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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How do we know when the bee population is enough to sustain a hive and I can stop with the brood supers and slap on a QE? - Mike
 

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The rule of thumb I was taught was when the top brood chamber is at 80% (honey+brood+pollen) capacity, you can put on a super.
 

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Bees often treat a super of foundation like a ceiling especially if you put a QE under it. You may want to wait until they have started working in it or maybe put a frame of brood above the excluder to get them to go up.
 

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Great explaination. I've been wanting to ask the same thing. Thanks! This forum never fails to give new learning.
 

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How do we know when the bee population is enough to sustain a hive and I can stop with the brood supers and slap on a QE? - Mike
I guess I look at it differently. My base population and winter config is a med/deep/med. I stopped using a QE last year during a drought when it seemed like it was putting unnecessary stress on the colony. No looking back on that for me. I loved how they developed after that. I'll move the queen down to the lower medium soon and she will grow the nest up into the deep where she will spend the majority of her time. I also make sure they have enough winter reserves and emergency reserves before I take anything for myself. After all, it is their food. Anything over my winter config is considered fair game.

Bee populations flux from 10k in mid winter to 60k in mid June. You need large populations to bring in more honey. That's how the math works.
 

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How do we know when the bee population is enough to sustain a hive and I can stop with the brood supers and slap on a QE? - Mike
Thats really easy to figure out. Assume you are dealing with a stellar queen that can lay 2000 eggs in a day, then just do some simple arithmetic. From egg to emerge is 20 days for worker brood, then another day to clean and polish the cell, you need enough brood cells available for queen to lay for 21 days. 21 x 2000 = 42000 cells. There are roughly 4500 cells on one side of a deep frame. Assume 2/3 get used for brood, 1/3 of them for pollen and honey, then you have 3000 brood cells per side. 42000 / 3000 =14. So 14 sides of deep frames for brood, ie 7 deep frames has enough space for a queen laying 2000 eggs a day. Medium frames have about 3000 cells per face, so estimate 2000 of those used for brood, you need 21 sides, or about 11 medium frames for brood.

These numbers are actually on the generous side, literature over the years talks about 1500 eggs a day as being 'a good queen', so 2000 would be an above average excellent queen.
 

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Thats really easy to figure out. Assume you are dealing with a stellar queen that can lay 2000 eggs in a day, then just do some simple arithmetic. From egg to emerge is 20 days for worker brood, then another day to clean and polish the cell, you need enough brood cells available for queen to lay for 21 days. 21 x 2000 = 42000 cells. There are roughly 4500 cells on one side of a deep frame. Assume 2/3 get used for brood, 1/3 of them for pollen and honey, then you have 3000 brood cells per side. 42000 / 3000 =14. So 14 sides of deep frames for brood, ie 7 deep frames has enough space for a queen laying 2000 eggs a day. Medium frames have about 3000 cells per face, so estimate 2000 of those used for brood, you need 21 sides, or about 11 medium frames for brood.

These numbers are actually on the generous side, literature over the years talks about 1500 eggs a day as being 'a good queen', so 2000 would be an above average excellent queen.
I sound like you! LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The rule of thumb I was taught was when the top brood chamber is at 80% (honey+brood+pollen) capacity, you can put on a super.
Right. But, they can play that game all season long until I've stacked brood chambers to the top of my roof. There has to be something to look for, perhaps the total bee population, that tells the beek to slap the QE on, right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Bees often treat a super of foundation like a ceiling especially if you put a QE under it. You may want to wait until they have started working in it or maybe put a frame of brood above the excluder to get them to go up.
Hhmmm. If I put a QE down between any two elements of the hive, that becomes the ceiling, right?Above the QE is necter and maybe some pollen, right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thats really easy to figure out. Assume you are dealing with a stellar queen that can lay 2000 eggs in a day, then just do some simple arithmetic. From egg to emerge is 20 days for worker brood, then another day to clean and polish the cell, you need enough brood cells available for queen to lay for 21 days. 21 x 2000 = 42000 cells. There are roughly 4500 cells on one side of a deep frame. Assume 2/3 get used for brood, 1/3 of them for pollen and honey, then you have 3000 brood cells per side. 42000 / 3000 =14. So 14 sides of deep frames for brood, ie 7 deep frames has enough space for a queen laying 2000 eggs a day. Medium frames have about 3000 cells per face, so estimate 2000 of those used for brood, you need 21 sides, or about 11 medium frames for brood.

These numbers are actually on the generous side, literature over the years talks about 1500 eggs a day as being 'a good queen', so 2000 would be an above average excellent queen.
OK, I'll get out my pencil and see if I follow. - Mike
 

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Thanks for the tip about waiting for the upper box being worked on before adding the QE John Davis. I'm switching to single deep this year and haven't used QE before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I like it. That means using two 5 frame deep nucs (stacked) is more than enough to house all the brood the queen can produce. Of course, the total population of bees will keep growing and they could try and swarm, but I can watch for that. Thanks - Mike
 

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Hhmmm. If I put a QE down between any two elements of the hive, that becomes the ceiling, right?Above the QE is necter and maybe some pollen, right?
No, ceiling as in solid barrier, they don't have a reason to go through it so they treat the area above like it isn't there.
 

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I’ve put a QE down on a single with only 6-8 drawn frames below and got two mediums of honey out of them. While I don’t recommend or proclaim that’s best practice bees like to work up and will do so if there’s an excluder it means everything up top is honey wax and a bit of pollen
 

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Some bees don't like excluders some don't care. If you wait too long they will start to backfill the brood nest and cause them to swarm. When a heavy flow is on they will gather so much the queen won't have a place to lay because of the backfilling. Best answer of when to add supers - find an experienced beek in your area and talk to them. With time you will know what works in your area.
 
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