How to return some unextracted frames to hive?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Santa Ynez, California, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default How to return some unextracted frames to hive?

    Greetings!

    Here is some backstory to provide context for my question:

    I live in southern/central California, USA, and have two hives and have been beekeeping for 4 years. Both hives have two deeps on the bottom, then three mediums on the top. We generally harvest the top two mediums and always leave the bottom of the three mediums for them. It has been a very productive spring, summer season...lots of stuff is still blooming in early Sept. Both hives seem very robust and healthy. In June, we harvested the top two mediums on one hive, and one of the top two mediums on the other hive, then put the wet frames back on the hives for them to clean-out and refill. A few days ago, we got our second harvest. We took the top two mediums off both hives, but 8 frames weren't really finished; we knew this was the case when we decided to harvest, but rather than leave the mediums on there any longer, we kind of figured that...even though lots of stuff is still blooming...they weren't making much progress on finishing those frames. We figured they must be about done for the season.

    Here is my question: We want to put those 8 frames back for them to reclaim their honey, and once they have done that, we will remove these temporary top mediums, and leave them with their two deeps and one medium for the fall and winter. There is currently an inner cover on top of their medium in each hive. To return the unextracted frames, we are planning to get two medium boxes...one for each hive...and put four frames in each, and put these temporary mediums on top of the inner cover. Our thought is that leaving the inner cover in there will discourage the bees from repacking these returned frames, or brooding in them.

    Is that a good strategy or is there some other way I should go about giving them their unextracted honey back? Anything else I should know?

    Thanx,

    Otherchuck

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Otsego County, NY, USA
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: How to return some unextracted frames to hive?

    with or without an inner cover, where you are I don't think it matters. Just above an excluder.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Santa Ynez, California, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: How to return some unextracted frames to hive?

    Thanks for the advice about the excluder!

    Otherchuck

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,742

    Default Re: How to return some unextracted frames to hive?

    I have found on occasion that the inner cover was needed. Even reduce the hole in inner cover to about 3/4" dia. Sometimes they insist on refilling them rather than haul it down. If you have spare boxes put an extra empty between the honey super and the inner cover to give them even less notion that honey super up there is part of the colony.

    You might not have to get so drastic as they sometimes set in immediately to move it down, as John M says, even without the inner cover in place.
    Frank

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lumpkin County, GA
    Posts
    851

    Default Re: How to return some unextracted frames to hive?

    Put your supers out so the bees can open feed. Put something under the super to collect the wax bits that get chewed off.
    Doing it this way, you can be guaranteed that 1) the bees will not start refilling the super frames and 2) you will not have to clear the bees from the super again.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,742

    Default Re: How to return some unextracted frames to hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by ericweller View Post
    Put your supers out so the bees can open feed. Put something under the super to collect the wax bits that get chewed off.
    Doing it this way, you can be guaranteed that 1) the bees will not start refilling the super frames and 2) you will not have to clear the bees from the super again.
    The only problem here is if you want to be selective to feed the needy, not the greedy I have some colonies that would quickly lap up the findings but they dont need it. Then too there is sometimes robbing concerns, or feeding the neighbors bees.

    No question that open feeding is the quickest way of getting them cleaned up.
    Frank

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Lassen, California, USA
    Posts
    656

    Default Re: How to return some unextracted frames to hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by ericweller View Post
    Put your supers out so the bees can open feed. Put something under the super to collect the wax bits that get chewed off.
    Doing it this way, you can be guaranteed that 1) the bees will not start refilling the super frames and 2) you will not have to clear the bees from the super again.
    I've done what ericweller has suggested. I just hated to see the comb get all torn to bits, but it works.
    Some days it's not even worth chewing through the restraints.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Spring, Texas
    Posts
    254

    Default Re: How to return some unextracted frames to hive?

    I tried that last year and all the bees started to refill the mediums that were on top of the hive above the intercover.

    I robbed my two hives and did 28 of 40 frames and pulled the second super on each off on both only to find out from the fat beeman that I had too many bees and needed to add the supers back for room. Now have 35 of 40 full again plus 12 frames from the 4 brood boxes that were honey bound in deeps sitting on top of the mediums. I will check later to see if I need to add any of the deeps back in for winter.

    Left the extracted frames out in super this July and had the bees cleaned them up except for the spots where the honey was still capped. Did not get a great cleaning job.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,897

    Default Re: How to return some unextracted frames to hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by otherchuck View Post
    ...
    Is that a good strategy or is there some other way I should go about giving them their unextracted honey back? Anything else I should know?

    Thanx,

    Otherchuck

    The main strategy is - those frames should be considered by the bees as-if "outside" of their nest.
    If they are "outside" - they will clean them.
    If they are "inside" - they will refill them.

    You want those frames "outside", per your particular need.

    Now go and do it - however it works for you the best - there are tons of options as already discussed.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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