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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
Well things are looking pretty good in my hives. Went in today and bottom boxes are full and top boxes are pretty much 2 outside frames are food with some eggs mostly drawn out. All other 6 frames are full of brood, food or eggs. Pretty much the same in both hives.

I think it looks like it is time to and another box for honey? I have had one hatch (only one so far, installed in April).

Also I have been feeding 1:1 sugar/water and some pollen. Problem with the pollen patties is that they get very melted and rancid looking and the girls seem to leave them alone. I live in West Texas so it is getting pretty warm. I would like to add the other boxes, quit all feeding and leave them alone for a while?

Thanks for all the support for us newbies. You all are a great source of encouragement. BTW 2 weeks ago when I looked into the hives I saw a beeling hatching out! Holy cow it didn't even need a midwife:applause:

Thanks
Kelli
 

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It is time to stop feeding. There is plenty to forage now. Cut the umbilical cord. Your bees need to do their own work now. Think about a honey super and excluder since it sounds like your queen wants to move up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am using 8 frames medium boxes...... so I am just going to add another box on top with a queen excluder inbetween, right?

Thank you
Kelli
 

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Hi Kelli!
You're using 8-frame mediums? How many boxes do you have now? At any rate, you need to add another, and as suggested, no excluder yet. You might not have enough boxes there for the colony's brood nest and honey stores, not even thinking about you harvesting any honey yet.
Regards,
Steven
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Steven,
I currently have 2 boxes on each hive. My queens do seem to be laying alot. On the frames that have lots of stored food at the top she has laid eggs at the bottom and on the edges. We wont be having any more chilly weather and we have had a higher than normal amount of rain so plant wise things should kick up a notch. I did notice on one of the hives that the bees are bringing out some of the pollen patty and leaving it on the porch.

Thanks
Kelli
 

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Hi Kelli,

Thanks for the additional information. With a prolific queen, and 8-frame mediums, I suspect you should plan for a minimum of 4 supers for the brood nest. I recommend you check out Mike Bush's web site http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm, and read all you can find there. Also do a search here about 8-frame equipment. The problem is providing enough room to grow a decent sized population, if you want a honey harvest and want to minimize swarming.

Some folks, because of back problems, compromise with 10-frame mediums instead of deeps. It is all a matter of personal prefernce. Personally, even with back problems, I started with 8-frame mediums, ended up with 10 frame deeps but shallow supers for my honey harvest.

Your best bet for success is to a) Read all you can find about managing 8-frame medium equipment, and b) Find someone nearby who is doing likewise, and learn from their mistakes and successes. I wish I could be more help for you...good luck!
Regards,
Steven
 

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I run all 8 frame equipment. There is no difference in management technique. If you have too much honey in the bottom boxes move it up or out (extract). In 8 frame equipment the bees tend to go all the way to the outside frames with brood rather than a center brood area. No problem! When your bottom boxes are approaching crowded conditions, add a box. Excluder? Up to you! If you add an excluder and have prolific queens, watch the bottom boxes carefully for swarm signs. Same exact thing I'd do with 10 framers. With 8 frame mediums, 3 or 4 brood boxes should be plenty unless you have those "1 in 1000" queens that are trying to take over the world. :D
 

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Hi Fish Stix! Thanks for chiming in.

For the sake of the newbies, how many 8-frame medium supers should they plan on for each colony? This would include brood next, any overwintering food boxes, and supers for extracting. My guess is most beeks don't plan for enough.

For instance, while running 2 deep boxes for brood, I also allow a shallow perhaps for overwintering food, but also 5 shallows for extracting. So that's a total of 2 deeps and 5-6 shallows, per colony.

This information would enable them to plan ahead, and order or make equipment early in the season and not get caught flat-footed in a honey flow rush.
Regards,
Steven
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
After looking at the hives for a while I believe it is best to add another super to each hive for now. Things seem very busy and I just feel like my queens are not going to be confined to 2 medium boxes for brood. I did not realize things would get this "TALL". I started my hives on some cinder blocks, I am going to have to get the hives off of there pretty quick, or else I will not be able to reach!

I feel like things got off to a slow start (not sure if it is my newbie preception or the fact that nights were still pretty chilly here) but they are now picking up. Every frame has something in it. BTW I have quit feeding. I do not like to look at those cells filled up with what I am sure is sugar water.

I appreciate everyones giving attitude. I sat a chair out next to my hives so I could just observe, very interesting, very relaxing.

Thanks
Kelli
 

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Congratulations Kelli! I know you're excited about the bees, and how they're progressing.

You talk about "tall"... I'm in 10 frame equipment. I have a boomer hive that I keep supering, because I want to see how tall it will get with bees and honey. Right now it has 3 deeps, a medium, and 3 shallows. I have to use a small step ladder to get the top boxes on and off to add a super under the extracting supers... I hope to post a pic when I pull the harvest. I'm just real curious, and this is getting to be fun! But I won't do it again, just too tall... :applause:

Take another look at fish stix's posting...he's recommending 3 or 4 8-frame medium boxes for a brood nest. Remember, more bees equals more honey.
Regards,
Steven
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I saw his post and was planning on adding that 4th box......... but I guess I thought I would wait for them to fill up the 3rd one a bit. Should I go ahead and add it now for a total of 4? Or does it matter? Seems like it would help cool things off. It gets very hot here and the last weeks has been 95 every day. I must say I have been somewhat concerned about that........

Thanks again
Kelli
 

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When they are starting to draw out the 7th frame, I'd add the fourth box. If they've already drawn out all 8, add the 4th box. As you come out of spring, and head into the honey flow, and during the honey flow, we need to stay ahead of them. Right now my hives are getting a 10-frame shallow super with foundation, drawing and filling it with honey in one week. A couple of them are doing it faster. :applause: As long as they keep drawing, I'll keep adding supers. As George Imirie has said, drawn comb is our most valuable possession.
Regards,
Steven
 

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I don't run mediums for brood boxes but I think you should plan on 3-4 for brood. Some of our hives have 2 deeps and a medium for brood right now but most have 2 deeps. As far as honey supers I try to keep 4-5 available for each hive. Some won't need that many but others will fill five in a hurry. We use a lot of deeps for honey supers so that we have plenty of drawn comb for splits and for opening up backfilled brood boxes.
 

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You definitely need AT LEAST 3 medium supers for a brood nest. If you crowd that queen they will probably swarm, and there goes your honey crop.
When I add surplus honey supers I check them often to see if they are drawing comb. My honeyflows are never "tidal waves". Sometimes they don't materialize at all. If you leave foundation on them when they are not drawing it they will damage it ( chew it up, track it up, etc. ). Supering for a flow is very important ! Sometimes newbys over-super or leave unneeded supers on too long. It just bears close supervision.
Bees only draw comb when THEY ( not you ) think they have an immediate need for it. They never "plan ahead" on drawing comb.
 

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Excellent points Raymond. Let me add another encouraging word. If I have a hive that's drawing comb, I'll keep adding supers as long as they're drawing. If I have a slower hive, obviously I won't keep adding supers...instead the supers that were earmarked for that hive will go to the one that is drawing. That way I'll have a good supply of drawn comb for "next time" whenever that might be.

I try to allow 5 shallow extracting supers for each of my colonies. Some need more, some need less.
Regards,
Steven
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just wanted to give a quick update........ looked in on the bees today. Just a quick peek into the top boxes I just added. I did not expect to see much but there was a ton of activity. Bees on almost every frame, working. I did not pull any frames but just looked in. Looked like they appreciated the extra space. I think I will wait another week to look to the if things are drawn out and if there are any eggs.

Blessings
Kelli
 

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If you are so inclined, do not hesitate to spot check your frames to see exactly what they are doing. It may vary considerably from frame to frame. If this is going to be brood best, hopefully she will be laying near the center. If this is going to be a surplus honey super you may have to use a queen excluder to keep her out of it.
YES, there is a ligitimate need for a queen excluder sometimes, especially in a new hive where ALL the comb is white. As your brood combs darken she will be less likely to stray into surplus honey supers. She likes to lay in those old black combs. She needs plenty of room.
One deep super for a brood nest is NOT ENOUGH ! Even one deep and one shallow is crowding her. Two deeps is better if you can stand to lift them. I use 3 mediums. That is plenty for even the best queen. AND it greatly reduces the need for a queen excluder.
Do not hesitate to check your newly put on supers, even every day.
 

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Kelli, plan to add another super next week, either for brood nest, or honey storage. Keep giving them room as long as they'll use it. When they don't want it or need it, they won't use it. But until then, keep adding, you want them to grow strong, and give you honey.
Regards,
Steven
 
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