Strong colony- add/leave at this point in season
Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Greencastle, IN
    Posts
    85

    Default Strong colony- add/leave at this point in season

    I have long Langs. I have mostly foundationless frames, but about 7 frames with foundation that I use to begin and help keep comb straight.

    One of my colonies did exceptionally well this season after beginning it as a split mid-season. When I was in there yesterday, they had almost completely filled out the frames with drawn comb. They have a ton of capped honey, and the frames that I put in just a month ago were drawn and filled with some capped and some uncapped honey. Because I didn't want them to think about swarming, I added a few more foundationless frames in there.

    What do you do at this time of year? I know that they don't have a lot of time left before winter, so I don't want to expand too much. But I also don't want them to feel cramped and start planning a swarm. Currently, the hive is about three-quarters filled until the dividing board and I have those few empty frames in there also that I added yesterday. I have a dividing board blocking off the unused portion. But I've found they can squeeze past the dividing board in one place, and in the past weeks keep trying to start comb in the blocked off portion. I live in Zone 5 in NW Indiana. Thank you for the help!

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,308

    Default Re: Strong colony- add/leave at this point in season

    Quote Originally Posted by Kassafrass View Post
    What do you do at this time of year? I know that they don't have a lot of time left before winter, so I don't want to expand too much. But I also don't want them to feel cramped and start planning a swarm. Currently, the hive is about three-quarters filled until the dividing board and I have those few empty frames in there also that I added yesterday. I have a dividing board blocking off the unused portion. But I've found they can squeeze past the dividing board in one place, and in the past weeks keep trying to start comb in the blocked off portion. I live in Zone 5 in NW Indiana. Thank you for the help!
    What is your dividing board by intent?
    Is it a "pass-around" follower board?
    OR is it a "bee-proof" divider?
    You do one or the other and make sure they work as intended.

    Now, assuming you have a factual "pass-around" follower board - you do nothing.
    It works exactly as should - letting the bees to go around it and utilize the space to relieve the pressure of the temporarily large population.
    Pretty soon the population will drop.
    You have yourself the spill-over space - exactly how the horizontal hives should work with the follower boards in place.
    You may even remove the follower board for now - it is not needed until later in the season.

    The bee-proof divider board is a wrong and bad device for the horizontal hives to have at all times - it defeats one main benefit of the horizontal hives - the automatic expansion/contraction (UNLESS you maintain two separate units in one box - this is the only one reasonable use-case for the bee-proof divider).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Greencastle, IN
    Posts
    85

    Default

    Yeah, it was supposed to be a divider. It worked in another hive when I had two different colonies in that hive. Because the hives were built to the same dimensions, I (obviously wrongfully) assumed it would work in this one. But you are correct, it is essentially working as a follower board, even though it was not intended as such.

    I hadn't thought of it working as a follower board, and so since that is what it currently is working as, I will just replace it with a real follower board and set up some frames on the other side of it so they can draw comb correctly and not from the top as they have been. Thank you!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,308

    Default Re: Strong colony- add/leave at this point in season

    Quote Originally Posted by Kassafrass View Post
    ....... I will just replace it with a real follower board and set up some frames on the other side of it so they can draw comb correctly and not from the top as they have been. Thank you!
    Yep; do that and don't worry.
    As long as there plenty of space for the spill-over bees - there is nothing to worry.
    All my long hives operate that way.
    Some weaker hives I use as storage for the combs and honey - the bees just go around the follower boards and patrol the frames (while not really living there - queen would never go around the follower board, normally).
    Works out well.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
    Posts
    448

    Default Re: Strong colony- add/leave at this point in season

    to give space this time of year, or to help them contract... it is a tough question, because at some point - by the current forecast, that point is soon - the weather will become "fall".

    First, I will say that a hive with a strong urge to swarm will often swarm anyways - there's no keeping them in the box - with a strong fall flow. Those genetics are poorly suited to the midwest, I feel.

    So, if the flow is going on, and the bees have some room... undrawn frames give them something to do. Now, I do not usually find that bees will draw comb out on the fall flow. If yours are, they are keepers, and I would treasure this line and make daughters from her. Plan on like 5 mating nucs for her daughters!! A long hive can easily be 3 mating nucs, or 4, depending on where the holes are. And how bee-tight your follower boards are. But that is a discussion for another time.

    I prefer to give room at the broodnest/honey boundary - it is a much clearer "room still exists" signal than room BEHIND the so-called honey wall. But some hives will find that space behind the rest of the honey and work diligently at it.

    But the drawback NOW to giving space at that boundary, is that once the weather turns, it must be removed or it could be a lethal break for the bees. It could be a gap they can't bridge in deep cold. So, a balancing act to add space this time of year! Extra space at the rear, well, I have not found that to matter.

    I'm just going to put this on your radar now - this hive will be a flight risk come swarm season. In northeast OH, that is May 10-15. I have not found a good way to keep a long hive from swarming - other than removing the queen on May 5-10 or so. 5 days before likely swarming. The virgins will be then flying by May 15-20, perfect timing in my area for swarm season. But finding the queen in a strong hive in May - ha! I would split it up into 5 frame nucs, temporarily, for 5 days or so, until I found the split that had the queen. The rest of the splits would go back to the original hive location, to make queen cells with a strong workforce. I would not keep any queen cells made during the split; I'm finding queens made without foragers bringing in pollen, without at least a very strong 5 frame hive, are just superceded within weeks. A wasted effort.

    But again, just something to put on your radar, to think about the materials you will need for that endeavor.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,308

    Default Re: Strong colony- add/leave at this point in season

    Quote Originally Posted by trishbookworm View Post
    to give space this time of year, or to help them contract... it is a tough question,.......
    A go-around follower board does exactly this.
    Nothing tough about it.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •