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Discussion Starter #1
The last couple of days I've noticed my bees are gathered at the entrance like never before. Since I'm brand new at beekeeping, I don't know what to think about this. Does this indicate anything?

 

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Fish Stix - that is good news. I have two hives that have bees all over the front most of the time. I was worried at first because I read that bees gathering on the front of the hive meant a possible swarm...but mine seem to do this as a matter of preference on a day to day basis...so I have stopped worrying. Your comment is encouraging.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Updated picture with new activity in hive



I need some help from you experienced beekeepers again.

Here is the latest picture of my hive. I have two deep boxes and they're pretty full. From this picture, does it look like they are getting ready to swarm, or is this what they do when it's 90+ degrees with high humidity?

Should I add another box? I have a queen excluder on its way, and I did want to add another box when it arrived (Friday). But, if they are getting ready to start a new hive, adding another super won't solve my problem.

Does it look like they are preparing to swarm, or is this normal behavior for bees when it gets this hot? I took this picture at 10 o'clock at night. It's so humid that my camera lens fogged up while taking this.
 

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This is normal during warm weather. This is known as bearding. I both boxes are getting full go ahead and place a Honey super on maybe they will begin to draw out some wax. Who knows you may end up with some honey.
 

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Looks like you have a healthy hive of bees. All of the above. Hot weather, maybe a lull in the honey flow, maybe they are preparing to swarm. Either way, you can't go wrong to give them more room. I don't know what your nectar flow looks like in your area but it is still early June. Give them more room upstairs and keep an eye on them. If they do swarm have equipment on hand to put them up.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If I don't have my queen excluder yet, should I add another box without it, or wait for my excluder to come? I have another box with the necessary frames and foundation, but I thought that I needed that excluder so it won't mess up the honey.
 

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I do not use queen excluders. I find it hard to get them to draw wax above the excluder unless there is a heavy flow going. Other people love them. I let them draw the super and if the queen wants to lay a few eggs I do not mind. Normaly the bees back fill the super with honey after the eggs hatch.
 

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Queen excluders are over rated. Add the box. If you do use the excluder, make sure you pull up a frame of honey from outsides of boxes making sure you dont have the queen on that frame and put it in box above the excluder. The bees hate to go through the excluder if they dont have comb they already are working. If you put the excluder on then an empty box they likely may not want to go though it, get over crowded in boxes below and swarm. As far as Im concerned if you put and empty box of foundation above and excluder you might as well not even put the box on in the first place. I learned this the hard way.
 

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yep..... put the box on. keep the excluder when it comes for a tool for managing hives when needed.

If both Hive bodies are full give them room. Worse comes to worse this fall you pull off an empty box.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks to all for the helpful advice. :) I'm going to need a lot of it, since I'm a beeginner for sure. I have a beginner's book, but it's really nice to get some first-hand counsel when things like this occur. My wife and I have our first hive, and EVERYTHING is new to us.

Tomorrow after work, I will add another box. It will be around 6pm when we do it. I hope that's not too late, since our book says that the window for going into your hives is from 10am to 4pm.
 

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I hope that's not too late, since our book says that the window for going into your hives is from 10am to 4pm.
Complete Nonsense!! If the Author of that book makes it sound like you need to work in that time frame, I need to write a book.

The best time to play with your bees is when you dont need a spot light to see, your not roasting to death in the peak heat of the day, your not getting pored on or blown away, and you have nothing better to do.

I needed two nucleus colonies ready for a customer to pick Sunday morning. We had rain in the forecast, and I was not sure if I would be able to get them locked up Sunday morning without working in the rain. Of coarse I rained most of the day Saturday so I watched the radar, at one or two pm I figured that it would be done raining by 5:30 pm.`No such luck. At 6:30 it looked like it would be done soon so I headed to the yard. When I got there I watched as the sky turned from dark rain clouds to clouds with no rain or mist if anything of to the west and watched the puddle next to the car as the rain got lighter and lighter. As the rain turned to sprinkles I lite the smoker got things ready and by then it was done other than the occasional drop here or there. I went to work, confirmed my queen was there and all was well and locked em up and took em home. It was about 70 degree with no wind that evening.

Now thats not an ideal situation but what is important is that its not to cold to chill the brood and you can see what you need to. You need to factor in things like temp, wind, and such. 60 degrees Fahrenheit with no wind and sun is fine as long as your not leaving a frame of brood sit outside the hive for long. If its windy it of course needs to be warmer. Of course you dong want to pull frames with 60 mile per hour winds no mater how warm it is. If things need to be done you do what you got to do.

As a matter of fact I open my hives in January up here in Wisconsin as long as its not windy, its sunny and of course I pic a day when its 15 degrees or higher out. The purpose is to make sure they are not starving and to put a pollen patty on to help them get things going for spring.

You hear in books that if its not Sunny and perfect out they will be ill tempered and such. I have no problems if its cloudy or if I am now working in those master backyard beekeeping conditions or time of the day. All I worry about is there health, my health, and what has to be done.

Good luck with your adventure, dont worry to much about mistakes, its part of the learning process. I advise you to read more books if you enjoy them, join a beekeeping club and attend meetings, because like skinning cats, with bees there is more than one way to do things and more than one opinion of how to do this or that and what is wrong or right.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for all the helpful comments!

I went into the hive this afternoon to add the next box. The frames inside were completely maxed out. In fact, when I removed one of the frames, a chunk of comb broke off, because there wasn't enough room to get it out.

I also propped open the hive cover to give them more ventilation. Hopefully, this will help. I would hate to lose my bees to a swarm, because I haven't finished building my next hive. Hopefully, this weekend I'll wrap that up.

Second hive inspection and no stings yet!!! Yeah!
 
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