Too many bees?
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Thread: Too many bees?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Frederick, MD
    Posts
    53

    Default Too many bees?

    We have a Draper rotating obs hive. Single layer. Shallow frame over three deep frames. I saw the queen yesterday. Tons of bees on all frames. Frankly, I expected it to swarm a few weeks ago. On one side about 1/5 of the glass is covered with wax. But there is a good amount of condensation on inside of the glass on both sides. We have not opened or cleaned it since spring when we pulled a frame of brood with bees to make more room. Should we open it now for cleaning? And to remove about 1/3 of the bees? We would replace the queen when done. The frame of bees we remove would be replaced with a frame of empty, drawn comb. We would remove the bottom deep frame and replace it with the empty, drawn comb. Is this a good plan to reduce the congestion and condensation?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,842

    Default Re: Too many bees?

    I have a similar Draper hive on a "Lazy Susan" base. The space between the glass was too much (2 1/4") and it would get burred up pretty badly eventually. As far as getting through the winter that probably provides more privacy and insulation as well as stores but it also keeps you from being able to see what's happening. I like them to go into winter crowded, but if they decide to swarm this time of year it will probably mean they won't make it through the winter. They tend to leave with too many bees when they swarm and this is not a good time of year for that. You could clean it. I usually put the frames of bees in a nuc with the entrance near the tube, which I block with a piece of cloth and a rubber band. Then I can clean the hive at my leisure. The glass can be scraped with a razor blade scraper and then washed with windex and then aired out until it doesn't smell like amonnia anymore. I would be careful trying to get less bees. An observation hive tends to boom or bust. One way to get rid of the older bees would be to put all the frames in a nuc and put the nuc 100 yards or more away (further than some other hive) and wait for all the homeless field bees to give up trying to get back in (with the tube blocked of course) and they will spiral out until they find the closes hive and move in there. Then put the frames from the nuc back into the (now cleaned up) observation hive and again the field bees will return to the nuc site and spiral out until they find another hive and move in. You now have less bees in the observation hive and all of them are young and not old...

    http://bushfarms.com/beesobservationhives.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Frederick, MD
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Too many bees?

    Thanks for the great tips! I have a second Draper that I maintain at a local earth & science lab. It DID swarm mid-August. I caught the swarm and put it in a nuc at my home apiary where it grew nicely. Great queen from this past spring. I found and marked her. The swarm left the Draper packed with capped brood, so yesterday it was FULL of bees. Two layers of bees on both sides. But no brood of any kind. And 90% of cells filled with nectar/sugar water/capped honey. No queen could be seen. Yesterday we removed the three deep Draper frames and again checked for the queen. None found. In their place we put the old queen along with three frames with adhering bees from the nuc that has been growing nicely - two frames with capped brood under one frame of honey. I figured when the brood emerges there will be a goodly amount of bees. Will be working on that first Draper next week. It still has its queen, but I think has too many bees. Since we have little time or space to work the hive given all the kids running around (it is in a park Nature Center) I will probably just remove the bottom deep frame with adhering bees, replace it with a frame of drawn comb and close it up. Thanks, again.

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