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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well today I got into half my hives. Checked and tidied up the frames, removed winter insulation and sugar and put on hive top feeders (hope to put syrup on tomorrow). This is now the second half of my first year with bees. Lots of work but sooo much fun!

All have lots of honey stores still in frames..some had 10 deep frames still full of honey.

Some had bees (brood) only in the top box. Those I reversed the boxes. In the now top box I pulled a couple of honey frames and replaced with indrawn foundation. I was now able to give each new package a frame of drawn comb with some honey and pollen.

Some hives had bees and brood in both boxes. Those I just cleaned up the frames and did not reverse them.

I have 3 hives that wintered with a deep and a dadant above. The one I checked today had brood in both boxes so I just left them as they were. Perhaps later in the spring I will separate the queen from the dadant with an excluder, let the brood hatch out remove it and the excluder and give another deep of undrawn foundation to see if they draw it out.

One hive I am not happy with. It is a double deep. There are lots of bees. The bottom box had bees but was pretty much empty comb. The upper box had lots of bees and most frames were full of honey. What I did not see was any brood....none at all. I am not good at finding Queens and they aren't marked. There were a lot of bees so needless to say I did not notice a queen. I reversed the boxes and I reversed some of the honey frames leaving the central with empty comb. I did not see a queen but that is not unusual for me as I am no good at loathing them.

I saw drone comb in a couple of hives but not a lot and did not notice adult drones. The hives with brood only had it on 4-8 frames and although the areas were solid they often were just part of a frame. I didn't move over any open brood as I didn't know if the other hives were strong enough yet to be brood donors. Also I doubt there are mature drones around for mating. Our weather remains below freezing at night and is starting to get near 50 some days. We get a lot of cold rain.

The bees in the brood less hive seem perfectly content...not angry, not loud.

So...do I wait and see if brood appears in a couple of weeks or try to order in a mated Queen from Hawaii....it may be to early to locate a mated queen....or should I steal open brood from another hive?

What are your thoughts on this?
 

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From what you write, it looks like you're in pretty good shape! I am also on the west coast and have one of three hives with brood, the other two, not quite yet. I'd give it a little more time and see what comes...is this hive bringing in pollen? Also, I'd be careful about moving open brood with the temp's your experiencing, and if there are enough bee's in the receiver box to maintain it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I also am inclined to wait a bit. Bees are bringing in pollen on warmer days. There are enough bees to pack 1 deep so I they could cover brood. Just there is no brood at all.

The hives I went into yesterday were the stronger lot last summer. If I get a chance I will check what were a group of nucs I purchased the end of May 2013 and they were weak all summer long. In retrospect I think they missed the best flow and only had a short period to draw new foundation before changing into winter mode.
 

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By tidying up the frames, do you mean you removed all the roads and bridgecomb that the bees put in place to facilitate the orderly traverse of their home? Now they get to put it all back. I find it important to scrape the frame rests thoroughly and when frames get too wide it is necessary sometimes to scrape the projecting sides of the top bars. The bur comb projecting from the sides of the box can cause problems pulling frames and needs to go but beyond that I don't feel it helps to scrape frames.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I didn't touch the frames as far as scraping and tidying last year. Many of the frames were totally stuck to each other, others were glued to the frames below. It was very difficult to move them at all. Initially I couldn't separate the boxes as the frames were stuck together. So I did scrape the bur comb and in places cut back the honey comb where it was glued frame to frame. Some boxes I reversed and in some I removed drawn comb and replaced it with new foundation in hopes of getting more drawn comb. I also cleaned off the bottom boards. Hopefully I will only do this once and the frames will remain somewhat manageable through the rest of the year. I did not touch the flat face of the combs. I just wanted to be able to lift a frame without bringing others with it. Hopefully the bees won't take offence...they settled readily back to business. The brood frames were not such a mess as the frames of capped honey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was able to get a mated hygienic Queen from Australia today. I put her..along with her candy and attendants...in their unopened cage in the brood less hive to see their reaction to her. I only watched for a moment as it was pouring rain and I needed to get back to work. The workers seemed interested not annoyed. I will check tomorrow after work. If all is pleasant I will open the flap to the candy so they can chew her out. If them seem like they are trying to kill her I will have to pull some frames and bees to start a nuc...that would be a first for me. Really all this is a first for me.
This forum is great...thanks to all for mentoring.
 

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Just an observation from my hives, the size of the hive has a big influence on activity levels based on the outside temperature. Right now I have a big hive from last year that is made up of 3 10 frame mediums, equivilant to 2 deeps. The second hive is a single 10 frame deep cut down to 8 frames with foam inserts to eliminate extra space for the small swarm I hived in June. Especially early in the year, with big temperature swings, the small hive was very active by 10AM, the larger hive did not really get moving until 1PM. I attribute this to simply warming up a larger volume. There are more bees in the bigger hive, maybe twice as many. A recent inspection showed brood in the small have but none in the larger one. They are both hauling pollen like crazy, it snowed Monday and was 18 degrees F last night. The bigger hive is just slightly slower to get moving due to volume. Keep that in mind, as it sounds like some of your hives are larger then others in physical space. I would love to here from anyone, if they have seen similar activity differences.
 
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