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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks:

2nd year here, and running into trouble even with just one hive, because it's not at all like the 1st year!

Bees swarmed last month (oops), but I now have brood and eggs again. But - it's in the 2nd box from the bottom.
Bottom deep box is largely empty - some "rims" of honey and a little pollen here and there.
2nd deep box - "rims" of honey, and filling in with brood.
3rd deep box - starting to fill with nectar
4th medium (top) box - nearly full of nectar, some capped

I have heard, and read, that bees want to work "upward". Will my queen be able to figure out that there's plenty of space below in box 1, or will she be stymied by the nectar filling in box 3?

Should I rearrange boxes, or frames, or leave well enough alone?

Thanks
may-flower
 

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I like AmBe's advice. Reversing in the late season is not generally done, but it is completely justified. Where the broodnest is located in early Aug is typically where it will be going into winter. In Aug, they start preparing it for winter. Too late to push them down with incoming nectar or feed. With the partial raised above, they can fill it with honey for winter.

Walt
 

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No, its not a problem. Bees often "move up", leaving an empty bottom. You can consolidate the hive since it doesn't appear you need the space presently, or reverse the bottom two boxes -- move the old bottom box into the 2nd position. Remember August brood area is usually less than 50% of the May area.

I use the empty bottoms as a source for swarm trap and nuc comb, it is old dark brood comb and is a fantastic resource, so I'd rather have the open comb than back fill it with honey (which will happen if reversed). The ability to rotate the oldest brood comb out of nest, seems to help the sanitary condition of the nest. Reintroduced after a period of quarantine, I don't see the same chronic "2nd year" issues as hives without comb turnover develop.
 

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In one of my hives, I recently found a very sparsely populated bottom box recently where once it was packed full of bees a month or 2 ago. The 2nd box is chock full of bees and larvae at all stages. Plenty of stores above them in the supers so not starving, and they are still bringing quite a bit in

I did not realize that they move out of that bottom box this time of year in preparation for winter. I chose to leave well enough alone and observe for the time being.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, all. Lots to think about here.
Sounds like it can't really hurt to reverse the 2 bottom boxes. Once it stops raining here, I'll give it a go!
 
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