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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so to let you know what's up I reciently completed a beekeeping course. I just reciently (about 3 or 4 weeks ago) purchased my first set of bees. It was a nuc. There were two frames of brood included in the nuc. I then placed them in the center of a regular deep hive body of 10 blank frames, expecting them to fill them up with comb. I also placed a sugar syrup feeder above them, but after a week it was obvious they were foraging on their own and not using the feeder. Anyway, so after 4 weeks the bees really arn't building comb. They have started on one frame, and have maybe 10% of the frame filled on one side, and that's it. The problem is that they are starting to fill up some of the cells in the brood area with extra pollen and nectar. I need them to build comb faster so the queen can build up the hive well enough to make it through winter, which is located in Raleigh North Carolina. So does anyone know a way that I can get them to build comb faster?
 

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What are the temperatures there? They don't build much comb in cooler weather. They will do better in a five frame box than a big empty 10 frame box. That's not a lot of bees to manage that much space. How many empty frames are there? How many covered with bees?
 

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2 frame Nucs are slow to take off in my limitied experience. I started with 15 of them this spring. I left them in the 5 frame box until they fully filled 4 frames and had worked the 5th well.

In that big box you have to keep an eye out for wax moths and SHB.

Do you have a 5 frame Nuc box?
 

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Special,

I think you would be better served to transfer these bees back into a five frame nuc. The trick is you need to do it today while we have a good five weeks of warm weather left. Don't wait until next week, do it now! While there are some fall flowers and goldenrod blooming it seems it's just enough to sustain them. It's definetly not a heavy flow right now and the trick with bees is the will not build comb without a good nectar flow. In reference to feeding, feed them 1;1 sugar water continously and you will see the difference. Another option that would greatly help is if you know another beekeeper who has some drawn comb who might be willing to trade your empty frames for his. Two frames of bees in a 10 frame hive is not a lot of bees to overwinter on. Like michael said, they would do much better in a nuc. You might even consider reducing the entrance down some.

Good luck.
 

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I agree as well. 2 frames is not alot to start with. I don't know about your temos in your area, but in PA, it is too late to start. You figure 3 weeks for your first brood to hatch, and that won't be alot either. By the time it would get built, it would be winter! Then again, in PA, the bees are not really active after the middle of October. Your season might be longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys, I do have a 5 frame nuc box, and I'll go ahead and put them back into that. I just figured that if all things were considered even, and the bees had 10 frames with 8 to fill with comb, they would go ahead and start building comb faster than if they were in a five, but whatever. I'll go ahead and put them into the nuc now, thanks again.
 

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And feed. feed, feed if there is no flow.

A quart jar on top is what I use on Nuc's. With 1/8" screen on the bottom. Just use a hole saw the same diameter as a mason jar lid.

I'd put feed on even if there is a light flow. You need them to build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
ok, I just moved them into a 5 frame nuc.

The question that I have is that they were not taking the sugar syrup that I was trying to feed them earlier (it was a 1:1 ratio), should I still keep trying?
 

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2:1 in fall....... (2 sugar:1 water).

Again I am not sure of your flow. But using a quart jar I would put it on just the same. They'll take it if they need it.

Put 1 tbsp of vinegar per gallon of feed to help with mold. Or 1 tsp cream of tartar per gallon.
 

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I'm trying to get hives to build comb also. I've been feeding 1:1, their taking alot of feed but not building alot of comb.

Specialkayme,
I'm thinking here maybe feeding 2parts water to 1part sugar would be better for this purpose. Reason: Nectar is 20% sugar %80 water. Also Bees will need more room to dehydrate that syrup to honey so they will need to build more comb. Also, this time of year brood production is important for a strong winter colony. Nectar, not honey, is the best feed for brood. The 2sugar:1water is for winter stores, meaning they are to put it in a cell and not use it till mid winter. The sugar being fed in this case needs to be used now, and to initiate comb building.

The catch 22 with feeding to build comb now seems to be that they back fill the brood nest, get honey bound and can't raise more brood. They will build the comb when everything is full, but by the time the comb gets built, its to late to build a winter cluster.

I'm abandoning my feeding for comb building in most of my hives for this reason, but will continue in one that had signs of PMS anyway. I don't think they are ready for alot of brood yet, perhapse after I'm done with the Apilife I will concentrate on making room for brood in this hive. Luckily I have some stored drawn comb and one extra super of honey.

Specialkayme, try the 2water to 1 sugar, It would be interesting to see if they will start taking it. Although they may be getting enough nectar that they don't need the feed. I would still keep the feed on because they cant forage during the rain or at night. I don't really know what they do at night. But you really won't know when they aren't finding enough nectar either.
 

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Keep in mind that comb construction has a great deal to do with the time of year, and they will not usually build more comb without a nectar flow. But generally they don't quit taking the feed unless there is a flow either.

Inserting a foundationless frame in the middle of the brood nest will sometimes stimulate them to draw this frame out this time of year, but I have not found this to be a consistant reaction.

I have a few nucs that were started as late splits, and SHB wreaked havoc on them right off the bat. I seem to have got rid of the SHB for now but the nucs are only 3 frames of drawn comb and two foundationless frames to keep the bee to comb ratio high enough that they can defend it. But now they refuse to draw out those other two frames and there is not much nectar coming in. Feeding them has not stimulated any response to draw more comb, instead this just seems to limit the space for brood rearing. Like Michael said, kind of a Catch 22. Now I'm gun shy when it comes to giving them more empty comb to try to stimulate more brood rearing, as I don't know whether or not I have eradicated the SHB.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I don't think the guy that I bought the nuc from will be able to help me out. He's in Pennsylvania, where I used to live, and I'm now living in Raleigh. I'm living near NC State if that helps you out drobbins. Anyway, I will start feeding them soon, once I get a feeder that is, and we'll see how it goes. I hope they start building soon, because they need that extra space ....
 

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I would say the beekeeper that sold you a 2 frame nuc the middle of August really did a dis-service. You may just not have enough bees/brood to get any real build-up before cold weather due to the fact you only have 2 or maybe 3 brood cycles at most and increasingly cold weather. In addition to all the good suggetions above maybe someone from you local bee club could sell you another frame of brood or 2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I"m not part of a local bee club, although I know I need to join one. But in any event, I don't know anyone that could sell me another frame of brood or two other than the original guy I bought it from, and he is only a pick up and he's 500 miles away. So it looks like I may have to make do with what I have ...
 

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Joel made a great point...... This person did you a dis-service. Even as a newbie I would never think to send out a 2 frame Nuc in the middle of August.

Your only shot I see is to feed the heck out of them and see how they build. You may have to winter them in the 5 frame box.

Others may give you pointers and success rates of wintering 5 frame Nucs in your climate.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
In the man's defense, I did tell him that I was going to start an observation hive, which I was going to. However, I ended up just figuring it was going to be easier and better for me to stick with a regular hive. Also, since the man lives in pa, I think that he figured it would be easier for me to build up the hive down here in warmer climates, then up there. But in any event, I guess it really doesn't matter.

I figured that I may need to end up feeding them throughout the winter as well, and I guess I'm alright with that as long as the colony survives. I will probably end up ordering brood food in a few weeks to end up feeding to them over the summer. With this and the sugar, they should be alright, correct?
 

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I'm trying to send you a PM with the name and number of the president of the local bee club. I think he'll fix you up, but the botton to send you a PM is missing. send me one, click on my name at the left and you should see a link to do it

Dave
 
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