Technically, the book says 70% FULL drawn frames (on a 10 frame) then add a deep. I'd wait until the 8th frame is full and the 9th is being worked on. When you add too soon, they tend to drop what their doing on the lower levels and migrate up.
I know. I've got 2 classes in the book, and a lot of things where missed and/or forgotten. Take notes. From your site, sounds like you've got the jitters. Must be anticipation. Soon you'll be pulling weeds, mowing and working around the hive and not caring one bit. No fear, dear.
Michelle, I peeked at your blog--I love your pink and green hive! So fun. I don't think your first inspection was a bust. (Well, I'm a newbee--what do I know?) Sounds like your queen is alive and well and busy.
I think it's very cool you've taken up beekeeping with "residual bee phobia." (Is this like death therapy, Dr. Leo Marvin?)
You will get a feel for it after a while. One thought you might want to consider: How soon is your next inspection? If you are getting into the hive once a week, you have to anticipate that magic point of needing another box. I try to err on doing it a little early. If they move up, it is simple for me to move a couple of frames around to get them consistent. (I use double deeps) This works if both boxes are the same size.
It's a rule of thumb. You look in and take an estimate. A half of a frame is a half of a frame. A full frame is a full frame. If it looks like 6 completed combs and 2 half complted combs thats 7 combs. Anywhere from 70% to 90% will do, but trying to push it to 90% may end up with a swarm.
And Michelle, while we're talking swarms.....
Nothing has shaken my confidence as much as seeing my beloved productive queen in her big pile of bees hanging out 30 feet above the ground where poor old me stood no chance of reaching her. This was 2008 from a package placed in a TBH which still built up and survived the winter afterwards.
In 2009 the same thing happened to one of my packages installed in a Lang. It swarmed twice, but I was able to catch both swarms and rehouse them.:thumbsup:
In both instances the bees from packages swarmed 63 days after installation. I believe the TBH bees felt they were overcrowded, and the Lang. bees I overfed and although I added the second box they swarmed anyway.
This year my motto is NO SWARMS! Now I have a clearer idea of what to look for I have been acting preemptively. There is no substitute for experience and being prepared. All of my 4 hives overwintered. Spring came so quickly that I split 3 of the hives early on 4/23 using queens from Jim. Even so, on Monday when I checked the parent colonies I found queen larva in cells. Having extra equipment, I moved the original colony 4 feet away and put a frame with queen cells on the original site. I plan to check that frame today and reduce those queen cells to one.
I may reunite on the honey flow and they should all cuddle like this.:gh:
So... At the risk of adding to your anxiety I suggest that you prepare for the possibility that your bees may, at some stage.... prepare to swarm. To prepare I suggest two things
#1 Buy a spare hive kit, just in case.
#2 Read, read, read. Go to Mr. Bush's website and read all you can.
Acquiring some knowledge will allay some of your fears.
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