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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I've got a two deep 8-frame colony with two medium supers on it that overwintered well. About a month ago over a two week period the colony made two rounds of queen cells (some swarm cells and others right in the middle of the frame). I made splits with the frames with the queen cells and replaced the those frames with new wax foundation frames. In all six deep frames were replaced in the top deep box about a six weeks ago.

The good news is the splits made it and the original colony went back to work and has not made an attempt to swarm (no new queen cells). All of the replaced deep frames in the original colony have been completely drawn out and these all reside in the top deep box.

Now the odd thing: the queen in the original colony seems to want nothing to do with the newly drawn frames in the top box. She is laying in the bottom deep (which has nothing but the overwintered existing frames) and the first medium super (those frames also were drawn out last year). For a month now the queen seems to be moving from the bottom deep to the first super to lay crossing over all the beautiful open frame - from my eye the frames seem complete and ready to go.

Have any of you all out there seen this? Do you have any advise for me to get the queen to use the new drawn out frames?

Thank you for any help.
 

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Do the new frames have nectar/pollen or are they just completely empty?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Queens prefer to lay in old brood comb. When she fills the frames of old brood comb she'll move to the new comb.
Hey All,

The month old drawn comb is being used for both nectar and pollen but nary an egg has been put in it. Funny how the queen is traveling from the box below to the box above and purposefully not laying in box in the middle.

I would have thought by a month's time she would have started laying in the new comb.

Interesting none the less although i would like to get more production out of that middle box. I'm a little worried that the population will begin to decline with the loss of queen approved egg laying real estate.
 

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I agree with Slow Drone. Move the middle up, but perhaps do a little checker boarding with a couple of the new frames between old frames in the second box. She will eventually use them, then you can continue checker boarding the other new ones later. So your intention is to end up with 3 deep boxes of brood? That would end up being a very strong hive, which can be good and/or bad come winter. It might make more sense to split and get back to more normal size hives? Another possible approach might be to dual queen the hive. However, you would need to have a pretty good handle on what your nectar season is both in timing and quantity, and plan your dual queen populations accordingly. It is typical for those that dual queen, to do so early in the spring, to get the bee count up high prior to the nectar flow, and then either pinch a queen or split toward the peak, to allow attrition to drop the bee count before winter.

We used dual queens to quickly grow some packages last year, to get a bit of honey that we wouldn't have been able to get otherwise, but more importantly to get those packages strong enough for winter, in time for winter. We took 2 packages and succeeded in turning those 2 packages into 6 hives by winter. However before anyone cries fowl, we were not a normal apiary scenario. Do to my work on designing and testing my in-hive warmer, we intentionally entered winter with 4 strong hives, and 2 four frame NUC's, so that I could test my in-hive warmer design through the winter. Dual queening increased hive strength faster than would have otherwise been possible, and we did some feeding through the winter.
 
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