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I'm a new beekeeper with a hive built of two "large" boxes separated by a queen excluder.

A couple of weeks ago, my queen somehow got above the queen excluder. I opened the hive to find the top box full of brood, and the bottom box full of pollen. And of course, lots of drone heads caught in the excluder.

The guy I bought the swarm from helped me swap the top and bottom boxes. He said that the frames full of pollen aren't good for anything - I should just scrape them off and hope the bees will be willing to build new comb on them. (Plastic foundation - they built fine the first time.)

That seems a lot of bees' work wasted so I'm looking for a second opinion. I've read that in colder climates (I'm in San Jose CA, zone 9b) bees are sometimes fed "fake pollen" patties in winter. If I scrape/shake the pollen out of the frames (it's pretty crumbly), can I put it back in the hive somehow and let the bees eat it?

(To be precise, the frames aren't _totally_ full of pollen - there are little triangles of honey above the pollen. I got maybe 6-7 oz from the frame I pulled and scraped today. Kind of sad.)

Thanks...
Chris
 

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If you intersperse the frames of brood with frames of pollen, you'll be surprised how quickly the bees can turn frames of pollen into frames of brood. Usually happens soon after pollen forage availability slows down.
 

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A couple of things in reaction. It takes a frame of honey and a frame of pollen to make a frame of brood. Or the equivalent. So, I disagree w/ your advisor. You should leave that pollen alone and let the bees deal w/ it.

Also, if you scrape comb off of plastic foundation what I find is that bees do not rebuild that comb. So, I wouldn't.
 

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Also, if you scrape comb off of plastic foundation what I find is that bees do not rebuild that comb. So, I wouldn't.
That's interesting, I have never heard of that happening before, I thought that was one of the benefits of plastic, that you could scrape it off if wax moths got into the comb and ruined it, and the bees could rebuild it.
 

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Try it and see. Maybe you will have a different result. I have plenty of plastic frames w/ bare patches (not bear patches, those go on the shoulder. wink, wink) that are 5 or 10 years old and never built out.
 

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I thought that was one of the benefits of plastic, that you could scrape it off if wax moths got into the comb and ruined it, and the bees could rebuild it.
If you scrape it off, you must coat it with wax for the bees to rebuild. I keep a bar of beeswax with me. When I see a bare spot, I rub the bar across it and they'll then rebuild. Of course, if I've scraped a whole frame I throw that it a box and later when I'm coating frames with beeswax that I've melted, I'll redo the entire frame...
 

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Don't waste those pollen frames, but...
Frames not correctly drawn out or damaged by SHB or Wax moths? Scrape off the spooge - that's it - don't wash it, wax it, spray it with joy juice or genuflect to it...



... just put them in a moderately strong hive during a decent flow that needs more comb. Check back in 2-3 weeks...



The conditions have to be right. I rehabbed at least 50 frames like this during the wax season this year. It helps to put them in the right place in the right hive at the right time. By now - late June - they wouldn't touch that frame. May as well just box them up till next April.

It sure doesn't hurt to rub some wax on them. A nice thing about black foundation is that on a sunny day it will get hot enough to melt the wax when you do that. Of course it can also melt the plastic if you forget about it.
 

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Impressive.... nice visuals and Im using plastic .. my results are in that direction in some of the weaker hives but putting extra wax on sure helps.

The conditions have to be right.
 

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Slightly off subject, but why do you have a QE between your two brood boxes? Typical setup in the Bay Area is two deeps for the brood area, with honey supers on top (sometimes separated from the deeps by a QE).
 

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Slightly off subject, but why do you have a QE between your two brood boxes? Typical setup in the Bay Area is two deeps for the brood area, with honey supers on top (sometimes separated from the deeps by a QE).
Basically, the upper box was intended to be a large honey super. I've been told that Bay Area winters are so mild you just need one brood box to get them through the winter.

I know large honey supers will get really heavy. I'm pretty strong. Also, in this first year, I'm thinking about pulling individual frames and extracting them as they're finished. I want honey!
 
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