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I have a hive consisting of 5 mediums (3 for brood, 2 for honey). It's been a strong hive all summer, and actually swarmed on me in early July. For some reason the last couple times I've inspected, I am seeing all 10 frames of the bottom box full of nothing but pollen. No brood. Why have they filled the bottom box with all pollen and no brood?

Thanks in advance for your advice.
 

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That's fantastic! That's what they should do, pollen on the bottom, brood in the middle and honey on top. Sounds like they are in perfect condition for winter. A healthy hive is what you have.
 

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Same thing happening to me. This is only my second year as a beekeeper. The hive currently has 2 deeps and 3 mediums on it. The first medium was full of capped honey. They had drawn out the second medium and was beginning to fill it when I added the third medium. Shortly after adding the 3rd medium, I checked the hive and they had moved or ate the honey in the middle 4 frames of the 1st medium and the queen put brood in it. She also laid in the middle 4 frames of the 2nd medium. This is in addition to having 8 frames filled with brood in the second deep. I went ahead and added a queen excluder between the 2nd and 3rd medium and will try to move the queen back down.As of yesterday, the bottom deep is completely full of pollen where the brood would go with capped honey in a ring around the pollen.

This is a top entrance hive with a small lower entrance if that makes a difference.
 

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They had drawn out the second medium and was beginning to fill it when I added the third medium.
This was your mistake. It is too late now but you should have waited until the second was 80% full of honey. If you have a fall flow I wouldn't do anything right now.
 

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They are storing the pollen for late winter/spring build up next year. It a common for them to move up to make space for pollen this time of year if there is no QE. Also if there is a dearth they will move up staying close to the stored honey leaving empty comb below.
 

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This was your mistake. It is too late now but you should have waited until the second was 80% full of honey. If you have a fall flow I wouldn't do anything right now.
Ok, I thought you were supposed to add when they were 80% drawn. Is the correct way to wait until they are 80% filled? I have heard of them filling a super in a day or two before. Don't you risk a swarm if they fill it before you add another super?
 

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Ok, I thought you were supposed to add when they were 80% drawn. Is the correct way to wait until they are 80% filled? I have heard of them filling a super in a day or two before. Don't you risk a swarm if they fill it before you add another super?
What you did would have been fine with a queen excluder. Without an excluder, you want a capped honey barrier between the brood and comb above. The reality is that even if you had waited, they still might have moved up. In a strong flow it sometime seems she'll wander the hive and lay in any open cell. When things have slowed down they'll generally organize things a little better again.
 

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Ok, I thought you were supposed to add when they were 80% drawn. Is the correct way to wait until they are 80% filled? I have heard of them filling a super in a day or two before. Don't you risk a swarm if they fill it before you add another super?
That hasn't been my experience. 80% full means you still have 20% empty and you are talking only about supers. They have to back fill the brood nest before they swarm and brood takes 15 days to emerge. So, 80% full you add another box and pull up two frames in the center and they will draw out the next box. The whole secrete to beekeeping is patience. The bees do all the work.
 

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What you did would have been fine with a queen excluder. Without an excluder, you want a capped honey barrier between the brood and comb above. The reality is that even if you had waited, they still might have moved up. In a strong flow it sometime seems she'll wander the hive and lay in any open cell. When things have slowed down they'll generally organize things a little better again.
They did move beyond the capped honey barrier. The 1st medium above the brood nest had 10 frames of completely capped honey. When the queen moved up, they either ate or moved the capped honey in the middle 4 frames. She laid in those and then moved up into the 2nd medium super of freshly drawn comb and laid in the middle 4 frames too. Just curious now because I didn't think the queen would move past the honey.

I thought the queen could only lay about 2500 a day. I must have one heck of a queen because she currently has 8 deep frames 90% filled with capped brood and 8 medium frames 80% filled with eggs/larvae
 

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I thought the queen could only lay about 2500 a day. I must have one heck of a queen because she currently has 8 deep frames 90% filled with capped brood and 8 medium frames 80% filled with eggs/larvae
Are you feeding?
 

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What cjf 72 and pdave are both seeing is distortion of natural instincts caused by the Lang hive components. In the wild nest, on continuous comb, the bees put pollen below the broodnest as the broodnest expands upward in the spring. It's normally fully fermented, dark and ugly, and only filled to half brood cell depth. This "bee bread" is dedicated to early fall consumption - as the broodnest recedes back to the bottom. Pollen is scarce in the fall of their heritage - extended forest.

This storage of bee bread in the spring is seldom seen in the double deep, but fairly often seen in the all-medium config. The extra break in comb of all-medium sometimes gets it done. In either case, consumption of this reserve should start any day now. It normally starts here in early Aug.

We added an extra step in our full-season mngmt to get it done in the Lang hive. We move a shallow of brood below the basic deep brood box in the buildup period. It gets reliably filled with bee bread. The result is much better, and more consistent wintering.

With the expanded brood volumes of checkerboarding, we have seen queens lay upwards of 3K eggs per day. They can cycle brood in upwards of 15 deep frames at peak brood volume. At 24 days per cycle and 70% occupied cells per frame of 7000 cells, That's a little over 3K per day. Check my math - not my long suit.

Walt
 

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I am not feeding. This has been an unusual year. I still have clover blooming and it is the end of august! It is raining now so things are going to continue blooming. I sat and watched them bringing in a ton of bright yellow pollen today.

Walt said the brood nest will recede back into the bottom deep around august. This is my only concern since it seems she keeps moving up. I just got my extractor so i can start havesting, but i need to determine if i need to do anything to get the queen back into the bottom deep or if she will do it on her own. I don't think i want to go into winter with the cluster already in the top deep for fear of them starving.

Btw thanks everyone for contributing. I am learning a lot from this site. Although most of what i'm learning is that the bees do what the want without much rhyme or reason lol.

Eta i just realized that these are females....its starting to make sense now lol
 

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I have a hive consisting of 5 mediums (3 for brood, 2 for honey). It's been a strong hive all summer, and actually swarmed on me in early July. For some reason the last couple times I've inspected, I am seeing all 10 frames of the bottom box full of nothing but pollen. No brood. Why have they filled the bottom box with all pollen and no brood?
Swarmed, new queen failed = no brood. All filled to the rim with honey. A couple of weeks later you have a drone layer.

So check for queen, add some brood with young larvae. If they draw queen cells, buy a mated queen in full lay.
 

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I don't think i want to go into winter with the cluster already in the top deep for fear of them starving.
They are not going to starve if there is a fall flow and if there isn't you would have to feed anyway. Filling the empty comb above will push them down if you don't keep adding empty comb or foundation.
 

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The oracle of Utica has spoken. Ace, we are talking about a deep of pollen, not as the title says. You can't push the brood into solid pollen. Nor is it readily moved. It typically must be consumed as food.
W
 

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Walt, one person has all mediums and so what if it is a deep? You said it was fermented bee bread but that is not what they said. Pollen doesn't ferment and I see no problem what so ever if the bottom box is pollen. That happened to me. The bees put it there and it is there if they want to use it. If it is still there in the spring he can reverse or just pull it out and throw it on the hive at a later date. If it is above them in the spring they will use what they want or most likely tear it out in a couple of days.
 

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You said it was fermented [HIGHLIGHT]bee bread[/HIGHLIGHT] but that is not what they said. [HIGHLIGHT]Pollen doesn't ferment [/HIGHLIGHT] and I see no problem what so ever if the bottom box is pollen.
OK, Ace, what do you think is meant by "bee bread"? :scratch:

Maybe time for a little reading? :s
Bee bread is a [HIGHLIGHT]fermented mixture[/HIGHLIGHT] of bee saliva, plant pollen, and nectar that the worker bees use as food for the larvae and for young bees to produce royal jelly. Bee Bread increases its’ nutritional value due to the fermentation process performed by worker bees.

http://www.beepharm.com/BeepharmSite/Bee_Bread.html
It is demonstrated for the first time that bee bread is probably [HIGHLIGHT] fermented [/HIGHLIGHT]by the honey stomach LAB flora that has been added to the pollen via regurgitated nectar from the honey stomach. This discovery helps to explain how honey bees standardize the production of bee bread and how it is stored.

http://www.ibra.org.uk/articles/20090701_9
An overview of how pollen gets stored in those comb cells ...
When the pollen foragers return to the bee colony they scrape the pollen off their legs and place it into an empty cell of the honeycomb. Another house bee will come by soon and pack it tightly down for storage. During storage, [HIGHLIGHT] beneficial microbes added by the bees, known as probiotics, will partially digest the pollen [/HIGHLIGHT] making the nutrients more available to the bees. At this point it is known as bee bread and is ready for use as food.

http://www.glenn-apiaries.com/bee_photos_honey_bee_pollen.html
 

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What cjf 72 and pdave are both seeing is distortion of natural instincts caused by the Lang hive components. In the wild nest, on continuous comb, the bees put pollen below the broodnest as the broodnest expands upward in the spring. It's normally fully fermented, dark and ugly, and only filled to half brood cell depth. This "bee bread" is dedicated to early fall consumption - as the broodnest recedes back to the bottom. Pollen is scarce in the fall of their heritage - extended forest.
I don't see this in the spring as much as I see a switch to pollen storage at the end of the main flow. In a 2 deep or 3 medium setup they move the move the brood nest upward and fill in below with pollen. This upward movement starts as the population begins to contract at the end of July or early August. I do see more pollen storage with the 3 medium setup. They tend to fill the whole bottom medium pollen, but don't appear to store the equivalent in the bottom deep. There is definitely genetic variation with pollen storage too with some colonies storing much more than others. I am pretty sure they store some of this pollen right through to spring, quite often topping it up with honey and capping it. I haven't noticed what percentage the winter bees consume to build their reserves. I recall reading that it was scarcity of incoming pollen that triggered the raising of winter bees.
 

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An overview of how pollen gets stored in those comb cells ...
I did not know that all pollen stored in the hive is combined with honey. I do know that it is no problem if the bottom box is all pollen. I pretty much expect it.
 
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