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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
AS I was placing protein patties in my hives,I noticed one hive where the bees were gathered on the top frames in the top brood box. All other hives seemed to have bees lower perhaps in bottom box due to cool weather. This is one of my strongest hives. I also noticed similar behavior in this hive in warmer weather. Any reason for this?
 

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Over time, without a honey flow, the bees will work their way into their honey stores, which are usually on top. Some beekeepers reverse the supers, bringing the bees down to the bottom, in order to remedy this situation. Strong hives also consume more stores than weak ones. It's also a great opportunity to cull any 'funky' combs which can often be found in those empty bottom box frames.
 

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How strong was this hive relative to other ones? I have seen the stronger hives start spreading out sooner/looser clustered so that may be part of it. As long as they still have enough stores I would not worry about it much
 

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From the 1930's to the 1960's,, the singles usually had 90-95 percent survival. Things have gone down hill alot since then.

What sort of bee? We like the ones withe 4 wings, 6 legs, and the toes down, not up. The breed does not matter much. We prefer Strachan NWC, the bulk are Wilbanks Italians. We had no problem with Koehen Cordovans, so the kind is not a significant issue.

Crazy Roland
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
singles? How do the bees make out? What sort of bees do you have?
Roland
With double deeps bees usually move to the bottom and when we remove supers we encourage this. It is very unusual to see bees on top frames in the upper box where it's colder
There is no choice with single deeps, but I would assume they would stay in the lower part of the single deep rather than congregate on the top frames in cold weather.
 

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They can be anywhere in a single deep, but at this time of year, can often be top to bottom on the middle of the middle frames. This is why I do not understand the problem. If the bees have been fed properly, they should know the best spot to be better than we do.

Crazy Roland
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
They can be anywhere in a single deep, but at this time of year, can often be top to bottom on the middle of the middle frames. This is why I do not understand the problem. If the bees have been fed properly, they should know the best spot to be better than we do.

Crazy Roland
Maybe they have inadequate honey in the bottom deep.
 

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You say it's your strongest hive but, What does it weigh?

Is something driving them out of the lower box?
Is there a mouse nest in the bottom box?

The upper box should be an umbrella of Honey.
 

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You say it's your strongest hive but, What does it weigh?

Is something driving them out of the lower box?
Is there a mouse nest in the bottom box?

The upper box should be an umbrella of Honey.
Yes but if they had been fed heavily and late there might be a lot of uncapped syrup in the bottom part of the frames which they do not choose to cluster on.
 

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AS I was placing protein patties in my hives
So what is the motivation/excuse to place the protein patties in November in Illinois?

The more bee attractants you place above your frames this early (and still too warm), the more are the chances of the bees moving up there.
Be it the patties, dry sugar/fondant.

Though still depends on a particular colony.
Some will do it anyway - arrange on the very top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You say it's your strongest hive but, What does it weigh?

Is something driving them out of the lower box?
Is there a mouse nest in the bottom box?

The upper box should be an umbrella of Honey.
Sorry at the age of 81 Ido not weigh my hives, and I haven't done so for the past 11 years. No there is no mouse as I have mouse guards. Currently it is too cold to take the hive apart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So what is the motivation/excuse to place the protein patties in November in Illinois?

The more bee attractants you place above your frames this early (and still too warm), the more are the chances of the bees moving up there.
Be it the patties, dry sugar/fondant.

Though still depends on a particular colony.
Some will do it anyway - arrange on the very top.
Sorry I disagree as I have heard the before. Based on about 11 years of doing this it works fine.... just limit patties to mostly protein and not sugar.
 

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Two possibilities:
1. They are bees.
(Bees do what they do without asking permission)

2.The cluster is very large, and so they pretty much fill and warm the hive. In that case, there is a warm spot at the top of the hive, and the bees like to hang out there, because it is warm.

I usually expect to find the bees up in the top of the hive, so it is normal for me. But I run 6-frame equipment, so the cluster normally pretty much fills out the box they are in. (I winter in 3 deep 6-frame Langstroths. - Don't ask)

When I put my sugar blocks on day before yesterday when it was a bit warmer, 3 of the 5 hives the bees were at the top of the hive. I worried a bit about the other two, but I could hear them buzzing, so I suppose they will be OK. I'm in SE Wisconsin, where it is pretty cold already.

By the way, I lay sugar blocks on the top frames, pretty much right on top of the bees (giving them time to move if they want to). My wintering success has been good the last two years, but the year before that I was wiped out by Nosema.
 
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