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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all this is my first post and I am a first year beekeeper. I am located in Hudson Valley N.Y. I installed a 3 pound package of bees late May into a deep super. The bees did well and drew out frames quickly. In the first deep the queen was laying well and the workers were storing and capping pollen and sugar water. After about 8 frames fully drawn I added a second deep super. Since adding this second super around 6 weeks ago I have noticed the bottom super is basically untouched by the queen or workers. Minimal stores and brood. The second deep is fully drawn and full of capped brood and pollen/ nectar. Is this something I should be concerned with as fall is coming and winter will be upon us in a few months, or will they eventually work their way back down?

I should also mention that 2 days ago I added a medium super to the top as well and stopped feeding sugar solution around 4 days ago.
 

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A minor correction. Hive bodies for the bees to live and breed in are Brood chambers, not supers, Supers are for honey production, as in Honey super.
That said, you should not have added the Medium if the bottom is not full. You are encouraging them to work UP, while leaving comb unprotected. The "Hive" should be pretty full of bees before adding more space. If the bees have more space than they can defend, Pests like SHB or Wax moths can get a foothold and kill a hive. Instead of adding new, unused space, I would reverse the brood chambers. Not sure if NY has SHB problems or not, we sure do and you don't dare leave comb without enough bees to protect it. Down here it's too early for the fall flow, don't know about NY. I am sure that adding space when they aren't using half of what they've got, is a bad idea.

Good luck, glad to see you on the board.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for that input. I have been debating reversing the Brood Chambers :) My concern was that it would disrupt the queen and her natural decision making. I am new to this but I think that SHB have made it to my area. I have seen what appear to be SHB in my Hive. That is the reason I have been feeding mine for so long. It was suggested to me that I continue feeding so that I can keep population up and the SHB in check.
 

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You added the upper box after 8 frames were drawn and they moved up, drew out and laid upper box with capped brood and stores. I would say you should be purring! As the brood emerges in the top box it will be gradually filled with stores and the queen will gradually move down into the drawn out lower box. I would expect to see several outside frames on each side filled with stores. That is the scenario I want to see in late autumn with a total hive weight of 110- 125 lbs.

If you do a search on brood box reversals you will see that it is seldom advised this time year. Spring time yes, fall no.
 

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crofter; is accurate, for our climate in northern ny these numbers are close, for not the biggest colony in the world 100 lbs. would be ok most years. but 130 would be safer for a strong one. the behavior is normal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok so what you are saying essentially is to leave it be. When she is ready she will make the trip back south to the lower brood box. If that is the case then should I still take off the medium super I recently added? Should I continue feeding or leave them to what will hopefully be the start of another flow? Mid August thru September if I am correct in lower NY nectar flow timing. To clarify I don't think I have a population issue. There are a good number of bees coming and going and a good grouping at the entrance. I just want to make sure they get through this winter without issue.
 

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leave it alone for now. take the super off at first frost. if the colony is strong, leave it on. at first frost if both bottom deep boxes are not pretty much full of capped honey then feed with a tank or tub type top feeder. 3 mediums equals 2 deeps this is about the least you want to have for winter. I am talking 10 frame if you have 8 frame stuff re-figure it for the same number of frames. the amount and space for brood will approach zero by sometime in November if the bees follow their plan.
 

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At this time of year I woudl be looking for the bees to get those first two boxes full and ready for winter. What you are describing is consistent with doing that. I woudla gree remove the last box added and allow the bees to focus on filling the remaining two. That they can produce so much brood is a good sign. they are finding forage in adequate amounts. But right now it is going into producing brood. once they have accomplished what they need to they will switch to filling comb with honey. The strong population they are building now is what will make the honey production possible. If there was a bit more time in the season I might go ahead and gamble on that third box. But not in mid August.
 

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SHB came with the package from the south, by next year our climate will get them well under control. population at the end of the flow should be one deep box jammed full of bees hanging off the frames, on a nice day. they will not co-operate for measuring so guess. as the temperature drops the bees cluster tighter and tighter so this measure gets smaller with the same number of bees, it gets down to basket ball size by early winter..
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good to know about the SHB because seeing the larva squirming on the bottom board is not pleasant sight. I appreciate the responses of all who posted. It is nice to know there is a place to go with questions and have them answered by such a friendly and experienced group. Hopefully as time progresses I can help another as you have helped me.
 

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do you have a screened or solid bottom board.

Do the person above. Super = hive body. Super is short for superpositional which is the type of hive langstroth invented in US. Prior to this there were not removal frames or movable boxes. The hive was in a skep basket, terracota or wood. The hive was killed to harvest its honey. Its common for folks to just call the boxes with honey in them supers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
@Burns375- I have a screened bottom board that I check around once a week. Any SHB I see I dispatch, same with the larva I find moving around on the board.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update: I was in hive today. I opted to leave things as they were from original post. The queen has progressed downward and is now back in the bottom brood chamber. Thank you to all who posted.
 

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+++on monitoring for mites.

I'm north of Albany and this is the time to be vigilant about doing mite checks. You don't have too much more time to treat if the numbers spike. And you almost certainly have mites.

At least do mite drop counts, but sugar rolls are one step better.

Enj.

Enj.
 
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