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I have a bit of a dilemma I hope you might be able to help me with....I have 3.5 hives, two are packages installed this season, and the other is a 2-week old swarm hive.....hive one now seems lethargic, compared to how they were before....I think there's too much stored pollen/nectar in the lower deep....I put the second deep on about a week ago, and after inspection on Saturday morning, I noticed that they ARE now in the upper box in small numbers and starting to draw comb on the second level (right in the middle of the box). But the majority of bees are still lingering in the lower box when there's just not a lot of brood in there, compared to what they had before ....and lots of bees are hanging around on their front porch now as well. I read about a hive condition called being "honey bound." Does this sound like a reasonable explanation for my current state?

Now that there's a second deep on the hive, will they drain out the nectar/syrup in what, "used to be brood nest" area and start laying eggs there again? I'm wondering if there was simply too much food available all at the same time...sugar syrup + nectar/pollen....?

One beekeeper told me to raise a few of those honey/syrup frames up into the second deep and replacement positions 3,5,7 in the first deep with foundation-only frames to break up the broodnest and get 'em back on target....any other resolutions/recommendations? I


Please advise.... Thank you.
 

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Mine's becoming honey bound as well. I have one hive, a new one with a single deep super. It filled up, so I added a second deep super. It's full, so I added a queen exluder and two shallow supers to convince the workers to put all the honey there. I'm going to get an extractor to drain a few frames from the deep as well.

I think your friend has the right idea.
 

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A previous thread, someone pointed out that honey bound means a large band of capped honey/syrup across the top that deters the queen from crossing it into the next chamber. The poster also mentioned that open syrup/honey tended to be a sign of an oncoming swarm (that open stores would be those that the swarm gorged on before leaving).

Sounds very logical. Would also explain the slower behaviour they now exibit.

Mike
 

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IMO, "honeybound" is not a band of honey across the top of the frames. "Honeybound" is when the workers/foragers are storing nectar faster than the queen is laying, or filling cells right after brood emerges when there is no queen or you are waiting for a new queen to mate. A "honeybound" brood chamber is one where almost all of the cells have been filled with nectar/honey rather than with eggs. It limits the queens ability to lay and can/does induce swarming. The resolution is space, give them drawn empty frames, or move some of the honey frames up and give them foundation to draw. Without room for the queen to lay the hive will swarm or dwindle.
 

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It is interesting that when I see this (I see it in my hive a lot), that it never is capped. The bees seem to be able to place the stores where they want so I personally would doubt they are just throwing it here and there. They know they need room for laying so maybe what you are calling honey bound is really pre-preperations for swarming (even before cups are seen) - which would mean that at this stage it would be even easier to prevent the swarm.

When I see it in my hives they always end up swarming, which is my fault for not knowing how to prevent it yet. Not saying it is the evidence just pointing it out.

Just some thoughts
Mike
 

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It is interesting that when I see this (I see it in my hive a lot), that it never is capped. When I see it in my hives they always end up swarming, which is my fault for not knowing how to prevent it yet. Not saying it is the evidence just pointing it out.Mike
Given enough time and enough bees they will cap it. Typically the hive swarms and/or dwindles prior to capping this honey filling the brood chamber, and typically its because of a dead queen, poor queen, supercedure, or a swarm that the virgin did not return. Yes when you see it in your hives they are going to swarm (if they have a queen) or they are going to dwindle to nothing. SFAMOUS confirm you have a queen, check for eggs and young brood, if so provide her some space to lay quickly. If not provide the hive a queen cell, mated queen, or some eggs so they can make a queen or this hive is headed to bee heaven. Good luck.
 

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I do foundationless, but recently I've been trying to get them to draw comb on foundation in honey supers for more easy honey extraction. Anyway, my bees won't draw comb on foundation until they absolutely don't have any more space left anywhere, but they will very readily draw new comb from starter strips. You might try putting a few foundationless frames with starter strips in the brood nest - that will put the nurse bees to work drawing new comb and give the queen a place to lay. Even if you don't really want to go all foundationless this works, and since you won't be extracting brood comb there isn't any downside.
 

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sfamous, I would go ahead and do what that beekeeper had told you to do....(One beekeeper told me to raise a few of those honey/syrup frames up into the second deep and replacement positions 3,5,7 in the first deep with foundation-only frames to break up the broodnest and get 'em back on target) That will give the queen room to lay eggs and then hopefully the rest will move up top. I had a situation not to long ago in my TBH where i had to place an empty bar in between the brood area cause the queen didnt have any where to lay eggs and when this happens it seems like all the bees just sit like their on vacation!
 

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sfamous,

The condition you describe, considering
PA climate/bee biology is NOT 'honey bound'.
You were late getting the second deep on
the colony, and it will take time for them
to move up, your condition sounds more
like overcrowding.

By mid to late June, the flow in PA is beginning to
subside. In the past few seasons, this
subsiding of the nectar flow happened
rather abruptly, in early to mid June.
Any beekeepers which manipulated
stores are added too much foundation
at that time, left the bees in a dire condition,
not being able to draw out or fill up empty
combs. This can lead to stress during
the summer lul, and can be catastrophic
if the fall flow fails.

My advice to you is; although clover this
season is particularly good, and may extend
the early flow till late June, or perhaps early
July, these bees are not honeybound. Strong
colonies cannot become honeybound with nectar
'during the active season' because they have the
work force to move it at will. (Honey bound is
a spring condition). At this time, nectar and pollen
in the bottom deep are being stored there to get
the colony through the upcomming summer lul, and
to provide food to rear young bees in mid August
when the fall flow begins. So the condition, IMO is
fuel for fall build up, and NOT honey bound. Also,
if you are keeping Russian bees, it is normal for them
to clog the broodnest with nectar and pollen starting
with the decline in the early flow.

Considering 1. the aproach of the end of the early
flow, 2. that you are a new bee. 3. and that the
bees are starting to move up on their own and
build comb. I would not recommend you do any
manipulations. 4. opening the broodnest by use
of the other posters recommendations is IMO
better suited for promoting brood production
in 'production colonies', this colony is NOT a
production colony, and is still in the growth
stage, therefore, perhaps IMO not advised
considering the aformentioned, and the fact
that you are aproaching the end of the
nectar flow (comb building season).

Best wishes,
Joe
"Keep plenty of cows and bees, as
the surest way of having milk and
honey. Confine your cows with a
good fence but let your bees go at
large. -American Farmer, 1831
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/HistoricalHoneybeeArticles/
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Good morning: I went into that hive yesterday and here's the summary: Since putting the second deep on they have now moved up onto about three frames and began drawing comb at an increased pace, which is good news. I took every single frame out of the first deep and discovered three things: they have completed a supercedure/swarm queen cell that is capped and awaiting hatch, located at the bottom of one of the frames. It appears as if the resident queen is/was still laying eggs recently, but not very well, because some cells have eggs in them, but many cells that are suitable for eggs contain none. I believe that she may have died or they already did-away with her regardless, because the queen cell has not been breached. And I also discovered that three frames were in fact "honey-bound", if you define that as having capped honey all the way across the frame tops, but not ALL of them. As a result of that fact, coupled with the fact that there really were no more than one "real" brood frames to move, I moved the only frame of mixed-brood up and did not break up the lower-box "brood frame area." I just slid the frames together and put the foundation frame on the end, in position one. Although that sole queen cell is on the bottom of the frame, I believe it is a supercedure cell because: there are no other queen cells whatsoever and other evidence indicates a poor/absent queen. However, bees do not read books and only time will tell if I have made the right call...it's a crap-shoot.... we'll just have to wait and see what they have/had in mind, and hopefully it will be staying put in my apiary. I will deploy my swarm trap today, just in case and maybe I can catch them back if they do go....



Scott
 

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The term Honeybound is debateable at BEST. I describe it as packing the entire broodnest with pollen and nectar. I have had that happen 3 times this year and they have ALL superceded the queen because of it. I have changed my husbandry habits because of it that is for SURE. So, call it what you want. Some here refer to the honey along the edges as a honeydome too. When i found my very first split, now in 3 meds, completely "honeybound" there were NO cells available in the broodnest and they had indeed off'd my best queen, and were in the midst of requeening. on one egg in the 2nd medium......welp, it worked and they now have another great laying sister. I watch mine once a week when the flow is on. Right now, our flow has ended for the most part. They are bringing in some exceptionally dark nectar though. I am excited to see what happens with it!!
 

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Mine ended moving about 1/2 of it up, but i "helped them" a bit my moving some frames around.....they fixed it after that and opened up the nest...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
OK, thanks for all the insight DD, sounds identical to my situation, so I will take that advice and follow-suit. I was concerned that the bees might refuse to fix that situation, instead leaving it for late-season stores...that's a lot of wasted brood space!! I need as many bees as i can get building me comb....I'm feeding 24/7 all season for these new packages...I need drawn comb enough for four deeps.
 

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Actually, I believe honey bound is meant as a band across all frames. You have to look at the brood nest as a single area. I believe what many are calling honey bound is what others refer to as back filling.

If the cell is on the bottom I wouldn't be so positive it is supersedure. Even small hives can throw a swarm if they are overcrowded.
Your queen may still be there. They reduce weight and slow/stop egg laying if they plan to swarm. Not saying they are but you won't know for sure until it happens or not.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I am trying to remain hopeful, but no matter what, it's all good....I'm learning a lot, the bees are still makin' comb and I am already an ecperienced swarm catcher....no sweat....I'll just catch em back, pinch that queen, and dump 'em back in....
 

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If there is only one queen cell, it is a supercedure cell, and not a swarm cell. You have described a failing queen, and it sounds like the bees are trying to fix the problem. I would completely disregard all advice about this hive swarming.

As best I can tell, it sounds like this hive is not doing everything to your expectations. That is quite normal for bees. They won't do things, simply because that is what you want them to do.

I would be cautious about overfeeding this hive while they are in the process of supercedure. You run the risk of them backfilling the broodnest with nectar/syrup, and the new queen having no open cells for her to get up and running.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I am in agreement about the supercedure, but you would be surprised to know how many seasoned beekeepers in my midst, believe without reservation, that if ANY queen cell is lower than the mid-point on a frame, it HAS to be a swarm cell...although I am aware that that statement is likely true a majority of the time, I have learned that bees are definitely opportunists, and placement of the cell is likely about happenstance/convenience, rather than being a "neon sign" of intent to swarm. I also firmly believe that bees, when preparing to swarm, would not leave-to-chance the entire future of the hive riding on the success of just one queen cell....if they made a habit of that trait, they likely would not exist right now....AND they are far too organized and thorough to even try something that risky.

How many beekeepers reading this post have NEVER experienced a supercedure queen cell below the mid-point of a frame OR seen a swarm-ready hive left to the fate of only one queen cell? Any takers want to share their experiences concerning those specific points??
 

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I cannot share in what you are asking, but when they superceded my best queen, all of the cells were below the midline of the frame. Another supercedure, they were EVERYWHERE..high low..and in between.

I was recently talking to a retired commercial beek. I was asking him about bees placing those cells because for some reason my didn't follow the rule of thumb...he said nope...he thought that rule of thumb was dumb and that you could not trust it. Funny thing is when i asked my dad...he said the same thing....
 

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Discussion Starter #20
So that said and considering that I've already moved one brood frame up to the second deep, right above the brood area below it, inserted a frame of foundation in the lower box in instead, found a supercedure cell and the bees seem to really be drawing comb out nicely....should I start to restrict their syrup so they start back-draining brood space, in anticipation of the new queen's arrival? Since the supercedure queen cell's intact, does that mean the old queen is already dead or not?
 
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