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Hey all, I'm new here as well to keeping bees. I have a couple of questions. I have 2 hives. One is on its third year. Well populated but yet to produce honey in the supers. They havn't even drawn out comb. I'm using plasticell with a queen excluder between the two brood boxes and the honey supers. I have searched on here and I think I will try removing the queen excluder as mentioned in severl post. There is lots of brood and some honey in the brood boxes I just can't get them to draw out the supers, any suggestions. The biggest concern is hive number 2 is own its second year. I released the queen into the hive of new bees on May 19 of 09, I dusted them with medicated sugar power and feed them sugar water as well. They drew out the first box then the second one as well. I didn't get and honey from this hive as well. They didn't draw out the super either. I got them ready for the winter in November. I added a feeder for SW, put in apistan strips and put on a pollen patty. Everthing looked well. I removed the strips and put on a honey super on in feburary. Everthing was healthy. I checked it time to time and comb was not drawn in super. I checked it this past weekend and there were very few bees. Hive number one still has lots of bees but not drawn in the super. Later that day a neighbor told me she saw a swarm of bees earlier in the day. I thought my bees must have swarmed. That would explain the reduced number of bees in that hive. My curiosity got the better of me so I checked it today. Now I'm wandering if the bees I saw were robber bees from hive 1, The top brood box was empty of pollen, honey, and brood. I didn't go as deep as the first box. The queen that was in this box was marked and clipped. Did she die and the other bees leave, or did did they raise another queen and swarm. The bottom box had lots of bees that were not in a good mood. I did not check farther. At first i assumed they had swarmed. But if this were the case would the top box be bare. Some specifics are full bottom entrance only, clipped queen, excluder between brood boxes and supers, 2 brood boxes, lots of fruit trees blooming, first week of 80 degree weather.
 

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Hi Bama,

My guess is the hive swarmed. Bees fill up on honey before swarming, explaining honey loss. It was a warm day... go look around outside, you may be able to locate the swarm and get them back home!

If you suspect your hives being robbed, here is what to look for:

1) fighting bees at the entrance and ground
2)"panic"or a bee frenzy, the robbers will not fly directly to the entrance, but are sneaky, looking for cracks and any way to enter the hive.
3)little pieces of white wax at entrance that looks like dandruff.

Check the bottom frames of the hives for swarm cells that are shaped like a peanut. I bet you find an empty cell..... go find that swarm!
 

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p.s.

Check the bottom of each frame for swarm cells. If even one cell is open and empty, then, you know your bees swarmed. Queen superceedure cells are half way up the frames, you may find a couple of those too.

Bees in a queen less hive are not in a good mood!
 

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Since it appears your hives swarmed, it's time to get them built back up. Nature and the will take care of most of that for you. As they build back up, and occupy the brood boxes, remove your queen excluders. That will help to encourage them to move up and draw out the supers. I've never used plastic, heard too many cons about it. I have heard that if you coat plastic foundation with more wax, that helps entice them to draw it out. Also spray the foundation with sugar syrup and HBH (Honey B Healthy). I've heard that is a big help also. But, like I say, I use only wax foundation in my extracting supers. Maybe someone with more experience with plastic can chime in here.
Regards,
Steven
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, Ya'll

I'm gonna remove the queen excluders, provide a top entrance, spray the foundation with sugar water, and place a copy of making honey for dummies on the entrance board.

A little more background about me. I do not really plan on making a lot of honey. It would be a plus. I would at least like for them to help pay their way. They earn their keep by keeping my clover pollenated. I work as a maintenance electrician at my real job. I also operate a cattle farm. I got into the bees a few years ago to help my clover. Thankfully I know more about cattle than I do bees. One thing that pesters me is when folks ask how many head I have. Now I answer 60 thousand including the bees. Thanks again for the help.
 
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