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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1st year beek here. Today when I inspected my hive, I noticed that almost every frame had capped brood, larvae or eggs. There was some pollen/honey around the perimeter of the brood clusters, but not a ton. I also noticed two cup shaped cells (swarm cells maybe?) hanging off the bottom of a frame. I started this off as a package in one medium, and last week added a second medium hive body. They are drawing out comb well, and consuming lots of syrup. But still mostly filling cells with brood

Should I be concerned that they aren't building up stores? Seems like they are focused on population growth. I'm worried that in the next week, all the capped brood will start hatching and overcrowd the hive. Should I consider splitting?

Thanks!
 

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If the cups are capped then the bees are probably planning to swarm. Adding the second box may head this off but you can squash the cups or scrape them off with your hive tool (or queen cells if they are capped.) If the cups are empty, meaning no larvae, then they are practice cups, unless of course they complete and cap them with larvae in them. These are found on the face of the frames as well and you should be careful to look for them as the nurse bees can cover them up.

If the frames are full of brood then the bees have resources.

Last year I had one queen that laid up 9 of 10 frames corner to corner in one week after installing a package. They got a second deep immediately. Brood hatches about 12 days after being capped, as they are capped about day 9, and egg to hatch is 21 days for worker bees.

I was going to give you an idea of how to do a split but suggest you find a mentor to help. Or you could spend some time researching that on the forum.
 

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Sounds like a recipe for swarming to me, yes perhaps you should consider splitting.

If there is no natural nectar flow at this time then feeding them is the right thing to do. But the downside of that is that to the bees that feels like a flow, and their response is to produce as many new bees as they can in order to take advantage of it.

Next year when your hive is established and has stored honey, they can eat the stores so you (hopefully) won't need to feed them, but eating stored honey does not stimulate brood raising like feeding does.

So the other thing you should attempt to do this season is make a note of when your natural nectar flows start and end. So that next year you can judge their food consumption, and attempt to time things so they have enough stores to last till the flow starts, and you don't have to overly stimulate them meantime.
 

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I'm new too and am wondering something, can I judge that the flow has ended by there not being pollen coming in the hive? Thanks.
 

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How is the drought situation where you are? With decent moisture I'd guess that blackberries and clover should still be blooming. Drought? Better feed.
 

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I'm new too and am wondering something, can I judge that the flow has ended by there not being pollen coming in the hive? Thanks.
No. Bees will often still bring in pollen when they are not getting any significant amount of nectar. Seeing lots of pollen coming in can be quite deceptive.

The way to judge the beginning and end of a nectar flow is by seeing what is happening inside the hive, ie, is there plenty new nectar being stored in the combs, or has storage of new nectar stopped happening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the responses. I'm in GA, so no drought and clover are blooming right now. I was feeding right now (and continued to after putting my second medium body on) because all my frames are new, and I figured it would be helpful for them to draw out the new comb. But if I understand correctly, feeding doesn't necessarily result in them building up stores - but instead results in brood stimulation?

So now that I have so many frames of brood - what's my best option? 1) split now? Or 2) stop feeding and monitor for swarming?
 

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In a way, you couldn't ask for a better start. Yes, there is the ever present risk of swarming, but if they aren't storing much, they are concentrating on brood raising. Before they swarm they will increase nectar stores so the mother colony can survive during the interruption.
What are they doing with the second box you added? Has the queen started laying in it? If not, I would move some brood frames up into it, add two more supers. When they start drawing them, consider adding an excluder. Make them draw comb and give them space. Keep an eye on brood production slowing down and nectar storage going up. Be prepared to split as soon as you notice that. J
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
In a way, you couldn't ask for a better start. Yes, there is the ever present risk of swarming, but if they aren't storing much, they are concentrating on brood raising. Before they swarm they will increase nectar stores so the mother colony can survive during the interruption.
What are they doing with the second box you added? Has the queen started laying in it? If not, I would move some brood frames up into it, add two more supers. When they start drawing them, consider adding an excluder. Make them draw comb and give them space. Keep an eye on brood production slowing down and nectar storage going up. Be prepared to split as soon as you notice that. J
Good advice. About 2/3rds of the frames in the second box are drawn out and the queen's been laying in it. Almost exclusively brood, but not many resources.

I'll add a couple supers on and monitor brood production over the next couple weeks
 
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