Would you add room this late in the season?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    San Antonio, TX - Ottine, TX
    Posts
    7

    Default Would you add room this late in the season?

    I'm in San Antonio, Texas zone 9a

    In October I caught my first small swarm, these are my first and only bees. All my equipment is medium foundationless 8 frame, so it is essentially the same volume as a 5 frame deep.

    Because of our non-winter weather in San Antonio (it was 75 today) so far they have filled the box to the point I am afraid they will be too crowded. I've been watching them fill the box thinking they would slow down for winter but they haven't.

    I checked them today and they are bursting with lots of bees on every frame, large areas of capped brood and heavy honey frames. They are still making comb and no more space to put it. Ten days ago I would have said 70-80% built out, today no vacancy.

    These are urban bees so there is a total diversity of plants and they are still bringing in lots of pollen and have been every day.

    Our 10 day forecast predicts 60s - 70s - then mid 50s through the 20th. No doubt it will get colder soon, in Feb & early March, it is Texas.

    I'm thinking to add a box to this box with follower boards on both sides to make it basically 6 over 6, so I would be adding 4 new frames.

    Brood is mostly on 4 frames.

    Should I leave the brood all together and put open frames above them with a honey frame on each outside, or split the brood and add the new frames each side then the honey.

    Any advice would be appreciated thanks Marvin

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    798

    Default Re: Would you add room this late in the season?

    Don't split the brood. If outbox space, add the second box as you described. I'd feed them 2 to 1 for food storage, and 1-1 for drawing the comb. Others will advise maybe better. You still have time to build up before your winter comes. I'm in bama, and we are wet right now. Cold the warm spells. Our winter hitting Jan and Feb here. Good lick.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,944

    Thumbs Up Re: Would you add room this late in the season?

    RichinBama gave you good advice. Bees do not build comb until they need it. Since you are in the sun belt and have mild temperatures now, and since your swarm is in its initial build up, and since you are considering Rich's advice to feed, I would feed 2 to 1 or 3 to 5 sugar syrup as long as they will take it. That will give them impetus to draw comb in your new frames if the weather holds out and insure enough winter stores for the spring build up. Your spring build up is already started. Do not mess with the brood nest with cold weather coming. We saw -7 degrees F in the early 1980's in San Antonio, so it can turn cold enough to freeze your pipes! HTH
    Last edited by Lburou; 01-07-2020 at 12:32 PM.
    ...We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are...

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    San Antonio, TX - Ottine, TX
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Would you add room this late in the season?

    Thank you both for your advice.

    Marvin

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,143

    Default Re: Would you add room this late in the season?

    4 frames of brood = 8 frames of bees. Add the second box, but give them all eight frames to work on. Put two of the drawn frames in the new box directly over the brood nest with three frames on each side. Put an empty frame on either side of the brood nest and leave the honey on the two outside frames. Eight new frames that the bees will probably get mostly drawn before it gets chilly there. I remember the early 80's when all of south Texas froze. Broke my in ground hot tub that I had turned off for the winter.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    San Antonio, TX - Ottine, TX
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Would you add room this late in the season?

    Thank you JWPalmer. I followed your lead and got it done today. Fingers crossed we don't have one of those Texas gotcha February's we have sometimes

    Last year I think it only got below 32 twice. We've got 70s/50s predicted for the next 10 days.

    The feeder on top with 2:1 has insulation on top of that stays on. I have panels that I put on the sides when it's going to dip into the 30's and take back off when the sun comes out.

    They were packed tight! Heavy with honey, have been making comb They've gotta like the space while the sun shines.
    never park all your tractors in a row

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,143

    Default Re: Would you add room this late in the season?

    Good job, the bees thank you. They will probably show that thanks by drawing a bunch of frames for you and laying one or two up. Or they will swarm on you. Being female, they can be quite unpredictable.

    I think it was the winter of '80 when it snowed enough in Humble to build snowmen. Texas gets some fickle weather.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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