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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Winter has been tough as I have now lost 4 of 5 hives. I was in the last hive, 2 deep 8 frame boxes, and noticed the bottom box was completely empty. Should I just remove it completely? They have not filled up the top box completely. I would not be adding a super to it in normal situation because they have not filled the outside frames. What are the thoughts, pro and con to this plan.
 

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I would take out the bottom box. Put on another box and pull up two frames that have honey on the outside of the bottom box. The last two frames on the outside I don't worry about. My experience is more with mediums so it could differ with deeps. I don't like not having space above to expand. My other theory is one box doesn't make a hive it makes a nuc and a nuc requires a lot more attention. A "hive" doesn't.
 

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I would put the bottom box on top of the other box and move the undrawn frames more into the center. I would then begin feeding 1 to 1 if it's warm enough there (at least in the 40's). This should help them to draw out your combs. I'd give them a pollen patty as well if they're not bringing in a lot of it themselves.
 

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I wish I had removed the bottom deep on mine before winter. I'm under the impression that they don't like to move down, so I'd be inclined to remove it now before the population boom begins in a few weeks. But I'm no expert by any means so hopefully someone will be along to correct me before you do something wrong on my recommendation.:D
 

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If the bottom box is empty I think they will use it eventually. If the bottom box is full of pollen they might just swarm when the top box is full. If you get the bees in expansion mode and then put the pollen box on top they will clear it out and use it.
 

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Winter has been tough as I have now lost 4 of 5 hives. I was in the last hive, 2 deep 8 frame boxes, and noticed the bottom box was completely empty. Should I just remove it completely? They have not filled up the top box completely. I would not be adding a super to it in normal situation because they have not filled the outside frames. What are the thoughts, pro and con to this plan.
Last Saturday I went into my remaining hive. Going into winter the setup was an 8-frame medium UNDER an 8-frame deep. The bees were all up in the top deep. The bottom box were all drawn comb, but empty, and with virtually no bees. I swapped boxes, putting the empty medium on top of the deep. I have started feeding with 1:1. For me this has worked out very well, as I have a laying queen, and the girls have been bringing in lots of pollen.

There are enough bees that some have come up into the top box and are hanging between 3 or 4 frames.

Hope this information helps.

Phil
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the all the info. To clarify: Every frame is drawn out but they are empty of honey or pollen. The bees just walk through it to get home. I have plenty of drawn frames from the dead hives. In fact the frames from the dead hives still have honey and pollen in the corners. We still get some very cold temps it froze last night but we will be in the 60s this weekend. I am worried about over encouraging them to go into production. I was thinking that a smaller box would be easier to keep warm. I was thinking about waiting on the top box so I don't demoralize the bees.

My plan for the next warm day I will remove the bottom box. Then add a box of the best frames with the most stores when they are ready.
 
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