Should I pull this super?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Hamilton TN USA
    Posts
    26

    Default Should I pull this super?

    I have a hive that has 2 ten frame deeps. The bottom is good to go but the top only has 4 frames that have comb on them and filled with larvae and goldenrod and the other 6 have not been drawn out at all. I'm not sure if I should leave that box on with only half drawn out frames or harvest and give them some feed before the winter? Any help would be appreciated. I'm in Southeast Tennessee.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    770

    Default Re: Should I pull this super?

    I'd feed them, and leave the honey for the bees winter food.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,101

    Default Re: Should I pull this super?

    I agree. Feeding them now won't hurt a thing.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,804

    Default Re: Should I pull this super?

    I would consider re arranging so that the partial filled frames are underneath, then feed. What will then be top box will be topped off and more feed stored in bottom. I like to see full capped frames on top deck. That is where to bees will be moving to with the cold weather. What stores are in bottom box will see very little use till spring brood up when it is warm enough for bees to go down for food.

    The arrangement you describe is unusual unless the bees plans have been thwarted. They usually back fill from the top down as brood emerges and brood area is pushed down as things progress into fall.

    Thoughts?
    Frank

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
    Posts
    441

    Default Re: Should I pull this super?

    Hmmm... I can say that I don't see good comb construction unless outside temps are lows in the 50s at the lowest. We in OH have moved out of those temps for some days, not for others... so I would not ask bees to make comb.

    In this part of the country, I would prefer to have the same number of drawn comb above the cluster as below the cluster. https://www.betterbee.com/instructio...ering-bees.asp This article has some info about overwinter with fewer than 20 drawn frames in a 2 deep setup. It recommends that first, you have the same number of drawn frames in each box, and then, put insulation in next to one side of the drawn frames. Don't have any undrawn frames in the boxes.

    So that's one option.

    If you want the bees to draw out comb, and your temps will be high enough (so lows at least mid 50s), then be aware you'll need to feed like 1 gallon every other day. Literally. The bees have to fill comb with nectar, and THEN if the flow continues and the temps are mild enough, they start to make comb. It can take several gallons. I have inner covers where I have drilled holes for quart jars, and can put on a gallon at a time of 2:1 syrup. Or if someone has the 2 pails of 1/2 gallon apiece, above an inner cover, that is a gallon at a time.

    Also keep in mind if the average temp (so, high + low divided by 2) is going to be below 50, the bees can't suck up the syrup anyways. it will be so cold that the bee will chill and not be able to move. So cold syrup is not going to be useful for comb construction.

    A couple of options; the bees can do great with only 10 drawn frames, as long as there are good winter stores (so, no harm in feeding), and varroa is well controlled (get some Apivar), and they can collect pollen (depends on how bad your dearth was).

    Good luck, to you and the girls! This season is a leap of fail (for me still, at 5 years in and 25 hives).

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