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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy!

I am just coming out of my first winter of bee keeping here in Central TX. I started with one hive last spring...I know should have done two. I am managing my hive in one deep and one medium and did not take any honey last year. I am hoping to harvest honey this year.

I would like to get some more drawn comb this year so I have something for my splits to work with when I do split later. I am curious y'all would recommend me putting on a second brood box with just heavy waxed foundation below my medium super to get the bees to draw it out and then I have a second brood box to put my split in to? Or will the foundation only box be disliked by the bees and cause them to ignore everything above it.

Thoughts?
Thanks!
 

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2021 17 hives
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Is your cluster in the deep or the medium? I'm quite a bit north of you so I'm not sure when yours start to build up heavily for the year. Your bees won't start drawing new comb until the flow starts. So with 1 box the second year it's a challenge to do splits. Usually There are empty frames in the bottom box that the bees cleaned out during the winter. Think of it as moving into an apartment. Would you rather move into something that's ready for you to live in or would you rather do work to get it ready and then move in? You may want to exchange the top medium for the bottom deep if it's empty now and let them move up. They have drawn comb there. If they have brood in the deep and the medium it's more difficult. If you split the brood nest with an empty deep frame you risk the bees starting the swarm process. Here in mid Missouri we usually don't start splits until mid April. You need to have more local bee keepers let you know when that is for your area. That's the advantage of being in a bee club.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am down in central TX and the bees and brood are on 6-7 frames in the bottom box with 3.5 frames of stores in the bottom. The medium on top, the bees are on 6 frames up there and are beginning to draw comb there (they started drawing on it in the fall but didn't finish and my bees were small in population due to me not thinking about my summer dearth and not feeding until later in the year)!

The pollen is pouring in and my population is exploding. I checked my bees before the big freeze and there was tons of capped brood. All of those hatched during the freeze and the queen is still laying in those newly empty cells. They are finding nectar somewhere also as they are drawing in the medium now.

I am more interested in getting honey and drawn comb this year....dont' really care if I split or not...but figured I might need to to prevent swarming....right now swarming does not seem to be an issue as there is plenty of room, but the rate they have grown so far this year, I might need to.
 

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OK, given that both boxes have brood, here's my suggestion. Move your medium off to the side. Set your 2nd deep next to your first deep. Take all of your undrawn frame out of the new box. Start splitting your 1st deep up into you empty box. Put empty frames next to full frames on both 1st and 2nd box. The bees don't like space in between their brood nest and will fill those empty foundation frames rapidly. So you have H E B E B E B E B H bottom box H E E B E B E E E H second box. H honey B brood E empty. Go and buy a queen excluder and put it between your 2 deeps then add your medium above the queen excluder. The next time you go in your colony you will know if your queen is in the medium or the deeps because of where you'll find eggs. If she ended in the medium you will need to find her and move her into the deeps. The colony is probably still small enough for you to find her, always hard in a booming colony. After the brood hatches out in the medium they will start filling the medium with nectar. Not right away because they have lots of comb to draw.

Make it easier on yourself by only using deeps to overwinter your colonies from now on and keep the mediums for honey storage. But you do what you need to on your first year, no harm, no foul. You may not get a split this year this way, but if you want to let them make a split, take your second box, keep the 2 brood frames together, put it on it's own bottom board. and you have your split. You can buy a new queen or let the queen less box make it's own queen, but you may be to early even in Texas for that. Other Texan beekeepers can give you that info. Personally I'd not try and do a split now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks! Yeah, was not planning on splitting now, but later this summer after harvesting honey. Mainly just need drawn comb! Have lots of foundation, but only the one deep of drawn out.
 
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