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I tried an unlimited brood nest this year, with good results so far. No evidence of swarming, although it looked like it today with a monster orientation flight (from the monster crop of bees the queen produced). Two shallow supers capped, about half a medium super capped (they raised brood in it and the rest is getting backfilled). nectar everywhere, plenty of bees in seven boxes.

I had my nephew available today to help lift (man, that's the way to live!) and we took a good look though the hive. Bottom medium box that was brood when I put it there, is not nectar and honey, although nothing is capped. Deep above that is emerging brood with some empty space and some scattered open brood, not much. Some backfilling, but lots of empty comb. Next box up is a medium, narrow frames. Some drone comb still not out, but the rest is full of nectar and the outer frames are capped honey and pollen. Center frames still have considerable brood that should be emerging soon since it was there last Tuesday.

Next box up is a standard frame medium. About 1/3 capped honey, mostly on the outer frames, and more emerging capped brood with a few drones. Mostly backfilled, six or so queen cells about to be capped on various frames. Probably lost three, one bridged too combs and the others stuck down far enough that I think they got mashed moving the boxes around. That leaves at least three or four that are higher up. All queen cells about the same age, a day or two from capping.

Next three boxes are shallows, to completely capped and the third has two frames filled and partially capped (they were drawn already) and the other 8 frames of foundation are all partially drawn and filling up with honey.

So unless the supercedure goes awry, this is a good management plan as far as I'm concerned. No real problems, full boxes of honey, and no handling problems other than the occasional kamikazee bee after inspections. Had one today, so I wore my veil out to the garden and took a flyswatter with me. When she banged the veil I smashed her, works much better for me than a sting in the ear, which is the usual end to that circumstance.

I think I'll be handling all my hives this way in the future. Checkerboarding when I can, feeding dry sugar if they eat all their stores over winter again, and a partial protein patty in the early spring, and adding all my drawn supers at once early on.

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