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Hello all,

As a new beek I've managed to keep 3 out of 4 hives alive all winter and feel good about that. I lost 1 due to the small cluster and below 20 weather. I ordered some MegaBee and supplimented 1 hive with it and they seem to have responded well. I've manipulated all 3 hives by either moving capped honey around, reversing the hive bodies and have had 2+ (almost) full frames of new bees hatch out so far - which is encouraging. I put out a 5-gallon feeding station a few days ago of 1-1 but nothing directly on the hives as they seem to still have some nectar in them. The bees have found it but aren't working it hard at this time and I believe that's due partially to natural availability and some store still in the hive. Pollen and nectar have been coming in to some degree, but nothing 'heavy'. I don't know what else is coming for spring as our nectar flow doesn't start for about another 10 days to 2 weeks but feed pretty good at this time. I have a couple of comments or questions that I hope others will have some advice on.

1. I've added, to 1 of my hives, another deep box and moved mostly capped honey up top and added a few frames of drawn comb down below to incourage more brood growth. I always leave a frame of capped honey next to the brood though whenever I moved things around. Within the top hive on this box, and on another one I added only 5 or 6 frames of drawn and undrawn comb because I had so much trouble with SHB last year. I only added the new deep hive body because I had 8-9 frames of bees covering the tops of the frames. Was this the correct thing to do - by adding more 'space' but not filling it all up? I hear 2 general concepts - 1 being to add only what they can actually guard/work and the other that if you don't add it 'all' then you end up with a mess (burcomb, incorrect frames, etc) What's working for others?

2. I know that generally and usually in the spring you add 1-1 to stimulate both the queen into laying and draw out comb. None of supers have been drawn out and I need them to all be drawn out and filled as soon as they can. I won't add the supers until they fill out the 2nd deep, but should I start feeding - directly - 1-1 on each hive to get them to go ahead and drawn out/fill that box? I don't really want to continue feeding 1-1 while they are bringing in nectar as I want the honey to be all 'honey' and not sugar-honey-water.

3. Whenever I made up the MegaBee sub I made it about 3/16" thick and cut it up into approx. 2" strips and fed the hive in a 'hard' form instead of soft as mentioned in several posts around here. Should I continue to feed or add this to a hive or 2 and stimulate them more with our nectar flow 'around the corner'? We usually get our 'nectar flow' on towards the end of this month and it goes till (sometimes) mid to late June.

BTW - I don't know about others water situation but for the last couple of weeks the bees have been 'hammering' my water fountain. I keep saying I'm going to drain and refill with fresh water but they don't seem to mind and I've seen them on the 'scub' almost as much as directly on the water. Must be some residuals there they like as they seem to leave my 'fresh' water fountain alone.

thanks for any thoughts or suggestions -
 

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If they are bringing in pollen I would not feed megabee. They don't need it, and megabee inside the hive often invites SHBs. I like your water situation (bees like "earthy" water) and 1:1 feeding outside the hive. You should be good to go.

Where brood and/or stores are, make sure there are a lot of bees on those frames, as if they will keep the SHBs from messing up the hive. Keeping things a little crowded with bees keeps SHBs under control.

Near the queen make sure there is some open drawn comb, so your hive population can bust out before the strong nectar flow. If the bees are active and there is pollen coming in, you don't have to worry about having stores near the brood.

Phil
 

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About 10 days ago I removed two frames of drawn comb (positions 4 and 6) from each super and replaced them with foundationless frames. Of those six frames (I have 3 hives) 4 are about 70% drawn out now, the other 2 are about 40%. They seem to be willing to draw foundationless now but not frames with undrawn foundation. I've also added hive top feeders to encourage them to draw comb, they're not taking a lot of 1 to 1 syrup, maybe a quart every 5 to 6 days. When they finish drawing the foundationless I'll pull them and add more foundationless. Hopefully this will give me some extra drawn super frames.
Saturday I also put 2 foundationless frames on either side of the brood nest, hopefully they're working on them also.
This is my first attempt at foundationless, take my results with a grain of salt.
Good luck!
 
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