Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Purely on accident of course. When to reverse hive body one and two and when we pulled hive body two off of one there was a bunch of brood in drawn comb on the top of the frames in hive body one. I ended up scraping them off and I want to know if there is anything else I should have done before I took such drastic measures? If feel horrible. Some of the larvae are still moving, YES, I said moving. I didn't know they did that :s

Here is a pic of what I dealt with: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_UFaBrNBjB0k/TECln8PHPUI/AAAAAAAACJ0/dmFLc86O_hQ/s1600/dead+brood.JPG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,526 Posts
Judging from the visible cell caps at bottom of photo, it looks like this was drone brood.
When bees are on uniform worker brood cell sized foundation, they will often use corners and edges of brood areas, or any available spaces to build some larger drone cells whenever they feel they need some drones around. Your bees must have felt that they needed to get creative to have a place for drone raising. Is the brood nest too crowded maybe?

You did the right thing by scraping it all off. I too have had to get used to the idea that when keeping bees, it is inevitable that a few will be killed on occasion when tending the hive. We just do our best.
To keep it in perspective, I think to myself about how the workers only live for a matter of weeks anyway, and I also think about the much worse carnage that happens when a bear gets to a hive...and that's all part of nature really.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,176 Posts
That's somewhat common. Don't be overly concerned about it. Won't be the last time!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you Omie for putting things into perspective! :)

They were getting very crowded in there. I was following the U of M plan and things went goofy when the queen never went into the third hive body to lay. We were told she would and already we have 5 full frames of honey and she wasn't in there. Other beeks said she was going to need more space since she had been in that 2nd hive body for weeks. We moved the 2nd hive body down the the one position so that the queen could venture up again. The first hive body was all drawn and the two frames on the outer edge were empty so we moved those to the center and the drawn ones out, then moved that box into position 2, hoping she moves up into that box again and starts laying more eggs.

Was that a good move?

I'm curious. Why didn't she move into the third hive body? Is that 50/50 or something. Definitely will be mentioning this at the U of M course part II.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Ravenseye! :) I try to keep reminding myself that next year at this time all of this will be 2nd nature. Hopefully :eek:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
118 Posts
Same exact thing happened to me. Unfortunately now I am afraid that everytime I want to look into the bottom deep this same thing will happen again. I guess it is all part of the hobbie.
I started a thread today about not doing so many inspections and this is one of the reasons why I felt fewer inspections may be better than to many.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
508 Posts
You did the right thing by scraping it all off. I too have had to get used to the idea that when keeping bees, it is inevitable that a few will be killed on occasion when tending the hive. We just do our best.
To keep it in perspective, I think to myself about how the workers only live for a matter of weeks anyway, and I also think about the much worse carnage that happens when a bear gets to a hive...and that's all part of nature really.
Is there a more "human" way to go about doing this sort of distasteful housekeeping?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
I took the U of M Short Course several years ago, and only within the past couple years came to understand how those three deep bodies are actually supposed to be used, in part because Gary has updated the way he explains it. I might not be able to do as well, but here goes...

Going into winter, the goal is to have the top and middle boxes more or less full of honey and pollen. The bottom box may actually be empty once the queen finishes laying eggs for the year, and that's OK. The ultimate reason you're rotating boxes is not to determine the shape or size of the brood nest, but to take advantage of the bees' behavior to ensure that the pollen is distributed throughout the top two boxes when you go into winter. This way they can reach pollen stores to feed the earliest brood when it's still cold (and potentially very cold) in spring. There are several bee behavior patterns that make this system work. Bees will store honey in the top of the hive; this works because the field bees pass nectar to house bees when they arrive, and the house bees carry it up. Bees store pollen closer to the door, because the field bees carry that to the cells themselves. Thus your top box will tend to accumulate honey but the pollen will accumulate lower down, closer to the current brood nest. Italian bees will also try to put the brood nest as high up in the hives as they can. That means that as the nest shrinks in fall, they will likely stop using the bottom-most box altogether. It also means that when they start up again in spring, they'll be raising brood in the top box using cells that they ate the honey out of over winter. Because it spent some time near the bottom of the stack the year before, that top box will also contain some cells of stored pollen, saving the early spring nurse bees a long, cold, potentially deadly trip down to last year's brood nest in the lower box.

My first couple years, I misunderstood the system and tried to rotate boxes to get them all full of brood, then all full of honey. The brood nests never grew to 3 boxes worth, but I did get them to pack all 3 with honey a couple times and that was a disaster. Don't do it that way.

Mites are attracted to drone brood. If you look carefully in the future, you may spot a mite or two inside one of the drone cells you break open when doing inspections.

I've found that since I started adding at least one foundationless frame to each colony to allow the bees to produce drones, they build much less drone comb between the boxes. This saves me having to decide whether to spend time scraping it off or squish bees when I put the boxes back together. Once you really become a hardened killer, you can use this technique to reduce your mite population by pulling that drone frame when it's capped, and sticking it in the freezer. This will allow you to practice your heartlessness for next year, when you'll have to kill off your entire first colony if you continue to follow the U of M system. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Thank you for the good pictures and information in your blog. I think other beginning beekeepers are likely to find it helpful for understanding what they might encounter.

I was touched when I saw the nurse bees busy around my broken drone comb too, until they had had a few minutes to work on it and it became apparent what they were actually doing. It's much less tender than it is deliberate.

If there's already honey in a cell, the queen can't use it for brood. In the recent good honey flow, your worker bees went looking for empty cells to store nectar in and found them in that top super, before the queen got there with her eggs. She can probably find plenty of room in the lower two boxes for brood. Your goal is to get a few pollen cells mixed in with the honey before winter. It might be possible to arrange for that by moving the boxes around, but if it doesn't work you can always move frames from box to box in fall.

plaztikjezuz: I guess gophers do too, though it may be less common.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the explanation and advice on this. I guess it is something I'll have to get use to, ever so slowly. :(

jpm,

I've seen pictures on a blog doing that type of mite inspection, using the drone brood. It was the first thing I thought about when I saw my pupae today.

Who knew beekeeping could be so, um....... not straight forward. :scratch:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,265 Posts
It's a surprising mess the first time you see that.

What's worse than the sight, is the sound of the scraper popping through the cells. :eek:

It really isn't a pretty sight.

And while beekeepers enjoy talking... it's a good time to keep one's mouth closed to avoid...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,532 Posts
If you feel bad about killing the brood you can just eat and then you know it's not being wasted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
130 Posts
Don't forget to look at the bottom of the top box after you have cleaned off the top of the frames in the bottom box. Tilt it up end to end - not side to side and scrap there too.

Maybe you won't feel so badly about the killed drone larva is you feed them to the birds. They will prosper and it won't be wasted. Just put it on a platform feeder if you have one or on newspapers on the ground near a seed feeder. Yum.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,274 Posts
Good grief people; these are bugs! You wouldn't think twice about squashing a roach. It's burr comb filled with drone brood. You'll most likely have it every time you go into the hive, so get used to mashing brood.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
300 Posts
S. P., please take my suggestions with a grain of salt. You need to get to the point to where you are not micro-managing your bees. This is a very common mistake of new beekeepers who are truly trying to care for their bees. If you don't lighten up and let bees be bees you are going to burn out/throw your hands up and quit.
I can't speak for your geographical region but in mine there is no reason at this time to be reversing hive bodies, the season is basicly over. Swarming season is over, if they did swarm at this time and successfully raise a new queen you would just have a younger more vibrant queen in the spring.
Think about the drone brood you scraped off. If they want it they will just build more, no need in scraping it off. They also use it as a "ladder" from one box up to another.
Bees have survived for thousands of years without our help. If you don't have a definate, sound reason to go in a hive why do it?
I'm not advocating neglect, just sound management.
Relax and enjoy your bees, see how much you can disern by just watching their behavior at the landing board. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
118 Posts
I took the U of M Short Course several years ago, and only within the past couple years came to understand how those three deep bodies are actually supposed to be used ;)
You provide some good information that I can use but I was always under the impression that you go into the winter with two deeps on but you say three. I am sure it varies according to the strenght of the hive but is three the number to shoot for?
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top