Harvesting - Hoping to get some bees capping and some moving...
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Henrico, VA, USA

    Default Harvesting - Hoping to get some bees capping and some moving...

    Hi folks, harvested what I could this weekend and I've got a couple of questions -

    1) On one hive I had two shallow supers and they had fully capped only about 5 of the 18 frames. Another 4-5 frames are full of nectar but barely capped. Remaining frames are empty. I'd love to get another 4-5 frames of honey so I put the uncapped frames back on the hive along with empty frames in the hopes they'll cap them. At this point the hive has three packed medium brood boxes, a queen excluder, and then a shallow with the uncapped nectar. Anything I can do to encourage them to finish capping those frames/anything else I should be doing?

    2) Hive number two was a different story - swarmed, difficulties raising a queen, etc. - so it's fairly light. It had two shallow empty supers that I've removed. In my manipulations to get it requeened it also wound up with a medium box above the queen excluder which is fairly full of nectar. Very little of it is capped. Given that the hive is light I'd like them to take that nectar down into the brood boxes (now a double deep). To that end I scratched any cappings on all frames and put the medium on top of an empty deep box. So the hive now has two deep brood boxes, a queen excluder, a completely empty deep, and a full medium with nectar/uncapped honey. Any ideas on how to get them to move that nectar down?

    Thanks in advance for all the help. For context our flow is basically over at this point and the bees aren't drawing out foundation (even when feeding them). I plan on mite testing in the next 1-2 weeks so I've got a little bit of time before treating (if needed).

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Columbia, Maryland, USA

    Default Re: Harvesting - Hoping to get some bees capping and some moving...

    If the flow is over, then they probably won't cap it. About all you could do is leave the nectar frames in the hives and hope that maybe some last minute rain will bump the flow enough for them to finish it off.

    Good on you for scratching the cappings, a lot of people miss that and wonder why the bees don't touch it. Just get the scratched honey as close to the cluster of bees and they will take it down. Is the completely empty deep a separate box or are you describing one of your brood chambers? If it is an extra empty box,get that off of there.
    USDA Hardiness Zone 7A, Hobbyist, First Hives in 2017

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Aylett, Virginia

    Default Re: Harvesting - Hoping to get some bees capping and some moving...

    Well David, you are absolutely correct, the flow is over here in the RVA. I would remove any supers that still contain honey, capped or not, and use a refractometer to determine if the moisture content is low enough for you to extract. From this point forward, the bees are more likely to be uncapping and consuming the honey than they are to be capping it. Now is the time to be adding feeders and open feeding pollen sub powder.

    If you want to move the honey from the medium into the deep brood boxes, put the scratched open medium under the two deeps and remove the other empty deep and the QE. The bees will carry the honey up and create the typical honey dome on the upper portion of the comb in the top box.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.


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