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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a continuation of the "Honey bound and Backfilled" thread...

Maybe I got something wrong? I though the bees wanted to raise brood?
I checkerboarded the hive with foundationless frames.

1st Hive
The second brood chamber - They are drawing the frames nicely... And filling them with honey.
I was so exasperated I didn't go through the bottom brood chamber. So I didn't see the queen. Do they want to die? I hope she is in there - this is that other buckfast queen I purchased from R.Weaver. Last inspection I saw her and she was laying.

2nd Hive with R.Weaver queen (I think)...
This is the other hive I requeened with the other R.Weaver buckfast queen.
Second chamber is being pulled and FILLED WITH HONEY.
I went into the first chamber on this one because last inspection it was starting to look good - eggs and I saw the queen. This time I couldn't find the queen and there as maybe 2 queen cups with eggs and one capped queen cell (I left the capped cell in fear the buckfast was gone). So few appears to me to be supersedure (again very agrivating - maybe others feel queens are cheap - I don't). I usually can find the queen (I see them well). So not seeing her is rather upsetting (she was put in a couple weeks ago - was accepted, and now appears to be gone). I didn't go through about 3 or 4 frames in the second chamber because there were all stores and I didn't think she would be in there.
I slapped a honey super on this hive since I figured it wouldn't hurt.

Both these hive (if I can remember right) had some eggs visible.


3rd hive...
This is my split using an italian queen produced here on the farm. It has about 4 frames drawn (these were drawn when I made the split). This queen has layed it almost solid. So far This is the only one I see functioning like I thought hive should.

Any opinions on what I should do? I am about on the verge of leaving them to do whatever they want and see what comes of it?

Thanks
Mike
 

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Hi Mike,

It sounds like you have a wonderful flow on - and that's very good.

The bees need a place to put nectar - you don't mention if you have honey supers on. If you don't have them on, get them on soon. I've been supering hives started as 4 frame nucs this spring - the weather and flow have been superb this year.

Are you sure you can checkerboard with an undrawn foundationless frame? My recollection is that true checkerboarding requires drawn comb - which is tough for someone just starting out or expanding. You say that your hive #1 is drawing foundationless comb but filling it with nectar. This is in the top deep, right? I think you need to get in the bottom box to see what is going on there. While I'd expect the queen to move up to the top deep, it is not unheard of for her to stay down - especially if there is adequate room for her to lay there.

Keep us posted!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
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It sounds like you have a wonderful flow on - and that's very good.
It has been. Clover is still everywhere and noticed today sweet clover is starting to bloom. I am hoping for a good honey crop. But my concern is the lack of brood in the 2 main hives (or more exactly room for the queens to lay - there is brood. But the bees seem bent on taking over all the free room for honey).

The bees need a place to put nectar - you don't mention if you have honey supers on...
Hive #1 has had a drawn comb honey super on it for a couple of months. They filled the brood chamber below it (2nd brood chamber). I moved that deep up above the honey super and replaced it with foundationless deep. Then after my last thread I checkerboarded it (between bottom and 2nd brood chambers).

Are you sure you can checkerboard with an undrawn foundationless frame?...
Personally I dislike using foundationless but they appear to be drawing it well. There has been a lot of drone comb but the queen (in my last inspection) didn't seem to want to lay in them.

You say that your hive #1 is drawing foundationless comb but filling it with nectar. This is in the top deep, right?...
I mixed the foundationless between both chambers (checkerboarding). The bottom chamber also had been backfilled with honey. Last inspection it appeared that some of that was starting to be cleared out in the bottom chamber.

I think you need to get in the bottom box to see what is going on there...
It was getting late and I still wanted to get into the second hive. I was a little disapointed when I found the honey super with so little honey in it. I know the flow has been good and the bees have been bringing it in. I guess they have to use a good deal of it to draw those extra frames. The good news is they did fill that deep (their original brood chamber) so that should be about 60lbs. Is some reason honey can't be extracted for consumption from a brood chamber that has had brood in the past?

The brood chamber they filled with honey (the one I moved up above the super) has 2 frames that are now about 2/3+ capped. So if I can get my homemade extractor built maybe I will grab those two and extract them then place them in the center of the bottom chamber.

Thanks for all the suggestions and idea,
Mike

Vor visual, here is my hives :)
H=honey supers, B = brood chambers, QE = queen excluders, TE = top entrances.

Hive #1,
BH (brood chamber filled with honey that started this whole problem)
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H
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TE
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QE
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B
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B
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Hive #2
H
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QE
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B
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B
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Hive #3
B
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Hi Mike,

I'm trying quotes for the first time in this message so my apologies if I screw up.

Personally I dislike using foundationless but they appear to be drawing it well. There has been a lot of drone comb but the queen (in my last inspection) didn't seem to want to lay in them.
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There was a short thread on Bee-L recently about some queens not liking to lay in new comb. I suppose it is a possibility in your case.

Since you've got brood we know have or recently had a queen. Are you seeing eggs & larvae? Do you see any recently opened queen cells?

Is some reason honey can't be extracted for consumption from a brood chamber that has had brood in the past?
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Has the comb ever been on the hive when you've treated for mites or anything else? If yes, then harvest the honey ONLY as bee food. Otherwise enjoy!

H=honey supers, B = brood chambers, QE = queen excluders, TE = top entrances.
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Since you've got drawn comb for your honey supers, I'm guessing you have been beekeeping for a while. I've given up on queen excluders - and don't use them unless I want to do something like confine the queen to a particular part of the brood chamber. Apparently they have worked for you in the past, but taking them off this year seems reasonable especially since the queen doesn't seem to want to leave the lower brood chamber.

Another thought - bees need pollen to raise baby bees. How much pollen are you seeing stored in the hives? (I was in Washington County yesterday checking hives and I didn't see much stored/surplus pollen.) How close are you to the lake? If you are very close than much of your potential forage area is under water.

Is there anyone in your area to look at your hives and compare notes with? Sounds like a great reason to start a MSBA chapter! We, (I'm an At-Large Board member,) don't have any chapters up your way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
...some queens not liking to lay in new comb. I suppose it is a possibility in your case.
She was laying in the new comb (it is just it appeared she was avoiding the drone comb - which is fine with me. Seems there is to much of it in there and I hope to be able to replace those combs once I get the honey out of the brood chamber).

Since you've got brood we know have or recently had a queen. Are you seeing eggs & larvae? Do you see any recently opened queen cells?
I believe there were eggs and larva. I normally keep records well - but lately it has gotten a little slack.

Has the comb ever been on the hive when you've treated for mites or anything else? If yes, then harvest the honey ONLY as bee food. Otherwise enjoy!
The comb is used brood, but I haven't treated the hives with anything.
The mite counts (of the sbb drawer) is well below 10 a day (highest I think was 6/24hrs).

Since you've got drawn comb for your honey supers...
Actually I got the drawn comb by putting the super on and feeding. They drew the comb and I then cleared it of syrup (a big waist of syrup but it got me some drawn comb to work with for the honey flow).

Another thought - bees need pollen to raise baby bees. How much pollen are you seeing stored in the hives? (I was in Washington County yesterday checking hives and I didn't see much stored/surplus pollen.) How close are you to the lake? If you are very close than much of your potential forage area is under water.

Is there anyone in your area to look at your hives and compare notes with? Sounds like a great reason to start a MSBA chapter! We, (I'm an At-Large Board member,) don't have any chapters up your way.
Grand Lakes? We are not in view of the lakes but they are within the bees forage area. I am surprised if they are flooded at all, this has been a dryer year.
They seem to have plenty of pollen.

That would be a small chapter lol. 1. Then next closest keeper is 75 miles north of me. I think there is one over in Island falls somewhere but not sure.


You may not have seen my other thread that started this problem so let me review it briefly.
Just as the flow was getting started I had a swarm. The parent hive then supersede their queen (which took a while). The swarm hive finally got their queen. I then decided to requeen with buckfast to introduce enough diversity so we could produce good queens. (I kept the swarm queen and placed here in another split of about 5 frames. She is actually laying up a good solid pattern.)

The two main hives backfilled just about everything waiting for their queens. I introduced the 2 buckfasts 2 weeks ago. Last inspection they were accepted and laying (in the very constricted space though - hive #1 seemed to be clearing out some of the bottom chamber's honey). This inspection I didn't go into the bottom chamber in hive #1 just the top brood chamber - the one they are drawing and storing honey in again... Maybe they are moving it out of the bottom chamber - it looked a little darker than fresh honey.

Hive #2 I couldn't find the queen (didn't look on about 4 frames in the second chamber because they were just stores and figured she wouldn't be over there - but they seem to want to mock me so maybe she was). This is the hive with the capped queen cell though - I can only think it is supersedure since there was only 1 queen cell and 2 or 3 cups with eggs/larva (1 cup had 2 eggs in it).

Sorry for running on so long with it - When I saw no queen in #1 and still honey packing in the brrod areas, and repacking of the second brood chamber in #1 I got very exasperated and just about decided to leave them alone and see what they will do. I would of course continue to supply enough honey supers lol.

Maybe it is just because I have not dealt with an established hive - but I thought they kept the brood nest clear for the queen.

Thanks
Mike
 

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Maybe it is just because I have not dealt with an established hive - but I thought they kept the brood nest clear for the queen.
As you have found they don't always. After reading your last explanation which gives me some more context, extract a few (3-4) frames from each brood nest. The frames may contain some syrup but that shouldn't cause anyone harm - just don't sell it as honey. Put the empty frames back in the brood nests.

2 weeks is not a lot of time for a new queen to get used to running things her way. The other bees likely started backfilling when they were between queens and never got the message to stop. I doubt you'll get surplus off these hives, but if we can get the brood quantity issue settled they should make enough between now and the middle of September to get themselves through the winter.
 
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