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bees not pulling out foundation

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I started with two hives last year. They built up fine 1 deep and 1 medium for the bees. No surplus honey last year even though I installed 1 shallow with foundation on each hive during the summer flow. No surplus fine first year not expected any way. This year placed the shallows with foundation whenthe hive was going through growth and a flow was on. They still have not drawed out the shallow suppers. They fill the medium and stop and start swarming. I know that I missed a swarm or two from my hives and now it seems that they have swarmed again because the population appears to be some what lower and the honey stored in the mediums (bee's honey) was capped and now it is uncapped with a good portion missing and they are filling it again upon last night's inspections. The amazing thing is that they are filling it quicker then they did earlier in the year and the population is still big enough to go through the winter with. So now the question is what am I doing wrong that they are ingnoring pulling out the super. They just always seem to hang out up there not pulling anything out and when I try to feed they just store the sugar down below and when it gets crowded they leave.
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1,210 Posts
Are you using a queen excluder under your undrawn supers? This could cause a problem.

Do you spray your foundation with sugar syrup? This would help.

Do you add more then one super of undrawn plastic foundation at a time? If so, only add one at a time, wait till they work it over pretty good before adding the next box.

I have also recently made sure the frames were in that housel position. I do whatever I can for success.

85 Posts
I'm by no means the expert but I got my bees to draw comb faster in the supers by "baiting them" with two frames of capped and uncapped honey in their super that I took from another hive. I also sometimes spray the foundation with heavy sugar syrup.
What kind of foundation are you using? I have heard that some bees don't take to readily to plastic foundation.

They tend to be a little fickle, two of my hives consitently draw out just one side of two or three frames before starting on the other side.

Perhaps it is a seasonal thing as well? -- Any thoughts on that Michael?

Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
54,344 Posts
>Perhaps it is a seasonal thing as well? -- Any thoughts on that Michael?

It's definitely a seasonal thing. I think people often put plastic on at a time when the bees wouldn't even draw wax and then blame the plastic.

In this case there also seems to be a genetic tendency in this particular hive to hoard honey in the brood area instead of the supers. If you were running all the same size frames you could pull some honey out of the brood area to bait the supers and free up the brood chamber for the queen to lay. Maybe there is some brood in the medium that is on top of the deep? If so maybe you can pull some of the honey out of it and leave some empty frames in the middle of the brood for the queen to lay in. Granted they will try to fill it, but if you can get the queen room to lay in it, they can't fill it until the brood emerges.

A queen excluder does also deter them from putting the honey above it. If you had to squeeze though something like that every trip with a heavy load, you'd drop it before it too.

Also I would put the empty super right on top of the brood area and the full ones on top, if the bees were acting like this. Since that's where they want to put the honey anyway.
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