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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have 2 little hives (2 mediums apiece) that've made it through our not-too-intense winter. I've fed each when needed -- apparently a lot. 1 hive has had low #s but seems generally OK. Both have been bringing in pollen through the winter, and today (in the 70's), they're going gangbusters. Each hive has an empty deep on it -- so I can maintain the feeders inside.

BUT .... the 2nd hive is bursting at the seams with bees, and they're starting to draw comb atop the frames of the upper medium. In a panic, maybe, I just added 4 deep frames to the cover-deep (it's a 10-frame box). 1 frame is undrawn, 2 are partly drawn, and 1 is totally drawn (none has honey, though)

Was this an error?
Should I have just let the bees do what they do?
Will the bees use the new deep frames, or maybe start drawing comb [attached to inside the cover]?!
Should I have added only undrawn (or foundationless) frames so the bees could keep up with SHBs as the cells are made?
Maybe I should've added another medium with empty frames and placed the empty deep (with feeder) atop that?

We're heading toward swarm season, so that's a concern I have. I always have SHB issues -- no matter what -- so ... wanna be aware of providing the bees with too much territory to monitor.

Thx a heap for any feedback, anecdotes, ideas, criticisms, etc....

Mitch
 

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Mitch, you didn't make a mistake IF you had bees to cover all the frames before you added the box. White wax is new and means the bees are ready / able to draw out comb. You need to fill that box with frames or they will draw burr comb attached to the top. Put on your inner cover and feed above that. You might want to check that hive for swarm cells if it was full. It's the very beginning or swarm season for us, bees have been brooding all winter and with pollen coming in plus feeding the queen can get "no place to lay" really fast and that means a swarm. 80 degrees today and warm for next 8 days...Red Maples will be opening probably.
 

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have you checked the bottom brood boxes, if the bees moved up you may just need to rotate the bottom boxes to give the room they need, BUT check for swarm cells. SHB (abundance of) may be a sign you don't have enough bees to patrol the space they already have.
 

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I don't know how far ahead you are of Nebraska. The mountains in NC are a couple of weeks ahead of the valleys. The cities are a couple of weeks ahead of the country... We still have snow and I wouldn't even consider opening a hive in February without a good reason...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't know how far ahead you are of Nebraska. The mountains in NC are a couple of weeks ahead of the valleys. The cities are a couple of weeks ahead of the country... We still have snow and I wouldn't even consider opening a hive in February without a good reason...
Thx, Michael; in eastern NC, we can get days in the 80's -- sometimes -- in Feb. When I opened the hives lately, it was 74 outside. So .. no issue, I'm guessing. The Girls were out by the thousands, foraging and bringing in tons of pollen. I'm told that opening a hive even in mild weather can change the "temp profile" in a hive, so I don't just casually open the colonies unless (like the other day) I'm feeding 'em.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Mitch, you didn't make a mistake IF you had bees to cover all the frames before you added the box. White wax is new and means the bees are ready / able to draw out comb. You need to fill that box with frames or they will draw burr comb attached to the top. Put on your inner cover and feed above that. You might want to check that hive for swarm cells if it was full. It's the very beginning or swarm season for us, bees have been brooding all winter and with pollen coming in plus feeding the queen can get "no place to lay" really fast and that means a swarm. 80 degrees today and warm for next 8 days...Red Maples will be opening probably.
Much obliged, T; I think what you said is the way to go. How's this: I remove the semi-empty "feeding" deep, with its 4 frames, and replace it with a medium of 10 frames with varied empty comb and plastic foundation and some of no foundation, and put the empty deep back on [above an inner cover] for feeding?
I mos' def' need to check the 2 mediums now for swarm cells.
I'm thinking -- right or wrong? -- that I'd rather have The Girls filling a medium of empty frames rather than a deep. Too heavy to lift for me nowadays, and a total hassle to take frames out individually so I can lift the box. Wish I'd started this ~15 yrs or so ago, when I could've lifted 3 deeps at a time and not thought twice about it .....
Not-to-mention, if honey gets put down, lots easier to harvest those frames than deep frames.
Mitch
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
have you checked the bottom brood boxes, if the bees moved up you may just need to rotate the bottom boxes to give the room they need, BUT check for swarm cells. SHB (abundance of) may be a sign you don't have enough bees to patrol the space they already have.
Will do; the hive with the fewer bees had a little collection of SHBs under its "feeder stand" -- where the bees couldn't access -- but I only saw 1 or 2 SHBs in the teeming hive; they were hiding between feeder lid and its glass jar lip. I sent them to SHB heaven -- or hell -- fast .....
 

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I put boxes on every hive 2 weeks ago. Wayne County NC here. I'm about to have to add more to a couple of hives. Or they are going to swarm.
 

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You seem to be doing just fine. To equalize the numbers, I will switch the location and to prevent early peak, insert drawn combs (deep) in-between brood combs at the bottom to relieve potential congestion. Keep feeding till your major flow kicks in and keep stacking up with drawn combs if you still have some; otherwise, you can use foundation frames.

You are doing a great job!

Earthboy
 

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Mine are carnis and earlier than italians. I've cut out queens cells twice now and given them lots of drawn comb to work with. Someone posted a swarm here in NC on 3/21/21. So in Greenville, you need to be ready. My only italian have has not had any queen cells, only the carniolians.
 

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Steve, in Pitt County we just need a string of sunny days and we are off to the races. Anyone in our area who has not done manipulations is behind. The flow has started it's just a wx thing holding the girls back.
 
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