluder. You would need to create an entrance above for drones, but that is easily done by sliding the top deep 1/4 inch to the rear. The drones and the field bees will start using this entrance. It will take several weeks for the bees to move the honey, will your weather stay warm enough for the bees to work?
    The weather here is just like summer. I think I'll have a few weeks for it to sort out.

    As an aside, what I had been trying was the inner cover and excluder above the brood and below the supers. It seems to have been working somewhat and is nice in that I didn't have to rearrange the whole hive. That said, that seems to not be a popular trick so I'll try it how you all mentioned it.

    So after a couple weeks I should be able to pull that super off the bottom of the hive? The tell is if the brood boxes have a good amount of food?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Chardon, Ohio
    Posts
    689

    Default Re: No food in brood boxes, plenty in super

    You do not have much of a winter and probably have something blooming most of the winter so do not need huge stores. Harvest the honey if it is ripe and feed 5:3 sugar water using about 40 pounds of sugar. Feed from a couple of inverted gallon paint cans on top of the hive and inside an empty deep and they can store that much sugar water in three weeks. If the honey is not ripe put it on the bottom board with an excluder over it and let them move it up.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Berkeley,CA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: No food in brood boxes, plenty in super

    Thanks everyone. You're all extremely helpful!

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