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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started a package April 29th.
The brood area is 12 bars wide, I have inserted 3 bars into the middle of the brood nest slowly for the past few weeks. The bees have built on each new bar well.
The 13 bar is wider and 1/2 drawn out. It's mostly full of nectar.
I added bar 15 today at the end.

At what point do I stop inserting bars into the brood nest?
How do you add bars to the honey area?
Do I just insert them in at the end of the hive?
Is a 12 bar brood nest about right?

Thank you for your thoughts.

Eric C
 

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At this point you can probably just fill the hive with bars and let the girls sort it out. If you have empty brood comb that has all hatched and is empty, move that bar back to the honey area to be cycled out of the hive with a honey harvest, and replace it with an empty bar. Thats one advantage to a TBH - cycling out old brood comb. Queens like to lay in new comb. They reuse old comb because the bees cant move whole combs, but you can. So as brood hatches and comb becomes empty and starts being filled with pollen or honey, move that back to the storage area and put a new bar at the back of the brood area. That way brood combs stay together for care, space is created for new brood comb, and the queen doesn't have to cross honey comb for laying space.

Now in the real world of 30 hives, I dont have time to micro manage my hives like that any more. So I wind up with messes I have to try and fix later. Doing cutouts while teaching summer school while trying to manage so many hives ive decided is insane. But when I just had a couple hives, that's how I tried to manage them.
 

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12 bars is about right for a top bar colony however their main objective at the moment will be to build bee numbers. I would still feed the bars in between the last brood comb and the first honey comb. You could also include new ones between the last honey comb and the follower board. It helps keep things straight. If you have bars on the outside of the brood completely filled with nectar it also be worth adding some spacers. Adding new bars into the honey area instead of the brood area often leads to them building out the comb either side to wider honey comb. They do this because it is less effort to build out a already built comb than it is to build a new comb. However, they don't always have a planning committee beforehand and some bees will be building on the new bar and some will be building out the old comb.... hey presto!.. cross comb.
 

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By the way. One of my colonies has 16 bars of brood and are building on three others. This is a chandler style kTBH so the combs are 10% larger than a national frame so I am essentially running a double brood at the moment. Really looking forward to the queen's laying dropping off at the end of summer.
 

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"Queens like to lay in new comb. They reuse old comb because the bees cant move whole combs, but you can. So as brood hatches and comb becomes empty and starts being filled with pollen or honey, move that back to the storage area and put a new bar at the back of the brood area. That way brood combs stay together for care, space is created for new brood comb, and the queen doesn't have to cross honey comb for laying space."

My queen has already started back filling the first and second brood comb with eggs even though only 25% of the comb has hatched, then again the comb is only 4 weeks old. How does one define comb as old? Is filling brood comb with honey what they do as bee production slows down for fall?
 

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If i can add a question here, i've read that combs containing predominately capped drone cells should be moved to the edge of the brood nest. What's the general consensus on this?

Also, i've always wondered why the brood nest is "supposed" to be near the entrance, with the honey in the rear. From the perspective of temperature regulation, i would think the entrance could get a little drafty, so it seems counter-intuitive to me.
 

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Also, i've always wondered why the brood nest is "supposed" to be near the entrance, with the honey in the rear. From the perspective of temperature regulation, i would think the entrance could get a little drafty, so it seems counter-intuitive to me.
I hived a small swarm March 30 on 12 bars. They clustered in the back and built forwards from there. I moved the follower board back and added 3 bars to the front and also 3 in between drawn comb, so right now, they have 18 bars with the oldest up against the follower board. This weekend I'm giving them all 24 bars, but I will still add them to the front.

Everything I read as well talked about how they build from the front, but my one and only experience is different.

By the way, all my entrance holes (6) are on the east end. There is one plugged hole on the west end—no side holes. And a screened bottom with a sticky board.
 

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Thanks so much for responding, Tallykat! I wasn't overly worried about it, but it's still comforting to know someone else is experiencing the same thing.
 
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