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Discussion Starter #1
Inspected my hives a few days ago and all had 5 to 6 frames of capped/uncapped sugar syrup in the supers.

I'd like to try Walt's nectar management but I don't have any drawn frames.
What's the best way to get them to draw out extra frames without them filling them with syrup?
If I start feeding and add a super with foundation will they start to draw them out or will they fill the first super then move up?
Should I put a few capped frames in the new super?

Hives are in my front yard so I can check their progress as often as necessary.
Any other suggestions?
Thanks for any input.
 

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When the bees are raising a lot of brood, slip a new frame with foundation or foundationless in between two frames of capped brood and you will get a perfectly drawn worker comb most of the time--If they are thinking swarm you can get a perfectly drawn frame of drone comb with the foundationless. You can take the frames of syrup and put them in a box on the bottom board with a queen excluder over it and put the brood boxes above. They bees will move the syrup up and probably use it to raise brood or draw comb. Having spare drawn comb will happen, you just have to work on it.

Nucs tend to draw a lot of comb and do it well as they are becoming established and not thinking swarm. If you have some spare time go to youtube and watch Mel disselkoens presentation. Then go to mdasplitter.com and read that. He covers getting comb drawn very well. And other very good stuff to know that works.
 

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The best way is to keep them from swarming. What has worked for me is to split and get 2 (or 4...) hives to each draw out a super or three and then combine them back next spring. Anyway, most of your wax will be produced on your main flow - unless you let them swarm. If this is your first spring with overwintered bees Swarm Management for new Beekeepers might be of interest.
 

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You could also take a drawn frame with syrup in it, uncap it, and set the frame out away from the hive. The workers will come "rob" the frame to take back home, and in the process clean it out for you. Bam, empty drawn frame.
 

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Bees make wax when they have more nectar (or syrup) than they store. Or when they have a hole that is in, or beside the Broodnest.

Have a look at "Open the Sides of the Broodnest":


Steps:


1. Several weeks before swarm season, move each outermost frame up into a new box and alternate them with new frames, directly above the Broodnest.

2. Insert a new frame on each outside edge of the Broodnest. (So that a Brood frame is only on one side of the new frame.)

3. Check them in 2-3 weeks and repeat if comb in the frames has been mostly drawn.


When to "Open the Sides of the Broodnest"


1. Temperatures having reached 15°C/60°F recently and a good weather forecast for the next week, with a few warm days of 13°C/55°F or over in the forecast.

2. When Drone brood is being raised.

3. When you see a large number of young bees starting to do orientation flights in the afternoons. (Think - wax makers!)

4. When a good deal of pollen is being brought in.

5. Start to Open the Sides at least 4 weeks or more before your typical swarm season.


Note:

New frames only have a strip of foundation as a comb guide. Do not use a full sheet of foundation, as it may be ignored. I would use no more than a half a sheet of foundation.


Also see:

http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...-the-Broodnest

http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...-the-Broodnest
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Matt,
My issue is that my hives (3) are all single deeps with a med. super on each.
I do have a spare deep/supers that I was going to us for a split.
If I put the extra deep on an existing hive, making it a double deep with supers, I can do as you suggest.
Can I split from the other 2 hives into the new "double deep" and open the sides in the bottom deep to help prevent swarming in all?
I only have spare ML PF106 small cell plastic foundation, are the odds really bad that they will ignore them?
David's article also states that foundation may not help in swarm prevention.
I guess I haven't come to grips that an established hive will ignore foundation when a nuc will go crazy on them, at least they did last year.

This second year seems to be more challenging then the first!
Thanks,
Rob
 

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I would recommend you consider going with one size frame for everything.

How many spare medium boxes do you have? As you may want to keep the spare deep in case you need to catch a swarm.

A second year hive should be able to get to at least the equivalent of 3 Deeps, minimum. Or in your case 1 Deep and 3 mediums, so you need to have those boxes available very soon.

With foundation, it just depends on the time of year and the amount of nectar coming in whether they use it or not.

Isn't the ML PF106 a completely plastic frame with foundation?


In your situation you could just add a new Medium box on top.
Then "Open the (Top) Side", by moving two alternate medium frames from directly above the brood nest (from the existing Medium box) into the same positions in the new Medium box. Then put two new frames into those positions in the existing Medium. The repeat with frames further out after 2 or 3 weeks.

For example:
Move frames in positions 4 and 6 in the existing Medium box into a new Medium box, keeping them in positions 4 and 6. Put new frames in positions 4 and 6 in the existing Medium box.

You should probably scratch the cappings on the frames that you move up, so that the bees use the nectar/syrup or move it down. This will also help to stimulate wax making.

Then after 2 or 3 weeks, move frames in positions 2 and 8 in the old existing Medium box into the new Medium box, keeping them in positions 2 and 8. Put new frames in positions 2 and 8 in the old existing Medium box.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have enough mediums as you suggest, will probably pick up a few more soon. Yes, PF106's are all plastic, had very good success with nucs drawing them out last year that were originally on wax foundation.

I was thinking about doing what you suggested, but I was going to alternate every other frame. That might me a little much for now. I'll do as you suggest and check their progress in a week or so. Probably put a feeder on also.
 

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As a new beekeeper myself, in a pinch, I've put medium frames in between drawn deep frames to get them drawn. Go in understanding the bees will build comb (usually drone) down off the bottom bar, which can be sacrificed as mite management or to give you a little beeswax for various uses. Don't just throw an undrawn medium super on too early, give them a drawn "ladder" to get to all that undrawn foundation. I have put undrawn medium frames between deep frames to get them drawn successfully both in the brood chamber and a super above. Worked even better with foundationless. As stated above, don't break up the brood with a wall of undrawn foundation. Put it to the side(s) or above the brood nest.
 

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It is really not a good idea to alternate drawn and undrawn frames. Put them all to one side or on the sides with the drawn comb in the middle.
 

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I attempted Walts method last year even though I did not have drawn empty frames. Walt is correct in saying the method does not work without drawn frames. I also got a lot of fraems drawn in the process. so bees will draw frames just not fast enough to prevent swarming.

I discovered Matts side expansion pretty much on my own almost from the start of keeping bees. I simply saw what bees would draw and what they will not. So as I wanted new fraems drawn I simply placed them where the bees would work on them. I also place them next to the brood nest and woudl not split frames of even capped brood except maybe in the best of weather conditions. But placing empty frames near the brood nest will get attention nearly every time.

I also have the medium over a deep situation. this causes a problem with moving a deep up as suggested. But it does not prevent you from placing an empty medium frame in the deep box next to the brood nest. Once it is drawn out move it up. I do this often. it is not a complete solution but it does eliminate half of the interchangeable fraems problem.

There have been a couple of discussion this past winter on this issue of how to get frames drawn for the beginning beekeeper. I will just say every day counts. get as many frames drawn as you can. keep moving them around and adding new empty frames as soon as you can. I tend to find there is one particular location that any hive will draw a frame the fastest. Although I will place empty frames in other locations I watch that prime location closely as soon as the bees get a frame started their I replace it with another. A partially drawn frame will continue to be worked in places that a completely empty one would be ignored.

I did inspection last week and checkerboarded every hive in my apiary. This week I will be able to go back and see where each colony will be most likely to draw comb. I will then start my rotations. This will then show me where they will draw empty frames where they will continue to work on started fraems and where they refuse to finish a frame at all. In this was I can get as many as 7 frames being worked on for ever deep and medium combination. As a result I am able to add a third box to the strongest hives and increase the number of empty frames on the hive by an additional 5. That would be 5 drawn frames with empties spaced between them. It is still to early to expect the bees to give those frames any attention. I do expect them to be drawing the frames near the brood nest. As they do I will switch out those empty frames in the upper boxes and they will then work on those. As swarm approaches the bees will begin to work on any empty space in the entire hives. As they progress into the flow they will continue to draw frames.

Also note that it will not be uncommon to find your brood net in the upper medium. this allows you to work with medium frames with the brood nest.

I wish there was some method that was not as exacting. but so far I have not seen one. it is a combination of observing. seeing what the bees do and timing. But as many fraems drawn as you can. I think if you can even get two additional boxes of comb drawn before the swarm you might have a chance at making Walts method work. I think I came very close last year and I did not get as many frames spaced in as I could have. I kept checker boarding the top box. but I did not go all the way back down to the brood nest and take advantage of the bees tendency to draw frames very quickly there. I believe I missed the Repro cut off by about a week. One more week of delay and I do think Walts method would have worked for me even on undrawn frames.

You say you have a brood nest with as many as 6 frames of brood. So your box coud look ike this.
HPBBBBBBPH

P (pollen) and H (honey) frames may in fact be empty or whatever. I would remove the honey frames from the outside move over each P frame and make the box look like this.
PEBBBBBBEP

The Honey frames would be temporarily stored to be put back in this box later. the two new E (empty) frames would be mediums if it is my intent to move them up.

Once these fraems are fairly well started I would not move them up yet in fact I would move them in if weather permits. Keep in mind this step is pushing it as far as I am concerned and you must use your best judgment.
PEBEBBEBEP
Note two additional frames have to have been selected and removed from the deep. You could at this time set up a second deep box and have it nearly entirely checker boarded with empty and drawn frames.

Matt says to leave these frames for up to 3 weeks. I say I have seen them drawn out in 3 days. Note that the most drawn frame is moved inward and actually splits the brood nest on each side. I will not do this always. The next manipulation will be to move upward.
EEEDEDEEEE
PEBEBBEBEP

Again I have moved the most drawn frames in the lower box into the brood nest. Added two more empty frames to the lower box and moved the first two frames up. They are now labeled D for Drawn. They should now be completely drawn and most likely filled with brood.

The next step would look like this
EDEBEBEDEE
PEBEBBEBEP

In the upper box the drawn frames are moving from the center toward the outside. Is is likely that there will be brood in any cells. Again take care and careful consideration about how much you break up the brood nest. but this hive should be getting so strong there is little concern about being able to tend to brood.

During this time the bees have been busy on even more frames and I can expect to return in a few days to a week sometimes more and find the entire bottom box drawn and they will be working on all frames in the upper box. This is also the point that I am fine tuning my method. In the past I have at this point ignored the bottom box and I think that was a mistake. I should have continued my adding of empty frames in the bottom box as well as expanding out the upper box. When the second box is 80% drawn I add the third box. I was easily able to get 4 boxes on my hive with half of all the fraems being newly drawn frames prior to swarming.

Things begin to speed up and you have to make some determination as to how to add frames. but the idea is the same keep empty frames between drawn or even partially drawn frames. keep the most drawn fraems to those outside where they will still entice bees to work on them. The bees will tend to work in one particular spot that may be in the center of the box or slightly left or right of center. Seldom if ever will they pay much attention to empty fraems at the sides of the box.

As things really begin to heat up add make up that second deep and place it on the hive. Do not be surprised if you find brood all the way up into the third or even fourth box.

This is another point the queen will move up. I have seen her putting brood in the fourth box up. keep moving those frames of brood down into lower boxes. keep the brood nest compact as possible. but checkerboard it at this time. Make the first medium an entire box of brood if you have to.

Now from my actually experience. at some point the queen will return to the bottom of the hive. you will only find capped brood above the bottom deep. And you will see swarm cells. This is where I blew it last year. It does not good to destroy those queen cells your queen is already packing her bags. She will swarm and leaving the colony with no queen will not stop her from doing so. Catch her if you can find her. no easy task in this hive at this point. Move her with some brood and bees to a 4 or 5 frame nuc. then remove all queen cells. watch the bees for a week and remove any additional cells they attempt to make. Do not miss any cells. That will be easy to do. this hive will be huge and packed with bees. If you prevent any swarming you can then put the queen back later swarm cut off has passed. You can also allow the bees to requeen themselves and make a new colony from the original queen. If the hive does swarm. and this is from actual experience. It will be one monster of a swarm. The one my hive cast filled a deep and medium box.

Also realize that particular progress will vary. make adjustments a necessary. In all the general idea is sound and it works. I have not seen anything that works better.

The bees that remained in the hive where able to fill all 4 boxes with honey. Not all of it well drawn out and packed full. I still estimate I got over 100 lbs of honey from this hive.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
DY thanks for the detailed info and the time you spent replying!

Here's a "what if". What if I removed all the capped sugar honey from a (or each) hive and replaced them with foundation. So each super had undrawn frames. The frames that were removed I would put about 50 to 100 yards away and let the bees clean them up. I'd put a top feeder on also. Will the bees then see the need to start drawing out new comb then?
Good idea? Bad idea? Why?
Maybe keep one capped frame in the super so it lures them up?
 

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r,

i also use single deeps with medium supers and it is definitely a catch 22 for a second year colony. i have also observed as have others (especially here in the southeast) that the bees will not normally draw new comb until the main flow, which comes after swarm season.

i found that frames of foundation put in before the main flow were just ignored and actually hindered the bees by breaking up their functional work space, and if anything caused swarming more than prevented it.

i did find however that the bees will draw foundationless frames earlier than the main flow, and as matt suggests may help with swarm prevention by getting the wax makers busy.

i have finally got to the point this year of having enough comb plus i left enough honey last fall to configure my hives in the way that walt describes in his manuscript. i've got all but two checkerboarded at this time and hope to do the other two tomorrow.

here's what i would consider trying:

1. get some foundationless deep frames and when your deep is approaching getting filled with bees place a foundationless frame at the side of the broodnest. check it in a week or so and if they are drawing comb on it place another one on the other side of the broodnest.

2. you could also try putting some foundationless medium frames in the supers, but i do prefer to use the plastic foundation there because i spin them hard in my extractor.

3. if they don't burn through those stores in the super by the time we get into the better flows you could extract them or set them out for robbing and put them back on as you have contemplated.

4. as david suggests, you could plan to split and make a nuc just prior to the main flow in effect creating an 'artificial swarm'. find the description of the 'cut down split' on mike bush's website for a method that has worked really well for me.

5. if you don't split, inspect every 10 - 14 days for swarm preps as described by walt and be prepared to split if you find them preparing to swarm

6. consider setting out a swarm trap or two using a medium super for the trap. if you catch any just keep adding mediums as swarms will draw wax in a hurry and provide you with several supers for use next year.

once we get to 'new white wax' you should be able to add your supers of foundation and get them drawn. i'm going to try melting my cappings from last year and coat the plastic foundation to see if they take to it faster.

good luck! :)
 

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r, Unless a frame is placed in a certain place I find the same thing Mark and others find. they get ignored. or they will start building comb very slowly. The impression I get is there is a certain area that bees consider their space. and that space is not necessarily the entire hive. put an empty frame in that space and they will attempt to remove the hole it created.

When I got my first 5 frame nuc it was in early May. well before our flow. I placed all 5 frames in the middle of a ten frame box with two empty fraems with foundation on one side and 3 on the other. I was thinking the bees know what to do and will get busy on the empty frames. Two weeks later they had drawn out a small patch of comb in the center of each piece of foundation that was facing the original nuc frames. And I mean tiny and barley. I could draw comb faster. But it did seem to me they had paid some attention to anything that was right next to those original frames and most of the bees where still on those original fraems. they acted like they where still living in a 5 frame box. I decided to move them inside the two honey frames from the original nuc. SO I started with this and for two weeks the bees would not really draw any comb.
FFFHBBBHFF F= Foundaton H=Honey, B-Brood. I then switched it to this

FFHFBBBFHF, Note at this time I was scorned by a couple of members here that I was meddling with the brood nest separating the bees from the food they needed to feed brood etc. I was aware I might be causing unknown to me harm but I also observed no harm. The bees had some honey and pollen on every brood frame so I hardly considered them separated. A week later I returned to find the two moved frames almost completely drawn. so I moved everything again. To this

FHFBBBBBFH. Notice that the new frames that got drawn where filled with brood. About three days later I checked again and the bees where well on their way to drawing out this second set of frames. Again I was chastised for meddling with things I know nothing about and at this point decided to listen. I knew I was pushing the bees to do something they otherwise would not. I also had no idea what sort of residual effects this might have. When it came time to add a second box and get the bees to move up I once again noticed lack of attention to new frames. even during a flow they seemed slow to draw new frames. At that time I had all deep boxes so it was a simple matter to move up the two honey fraems to the upper box and place a single undrawn frame between the. the bees took right to drawing that frame.

In similar fashion I continued to move frames as described in my first post although I did not mess with the lower box again. Once the second box was full I added the first Medium super. again the bees ignored that space even though there was still a flow. I also did not at that time see the answer to mixing further frames. Deeps go in deeps and mediums go in mediums. Eventually I did come up with another answer but it did not work as well. In all the bees managed to draw out and then fill 35 new frames wither pre flow or mid flow. I actually added a 4th super to this hive before the season ended. they filled it with honey but moved it down before I could get equipment to crush and strain it. When I returned I found a box full of empty drawn comb. The hive was now two deeps and a medium full of brood pollen and honey intermixed with a 4th box on top with nothing in it. I took the empty box away.

This was the same hive I described above in it's second year. I still had no drawn comb due to expansion by 3 additional hives.

As for where you feed. I do not recommend honey frames in the open if you have more than one hive around. the one time I left fraems out int eh open to be cleaned up after extracting resulted in a lot of dead bees from fighting. Others open fed regularly and seem to have no problem. I woudl at the very least crush it and mix it with some water maybe. It might reduce the fighting over pure ripened honey. I rally do not have that much experience with open feeding and have not like the results I got when I attempted it.

If you are getting that feeling that this requires more and more equipment. Get used to it. I am starting my third year. am in the process of making 93 new boxes of one type or another and still feel like I am behind on equipment.

Good news is. yesterday I got to buy the Ryobi 18V cordless stapler to help get all the frames made. Sweet toy and it reduced the time to make a frame to about 1 minute. Yeah I know I am no where near setting any records but it sure is nice to get the job done faster and easier.
 

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DY thanks for the detailed info and the time you spent replying!

Here's a "what if". What if I removed all the capped sugar honey from a (or each) hive and replaced them with foundation. So each super had undrawn frames. The frames that were removed I would put about 50 to 100 yards away and let the bees clean them up. I'd put a top feeder on also. Will the bees then see the need to start drawing out new comb then?
Good idea? Bad idea? Why?
Maybe keep one capped frame in the super so it lures them up?
I wouldn't. I don't think open air feeding of honey is a good thing. Better of leaving the honey in the hive, just scratch the cappings if you like. Best to Checkerboard honey frames with new frames, the honey will get eaten to make more wax and help to expand the Broodnest. These frames will end up being brood frames, so the comb doesn't get overextended.

I have tested just moving one frame up into a super. They emptied out the frame that was moved up and then drew out the comb on the new frame that was put in it's place. There was just a couple of tiny patches of slightly drawn comb on the foundation (comb guides) on either side of the single drawn frame in that super. Then they proceeded to swarm.

I've found you need a minimum of two drawn frames to be moved up into a new box. The bees seem to want be in between two combs before they really start using it.
 

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Matt says to leave these frames for up to 3 weeks. I say I have seen them drawn out in 3 days.
Beekeeping is local and timing of things varies. You need to work out the timing for your area.

I've only seen a deep frame drawn out in 3 days during a main flow or by a swarm. So it is really dependant on the amount of nectar coming in and the number of young bees.

Our spring buildup from seeing Drones being raised to swarm season is at least 2 months. This is plenty of time to have at least a full 10 frame deep of comb drawn. I figure, give them a week per deep frame.

Be ready to have a lot of spare frames and boxes! I had a two queen hive draw out nearly 50 deep frames last season. And a local beekeeper said the last two years have been the worst for beekeeping that he has seen in his 30 years of beekeeping here.
 
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