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How long to get to 4.9?

2318 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Michael Bush
Generally, how long would you say it takes to get a hive to regress to 4.9? Once my packages get established that I will be picking up tomorrow, I will start feeding in 4.9 starters. I am assuming that they won't do it on the first cycle, is it a safe bet to think they may be fully regressed by the time winter gets here? I typically visit my hives every two weeks and plan on feeding in a new frame or two with each visit, figuring that they should have the last frames drawn by then. Should I shorten the time between visits to try to achieve my goal of having them regressed by winter? Should I consider feeding 3 frames at a time or am I pushing it too hard by doing that?
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If you have small cell foundation now then start the package on it right away.....

Are you doing full sheets?? Starter strips??

There are alot of variables on the process so there is no "timetable". Generally....... 3 regressions will get you there.

Don't sweat it if you don't make your goal (you very well may). Each regression helps with mites.

Mark your frames like SC1, SC2, etc. and rotate them out and up (from the center). Finally to the supers.

If you have deep brood boxes and medium supers you can cut the deeps down to medium and reattach the bottom bar.
I'm doing starter strips. I considered just putting the package in on nothing but 10 starter strips. Then I thought I should probably just get them going on the fully drawn comb I already have, then as the queen gets laying and they get established, intrucing the starter strips. I won't be able to rotate the SC to the supers because I use deep brood chambers and medium supers. I don't really plan on changing the deeps to mediums unless there's a really good reason I should. I have Pierco one-pieces in the supers and plan on remaining that way for extraction.
Usually at least two turn overs or shakedowns. Since you're starting with a package you should START with 4.9mm starters or small cell. DON'T put them on large cell and wait for them to get established on that. The hard part is getting all that large cell OUT of the hive. You HAVE a shakedown with a package, you should start them on small cell. A package is the ideal starting point (short of small cell bees).

After the package has drawn natural sized comb (for large cell bees anyway, probably about 5.1mm) and raised brood in it those bees will usually draw 4.9mm. So if you feed 4.9mm foundation on frames into bees that have one regression already (a package on 4.9mm or natural drawn comb) you'll usually have them converted once you swapped out all the comb. Even just the core of the brood nest 4.9mm or smaller is usually sufficient.

I'm starting two packages this month on SC. When I add on the second hive body (I'm doing all mediums), will the bees build smaller cell (4.9) on those frames since they were raised in smaller cells (5.1)?
Yes, they will probably draw 4.9mm fine by the time the first batch of brood has emerged.

But, of course, they are bees and will do whatever they like.
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I wish I had gotten to your response earlier than I did. When I picked up my bees, I had tried to get to the string for responses before I hived them, but had internet connection problems and couldn't. Oh well...Anyway, I got them hived on the old combs. I guess I'll just have to go through the process of feeding in frames now, huh?

How often do you need to switch out the comb when regressing? Once per year or something like that? Fall? Spring? My bees will be here in 3 weeks, I can't wait!
Or go out and shake them off of the old combs...
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