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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Although we have been reading alot, we cannot seem to find a good answer to the question. Both of our new hives will be 3 weeks old tomorrow (since we installed packages into them). So far, each hive has consumed approx. 9 lbs of sugar (syrup). Our last inspection revealed that foundation was well under construction on 7 of 10 frames in each deep hive body. How far along should we allow this contruction to progress before we add the next deep body? I have read and been told that if we wait too long they will leave...but if we add the 2nd section too early they will not fill out the first body as they should. Being new to this, can you all give us some advice on how far along we can let them go before risking an exodus?
Thanks in advance!
 

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As each new bee hatches out it will provide a greater supply of wax. I wouldnt wait at all ... As far as making sure they draw all the comb out on frames; you may need do do some moving of frames around ...
They should be strong enough to move up in to the second story .
 

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Our last inspection revealed that foundation was well under construction on 7 of 10 frames in each deep hive body. How far along should we allow this contruction to progress before we add the next deep body?
Your end frames will probably not have a lot of activity. You have 10 frames, 20 sides. Look at each side of each frame and count how many are being totally used. When you have 16 sides out of the 20 that are being used, then it's time. But keep this in mind too - you installed three weeks ago. Everyday you have bees dying. Your hive is at its weakest point right now since the day you installed. But after an egg appears, you have roughly 21 days until a new bee appears. That's about where you are at now. Make sure your population is up enough that you have enough bees for the next 10 frame deep.

I would wait just a bit if you have 7 out of ten with comb "well under construction." When the majority of the frame is "constructed" then I would proceed.

There's still work for them to do in the deep that you have on.
 

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Jackam is correct in your bees population is reaching a low point, but when the new brood starts to emerge the population will rapidly build up if the queens are doing their job. Move your outside frame on one side in between the outermost frame being built out. Getting the outermost frames being worked on is important to me before adding a second box. But if your schedule does not allow these quick looks and adjustments. Put that second box on when the outside of 8 frames is being drawn out.

The second hurdle is getting the bees to move up into that second box! Take a brood frame from the middle of the lower box and move it up into the upper so the bees begin work up there. You are indeed at a critical time. If it is forecast warm night and day, your worries are less than if cooler temperatures roll in. Hopefully you are not handicapping your bees process of drawing comb and expanding the broodnest with a screened bottom board. Both require warm conditions in the hive.
 

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as jackam said you need to add when the box is about 80% in use. also consider how many bees if the box is getting full of bees add a box.. last night I added a deep to 1 of 4 package hives almost a month in the box, full of bees. I also added a box to 1 of 3 nucs, 2 weeks in the 10 frame box, a lot of bees and a lot of comb getting filled with honey. these all started with drawn foundation. I pulled the feeder mason jars on the package hives only 1 had finished the first quart. this would be different with undrawn foundation. with a bunch of capped brood and food coming in you can run out of space quick this time of year. you want to have enough space to avoid swarm committee meetings and not so much space that the colony is lost in the hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks all for your replies. I have a couple of follow-on questions now. First, we have a screened bottom board with a very tight fitting stick board in place that keeps things closed up pretty well from my novice point of view...so I hope this is the correct set-up. If not, please tell me about it. Secondly, as I am preparing to buy more equipment, when and where do you use a queen excluder? I currently have the standard screened bottom board with sticky board closure, 1 deep brood box, 10 deep frames, top feeder housed in a short super body, and inner and outer top covers for each hive installed at this time. We also have one additional deep hive body with 10 deep frames for each hive ready to install at a moments notice. We will be purchasing one or two additional short supers with frames for each hive and we "think" we need queen excluders, but not sure where or how to install them. Are we trying to limit brood by putting the excluder on top of the bottom brood box, or does it go atop the second brood box to only keep the queen out of the short honey supers on top? Again, thanks your help! (and we need all the help we can get) :)
 

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the queen excluder keeps the queen out of the honey supers it would go above the 2 deep brood boxes [for your climate]. some do not use an excluder but many or most do, this point would generate a debate. the metal excluders cost a bit more but are a better choice for most folks. some might consider 2 deeps and a medium for a brood area if you are in a severe climate part of Indiana, consider 2 deeps and a medium for italian type bees they use more stores over the winter. restricting brood area will encourage swarming, the only time to consider it would be in the late fall on an oversize "italian type" colony in the north to limit honey requirements for winter.
 

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As each new bee hatches out it will provide a greater supply of wax. I wouldnt wait at all ... As far as making sure they draw all the comb out on frames; you may need do do some moving of frames around ...
They should be strong enough to move up in to the second story .
This is a misconception. Ultimately it will prove true. However, The order of bee task is well defined.. with cell cleaning being the initial task preformed by newly emerged bees for the first few days. then from 3 to 11 day they become nurse bees. only at day 12 are the wax producing glands sufficiently developed for adequate wax development that they become wax producers from age 12 to 17 days. However under the right conditions thay can regress to wax producers as in the case of swarming, or absconding. giving the bees too much space too fast can sometimes force supercedure. thus the 80% rule was set up as a rule of thumb.
 

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I add the second box when the first is full of bees and there is brood starting to emerge. In the case of packages, this was a pretty good year in terms of nectar and pollen supplies when I installed them on April the 5th. Took them a bit to really get started, and I just put another box (a medium of foundation) on them Tuesday. Takes six weeks or so when you start with foundation or only a couple frames of drawn comb for the population to get large enough to work the next box.

It's easy enough to check what the are up to with a screened bottom board and sticky boards -- just slide out the sticky and look at the trash on it. Bees constantly drop bits of wax when working comb, so it's easy to see where they are drawing it out, there is a stripe of wax bits that fall down between the frames along with occasional bee parts and dropped pollen lumps. No need to open the hive, the board will be clean unless they are working above it.

Also note that drawn comb with nothing in it is different than drawn comb with stores or brood -- I only count frames with contents rather than frames drawn when deciding to add more space.

Peter
 
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