Best Procedure for getting all bees into bottom box
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Erie, PA
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    20

    Default Best Procedure for getting all bees into bottom box

    The first time I have been successful at overwintering my hive. Currently I have just a brood box and a honey super in place. I removed the Queen excluder before winter set in so that they could migrate between boxes to get to their stores. Now that winter is over, what is the best procedure for ensureing they all migrate to the bottom box. so that I can put the queen excluder in place. I do not have faith in my ability to find the queen and relocate her on her own. Also I was told that some of the drones would be too large to get through excluder and once they died they could "clog" up the excluder. My plan was to just push everyone down into the brood replace the excluder and let everyone that is allowed up stairs remigrate.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Stevens Point, WI
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    217

    Default Re: Best Procedure for getting all bees into bottom box

    Put an empty box on top of lower box and then shake/brush off each frame into bottom box thru the empty box...then install your excluder and put your box of comb back on over the lower box. ....probably the simplest / easiest method.
    Help is here to never misplace that hive tool again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvwlSiOzgOU

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,973

    Default Re: Best Procedure for getting all bees into bottom box

    It is easier as Kevin mentions to have a spare empty box to put on top of the bottom box to shake into; kind of like a funnel to keep the queen from falling overboard. The frame can be down inside the empty box a bit on the diagonal so you are not hitting the sides when you shake it. You will find that the queen and oriented foragers shake off easily and the remaining bees on the frame will be young bees.

    I dont spend much time looking for queens unless I want to catch them.

    Put a small upper entrance on the top box to let any drones escape; that is a necessity.
    Frank

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    453

    Default Re: Best Procedure for getting all bees into bottom box

    The shake method is very effective. You can sometimes smoke the top box quite heavy, then slip the qe in, but this has a lower success rate.

    I have had luck using a fume board, to chase most of the bees from the box and slip the qe in, seems the queen will go down even when many nurse bees won't.

    Once swarming concern is minimized, you can just wait till they backfill with honey.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: Best Procedure for getting all bees into bottom box

    Um, before you go to all the trouble of shaking them down, please check that you don't have brood in the super (top box.) My bees always start their brood in the uppermost box, no matter what size it is. If you have brood in the super (but not the deep), then reverse your boxes, (putting the deep on top) and let them brood up into it. Once the brood is there, then you retrieve the super and move it up on top, again. If they have brood in both boxes, you will have to shake them to get the queen down, before installing a QE. Sometimes when you divide brood area when it spans two boxes with a QE, the bees will start queen cells in the upper box. Perhaps not this early, though.

    Do this on a warm day as any brood will be exposed during the process.

    I only very rarely use the deep + medium winter configuration (because it's such a pain in the spring when you have brood in two different sized boxes). But I never would leave a "super" on that I needed for its early-season supering capacity if I used QE below them, for exactly the issue you are dealing with now.. This summer get your bees to make enough comb so you can leave them with whatever boxes that are needed for winter supply, but still have a super with empty drawn comb in it off the hive and ready to install. Some beekeepers also don't like to make harvestable honey in cells that have ever had brood in them because of the remaining cocoons, etc.

    Nancy

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Edmonton, AB, Canada
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: Best Procedure for getting all bees into bottom box

    another method you could do is put a queen excluder between each of the boxes. Check in a few days and see where the eggs are. If you've confirmed that the queen is laying in the top box, then reverse the boxes.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,944

    Default Re: Best Procedure for getting all bees into bottom box

    I agree with Nancy. Reverse the boxes. Wait. Problem solved.
    ...We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are...

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    2,572

    Default Re: Best Procedure for getting all bees into bottom box

    I'd want more capacity below the excluder than one (presumably ten frame deep) box, but that's me. If I needed to put an excluder below the second box, I'd smoke 'em down, knock the bees off the frames, brushing them off as necessary, then setting the depopulated frames, one by one, aside outside the hive. When all the frames from the second box were removed, I'd brush any bees still in the empty second box into the lower box, gently put the queen excluder in place, put the empty second box back on, and replace the frames.
    David Matlock

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Boundary Creek, New Brunswick, Canada
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Best Procedure for getting all bees into bottom box

    I agree with enjambres, you don't mention if you have brood in the upper box or what size super you had on but from my experience with a double deep brood hive, you most likely will have brood spanning both boxes and splitting the brood nest in my opinion is not as productive. If you do have brood in both boxes then why not plan on making splits when the conditions are right in your parts.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
    Posts
    749

    Default Re: Best Procedure for getting all bees into bottom box

    If this is the same hive as the other post where you show a picture of a flow hive super then most of this info provided has been given with some what poor info provided. If you are talking about the flow hive super , then the shake out would be the best option. Also if they have brood in the flow super I would not try to empty it unless you like larvae juice. AND IMO with one deep they will swarm on you, so think about what configuration you want before winter and work toward that during the spring and summer. And I am not sure you want to leave the flow super on for the winter, if they dead out, it can end up messy. The more info you provide the better the advise will be. information, the final frontier.

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