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I have a colony with two deeps. All 20 frames are pulled with comb from last year as this was my fist successful overwintering of a colony. Bees are covering about 50% of all frames and the queen is laying as I have capped brood. There are at least 4 frames of honey leftover from winter in the deeps with brood. I don’t want to encourage a swarm so I put a super on about 4 weeks ago. None of the foundation has been pulled with comb. I have a hive top feeder on top of the super. Location is central Michigan if that matters.Do I just need to be patient for the colony to start feel crowded before they will pull comb on the frames in the super and begin to fill with honey? Any ideas on what to do next would be appreciated!
 

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Assuming the your bees didn’t swarm on you, sometimes it’s like pulling teeth trying to get them to draw comb on plastic foundation. Rubbing wax on the plastic will help get them going. It will try on your patience sometimes.

Ryan
 

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put a frame of brood up into the super to encourage them to move up.Give the sugar syrup.
Once they have drawn out the super and probably put eggs/brood in it put an excluder below it. Once the brood hatches they will back fill with honey
 

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put a frame of brood up into the super to encourage them to move up.Give the sugar syrup.
Once they have drawn out the super and probably put eggs/brood in it put an excluder below it. Once the brood hatches they will back fill with honey
Unfortunately, my brood boxes are larger than the super, so I can't put a brood frame up into the super as it won't fit.......they are too big. I thought of that but this isn't possible.Maybe put a few super frames down into the brood boxes? I'm afraid that will only encourage brace comb in the brood chambers as the frames will be short.
 

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You could try moving super frames into the brood boxes but the whole process is a lot of work if you're constantly checking for aberrant comb. If it's plastic foundation, you just have to accept that the bees aren't going to accept it as well as they would real wax. They'll need some coaxing (rubbed or painted fresh beeswax) or a real need for space before they'll pull wax. Often, they just plain avoid plastic until they're forced to use it. I'd say, right now, they're using the available food sources to feed the young. Once the resources demand space, they'll grudgingly start to pull on plastic and once they get going, it'll be OK.
 

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Pull a deep up into the super and leave a space for it to hang down into.
 

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I have also seen that unless your 2 deeps are really filled with bees, like you can barely see the frame on every frame, they are not inclined to draw out comb. You will want to see at least 8 frames with brood to have enough of a workforce. In fact with an overwintered hive, if you don't have bees boiling over by now or even 2 weeks ago, I would be concerned that something is wrong.

Are there eggs, young larvae, and capped brood? If you don't see all 3 stages, then they may have swarmed a week or so ago. I went into a hive recently, it had eggs, 2 frames, and a couple frames capped brood. They likely have swarmed, and the new queen just started laying.

I usually see eggs on 2 frames, larvae on 3 or 4, and capped brood on 6 or so. And all frames have the full frame covered with bees. If you don't see that, my first "suspect" is a relatively high mite infestation from last year, taking its toll. If you aren't in a position to check for mites with the alcohol wash, then consider getting some MAQS or Formic Pro on the hive - and look at the (cleaned) bottom board for the mite drop 7 days after you put the treatment on. This treatment is safe to use with honey on, btw. That's feedback about whether whatever you did for mite control was effective, or whether you needed to check.

Just want to emphasize that unless there are so many bees in the box that they HAVE to be in the super to have enough space, there won't be honey comb drawn out. It's a luxury a smaller hive can't afford. And wanted to share my experience with a higher mite count in spring/summer manifesting as a not-full hive, followed by losing 50% of my bees in the winter that year.
 

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Thanks for your insight. I'm three years into beekeeping so I'm still learning. I'm nearly certain that there hasn't been a swarm, and I do see eggs, larvae, and capped brood so I know the queen is in there working. I don't think I have a mite problem as I went into winter with a 1% count and did oxcylic acid vapor shots even after that when broodless. At this point, I just think they have too much space and don't want to pull the comb till they need the reason to do it. We are close to the honey flow, and I just don't want them to spend time to pull comb when I want them storing honey! I'll check in a few days and if nothing, I'll melt some beeswax and paint it on to several frames to see if that might entice them. If not, I'll just be patient, as I think they will eventually get around to it!
 

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Thanks for your insight. I'm three years into beekeeping so I'm still learning. I'm nearly certain that there hasn't been a swarm, and I do see eggs, larvae, and capped brood so I know the queen is in there working. I don't think I have a mite problem as I went into winter with a 1% count and did oxcylic acid vapor shots even after that when broodless. At this point, I just think they have too much space and don't want to pull the comb till they need the reason to do it. We are close to the honey flow, and I just don't want them to spend time to pull comb when I want them storing honey! I'll check in a few days and if nothing, I'll melt some beeswax and paint it on to several frames to see if that might entice them. If not, I'll just be patient, as I think they will eventually get around to it!
I think you are coming to the right conclusions. With the mite #s last fall and subsequent treatments that should definitely not be the issue.

I would add that the ratios of eggs, to larvae, to capped brood, that Trish mentions is a relationship that should always be kept in mind as correct for a growing colony. Any time that ratio is is not seen, look deeper for the cause. It is based on the simple math of 3 days time as an egg, roughly 6 days as larvae and 12 days capped.
 

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Thanks for your insight. I'm three years into beekeeping so I'm still learning. I'm nearly certain that there hasn't been a swarm, and I do see eggs, larvae, and capped brood so I know the queen is in there working. I don't think I have a mite problem as I went into winter with a 1% count and did oxcylic acid vapor shots even after that when broodless. At this point, I just think they have too much space and don't want to pull the comb till they need the reason to do it. We are close to the honey flow, and I just don't want them to spend time to pull comb when I want them storing honey! I'll check in a few days and if nothing, I'll melt some beeswax and paint it on to several frames to see if that might entice them. If not, I'll just be patient, as I think they will eventually get around to it!
Patience, the final frontier. When they need the space they will start using it. You CAN play around and try several of these ideas , however when they finally use the super you may think it is what you did. So I am in Grand Rapids with some bees. So we are almost the same for flow timing. what you can do is, wait until they go up and start the super. Then on one of your trips into the brood nest to check for swarm cells or what ever you may need to do , place the outside top brood frames IE 1 and 10 or even 1,2,9,10 into the center on the bottom brood box. The bees do not like honey below the brood nest and will move it up over the brood nest. It is a mini version of the box swap. only do this if there is a lot of honey in the top brood box and you wish for more open comb for the queen to lay in. So then the honey will end up in the supers just later than you had planned. IMO flow is not quite here, I did get 1/2 super from the Apple and dandelion bloom into a drawn super on only 1 hive. However be aware if you have "fed" syrup this will likely be what is in the comb and moved. for the most part they will move up right after they need the 20th frame, around when they need the 21st frame. :) weather that is when you want or not is a whole different thing. I extract and have comb, I find they will use comb sooner than foundation. The bees will not really build containers (comb) before they have a need, they do not think "next month I need lots of comb so we will start early"
GG
 

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Thank you for the suggestions! I melted some comb and painted it onto the foundation on Friday night, and inserted these frames into the super on Saturday morning. I had to do a check on other hives later that night and I Noticed that the bees were pulling the frames I painted and inserted just 8 hours earlier..........so, it looks like they are on track to work it. I like your idea of moving frames of honey down low. I lifted my upper brood box and noticed it is VERY heavy so they must have lots of honey in it......moving some frames of honey down below might be a clever way to get them to move it up into the supers! I'm in Big Rapids, so I think our flows should time the same.
 

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Thank you for the suggestions! I melted some comb and painted it onto the foundation on Friday night, and inserted these frames into the super on Saturday morning. I had to do a check on other hives later that night and I Noticed that the bees were pulling the frames I painted and inserted just 8 hours earlier..........so, it looks like they are on track to work it. I like your idea of moving frames of honey down low. I lifted my upper brood box and noticed it is VERY heavy so they must have lots of honey in it......moving some frames of honey down below might be a clever way to get them to move it up into the supers! I'm in Big Rapids, so I think our flows should time the same.
Enzo give it a try, experiment , each hive has its own speed. I think at night they process the days loot and work on the brood nest so that would be one of those things where they just in spare cycles re shape the nest to the way they want it. If you can "read the cappings" I look for the high percent worker comb and place it in the center, of the bottom brood box. 2 or 3 frames at a time they seem to process in 3-4 weeks. If it is crystallized, I would uncap some of it to get them started, I have even had a pan of warm water with a few drops of bleach and de capped, swish in the warm water , till 1/2 as out , shake the comb give it a splash of clean water shake again the insert. let me know how it works. I have always tended to leave "more than enough" for winters, then with a few dead outs seem to have lots of last years honey. I had about 60-70 frames with > 50% honey, this year.
GG
 
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