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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Going into winter I had a hive of two deeps with the nest contained in the lower one of the two. The upper had ~5 frames with old comb in it and the rest were empty frames. Yesterday when I checked the hive, the nest had expanded into the upper box, new comb had been drawn on much of the outer frames and had eggs in it, and the center frame had empty cells in the middle (I assume that means that one generation has already hatched). There was nectar and pollen throughout, but not as much as I thought there would be...

I have a couple questions:
  • Should I add an empty super at this point? As they are approaching capacity I feel like I should put a honey super on top. Fruit trees are about to bloom here in San Diego, so I am predicting an increase in nectar over the next few weeks. I am out of drawn comb at this point, so it would just be empty.
  • Should I be worried about the low amount of nectar/pollen? I fed them at the end of December and they quickly gobbled it up. I can easily feed them again but I don't want to contaminate any nectar that would be coming in soon.
  • Would a queen excluder encourage the lower frames to be filled out instead of the nest continuing to grow upward? I have read Walt Wright't book on nectar management and he seems to imply that the brood nest will just continue growing upward if space is provided. I am hight limited due to local codes so I can't make my stack much higher...

Thanks for the help!
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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If the nectar flow is truly imminent, I would rotate the upper box to the bottom and add the undrawn super. I imagine the current lower box is mostly empty and this will give the queen space to move up. Do not put in the QE or the super will likely not get drawn. If stores are really light, a little fondant might help. The bees will not store it in the super. Chances are good though there is already enough forage out there for them to manage until the flow starts. Try giving them a little pollen sub in either patty form or as a dry powder if that is also a concern.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Hmm, add two supers, no QE, and do you want more hives? Sounds the girls are ready to be split.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Interesting - I hadn't considered that option. Yes, a second hive would be nice.

This hive was a cut-out late last year with a mail-order-queen after they failed with supersedure. As a result I was limited to the comb that I cut out, hence the empty frames. I had thought that letting them fill out the available space with comb would be a higher priority... (?) (but now that I write that out I question my reasoning...)
 
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