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Concern over undrawn comb...

1896 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  psfred
I started my first Hive going on May 7th: been inspecting each week....things going along great...lots of brood, pollen, honey: added second hive body 2 weeks ago after noting that 70% of lower hive body was drawn the last two weeks I have noticed that, while activity is still going along well...Queen busy laying eggs....5 or 6 of the frames on the upper hive body are drawn out....that there remain three frames on the lower hive that are undrawn (I used wax foundation on wooden frames): I have rotated the frames closer to the center...but still don't see much activity on them: should I be concerned...or will the bees get to them in their own time? I have also been continuously feeding SW in a top feeder.....they have been slow to utilize it over the weeks...but starting to do more so now. There have been no swarm cells or supersedure cells built to date. Brood pattern is fantastic...not spotty at all.
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Bees like to work up and in the the center using the heat from the bees and cluster below. I would move 3 drawn frames from the upper box down to complete the lower box - keep all the brood together. They will draw out frames faster in the top box and will often ignore frames in the bottom box until the frames in the top box are complete. They will often ignore SW if there is any sort of flow on. They will not produce wax unless you are feeding or there is a flow on.
Thanks for the reply....been quite a constant flow going on for first two months or so.....they mostly left SW alone....going at it more now...guess July can be a low point for nectar. Thanks for the advice about moving drawn frame from upper hive down to lower....I will do this during my next inspection.
I would guess you are entering your summer nectar dearth, and that the bees will not draw any more comb anywhere unless you feed. This is typical behavior, and the reason I'm feeding my package again even though they aren't really taking all that much syrup. They are still drawing comb and I want them to finish out the top box, currently about half depth on all ten frames. The ten or so pounds of sugar it's going to take is nothing compared to not having enough drawn comb to store up for winter, as they can do that unaided this fall on asters and soybeans.

What I've been doing to decide when to add another box of empty foundation on a new hive is to wait until there is a full set of capped brood and the bees are using all but the outermost frames. I usually wait until they have drawn those unless there is a strong flow on and they are likely to run out of room too soon. Once that brood starts to emerge I put the new box on, that puts the new bees to work drawing comb at once, but does not leave a fairly small number of bees in a large space.

I have learned the hard way here that anything not drawn by the end of the spring flow, which is tyipcally mid-June, will NOT be drawn out by a new package without considerable beekeeper intervention. Much better to keep feeding all through the summer to keep them going until I have a winter configuration (two deeps with the top one full of honey and pollen or a deep and two mediums, with the mediums full of stores). With Italians, it's also necessary to feed in August and September, as they usually fail to shut down brooding in the dearth and end up eating all the stores and I have very light hives in late September. I'd rather feed a smaller amount over the summer than have to stuff them in October!

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