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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday I checked my newly packaged in April one, 8 frame English Garden Hive. The super I put on at the first of July still has no comb..none. The bees are crawling around on the frames, but nothing. Now, the 2 deeps (I think I'm saying this right) are completely full of capped honey and brood..afterall these are the brood boxes. Does this sound right??

The last time I checked which was 3 weeks ago, I saw the queen in the second deep doing her thing and everything looked great! I am continuing to feed them as I expected NO honey this year. I was hoping to have at least one more super full so they would have plenty of food for the winter and I thought by feeding them, that it would encourage them to continuing to build comb. Any thoughts on this?
 

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Its likely too late to get any comb built in the super. If they have two deeps completely packed with honey and brood, you should stop feeding them and remove the empty super. You need to leave room for them to raise their overwintering brood, and too much feed may not allow them to do that. Sounds like they are in good shape for the winter, but check again in a couple of weeks. My bees on the other side of the appalachians are burning through their stores as it has been very dry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The two deeps that are completely packed....there is one thing I forgot to mention. It's not completely packed...I failed to mention that on each deep, the outside frames (both sides) are not quite full...I consider these deeps 90% full..does that count as completely full??? LOL!

Are you saying that I don't need to feed them for the winter?? This is the part I'm not understanding, since I thought I was going to be feeding them this winter. Why would the feed not allow them to raise their overwintering brood?? Would you mind explaining that in detail. I'm a real newbie to beekeeping. I have all these beekeeping books that I just want to toss in the garbage can sometimes, :D
 

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WITH THE SLOW SOURWOOD FLOW THIS SUMMER THIS DOESN'T SURPRISE ME. HAVE YOU THOUGHT OF ALTERNATING DRAWN COMB AND FOUNDATION,THIS OFTEN WILL ENCOURAGE COMB BUILDING. B.T.W. WHERE IN WNC ARE YOU LOCATED?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, I haven't thought about alternating Drawn Comb and foundations because I don't know how?? I'm near Hayesville/Murphy, area of NC
 

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I would think it's still warm enough to draw comb in North Carolina. There is probably a dearth or a partial dearth and they are burning up the nectar as fast as it's coming in raising brood.

My guess is that two eight frame deeps will overwinter fine in North Carolina. I would guess they would overwinter ok in Nebraska, with most hives, most winters.

The bees usually seem to leave the outside frames anyway as they move up through the hive during winter and you've just left those out with the eight frame hive.

That's 16 deep frames. Many a beekeeper used to (and some still do) overwinter in a Dadant deep with 12 frames of Dadant deeps (11 1/4" frames) which is about the same amount of honey as 16 deeps (9 1/4" frames).
 

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TWO DEEPS SHOULD BE MORE THAN ADEQUATE FOR OUR AREA. AND YES, ITS PROBABLY TOO LATE HERE TO EXPECT THEM TO DRAW MUCH MORE COMB.
EMAIL ME AT COLDMTNQUEENS AT AOL DOT COM.
 

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I had said that OVER feeding can keep them from raising brood because they often will keep packing syrup into every avaliable cell quicker than the queen will lay in them. Leaving her no where to lay, which is what we call "honey bound". There is a balance between amount of honey and amount of brood. Closer to winter they can fill the broodnest area with honey and that will be OK because they will have already raised enough brood. Right now they need some space in the hive to raise brood.

To try and stimulate them to use those outside frames, you can move frames of Honey into their place and move the frames with empty cells more into the broodnest area so the queen can lay in them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Michael, that makes more sense now..the books don't. I think I will try your suggestion and see what happens. Meanwhile, your sure that I can remove that super and not worry about them being over crowded?? That was my concern..I guess they won't swarm this late in the season will they or will they?? Also, when do you put your first super on in the spring? I know this question is getting ahead, I just don't want them to get over crowded and have lots of space. All the BK's around here talk about how their bees have swarmed like crazy.
 

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>I guess they won't swarm this late in the season will they or will they??

Yes they sometimes do when overcrowded any time of year. They are more prone to swarming in the middle of spring because they want to reproduce the hive, but if they are crowded enough they will cast swarms to cut the population down.

I leave the supers on until the weather is cold partly so the bees can keep the wax moths out of the empty comb and partly so they have room and partly in case there is a huge fall flow.
 

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Cyndi, in your first post you said this super dosen't have any DRAWN comb in it, so you usually don't have to worry about wax moths with foundation, although this year I had some moths get into some stacked foundation, not in frames.

Also a super with foundation won't really help much with reducing "congestion" or reasons that bees swarm. When the queen runs out of room to lay, in the spring, they will often swarm regardless of how much room there is in boxes with only foundation in them, because she can't lay in the empty foundation. I've never herd of a hive swarming in the fall around here. Generally around here people let their hive keep the fall flow to use for brood production and overwintering. Its usually not enough to make any honey out of. Of course I'm not talking about sourwood here, but thats already done with. You can still leave the empty super on however, it won't really make much of a difference to the hive, But I wouldn't bother trying to get them to draw it out for the reasons I mentioned before. I would remove it before winter so as to reduce the area they have to heat.

You want to put the super on in the spring ahead of the spring flow. When that is, I'm not specifically sure for your area.

Its hard to get foundation drawn out in the spring without your bees swarming, since the queen will run out of room to lay before the comb gets built. I've had trouble with that every year as I don't have alot of stored comb. You may want to think about spliting that hive in the spring to prevent swarming. This spring queen shipping was too late, but you can make sure each split has eggs and let the one that ends up queenless raise their own queen.

Alternatively, or in addition to splitting, you can move frames that have been emptied of their honey into the broodnest area
during spring to prevent swarming. Reversing the hive bodies will likely help too. Keeping your bees from swarming will increase the amount of comb you get drawn out, either by splitting or these other methods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So, to split the hive basically entails buying another hive and putting one of the deeps (aka supers)that has eggs, on the new hive and not to worry about whether it has a queen or not. Let the other hive continue to do its thing, but your not sure which one has a queen and it really doesn't matter, is that right?? Does this also mean that I don't have to buy a package of bees for the new hive and I'll save $60??

In addition to or alternately you are saying that the broodnest area is in the deep, (not the entire deep, which is what I've been erroneously thinking) therefore the broodnest consist of only a few frames, whereas the other frames are full of honey and will be emptied in the winter. So, basically I'm shuffling emptied honey frames into the broodnest area to encourage the queen to lay eggs.

Thanks for your patience, one of these day's I'm sure I'll make a great BK'er,
 

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In your case to split I was thinking to just take your two deep box hive and take one deep off and sit it on a bottom board beside the other. Then go through each box and make sure each box has eggs, larvae, honey, pollen and bees. You may or may not need to shuffle frames around to do this. The box without a queen will realize they don't have a queen and SHOULD build queen cells from the eggs to make a queen. You have to go back in about 10 days to look for cells, it should only take 7 days, but 10-12 gives them some time to get it done.

On top of the deep you could put a medium super on or another deep. I'm pretty sure you can overwinter in your area with a deep and one medium, but two deeps is good too, its up to you.

If your hive is really strong right now there could be brood all over. Other times the broodnest can be a couple frames. This time of year you want a fairly large broodnest area to build up a strong colony for overwintering. Of course it takes fuel to build up brood, so it is good to keep a watch on stores during this period making sure they have:

enough food to raise brood,
enough space "cells" to raise brood,
and enough honey to overwinter on.

Usually there is enough goldenrod to fuel the fall buildup, but for me this year, it has been so dry this past month that I am now having to feed for them to build up brood without using up to much of their winter stores.

Its pretty complex to me but with time it becomes easier to manage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Are you saying split the hive now?? OOhh I wasn't ready for that as I don't have another hive. How much longer do I have in order to do this procedure??
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Okay, that's better. So, now the big question is when to split in the spring. What are the major signs to look for??
 

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>Lots of bees and brood. And a honey flow at the same time wouldn't hurt, but usually they all happen together.

That's about it. Early in the spring I'd start feeding to give them a boost and stimulate them. If you keep an eye on the hive you'll notice that the cluster usually will be struggling at first to get going and then suddenly they will explode. The population will seem to double in a week. I wouldn't split before that kind of critical mass happens.

A very good time, timing wise, is somewhere between two weeks before the main flow or right at the start of the main flow, take the old queen and all the open brood except one frame with some eggs and split them off to a new location with one (or more) of the brood boxes. Leave the emerging and capped brood at the old location and let them raise a queen. They will have a lot of bees (all the field bees will return to there) and
will be queenless (at least no laying queen) for the next 28 days with no brood to care for. You'll get a split and a LARGER honey crop than if you didn't do the split. AND you skip a brood cycle at the right time to maximize the honey crop and still decrease the varroa.
 
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