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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Everyone,

I haven't posted in quite some time, but I'm still at it and learning through your help and my mistakes! I still don't feel confident of when to move brood boxes around and how to manage the hives, and I need some advice. I've got one hive that was pretty strong this spring, so I added a 3rd deep. A few weeks later, all of the brood was in the upper two boxes, with the lower box pretty empty. So, I rotated the boxes so that the brood was in the lower two boxes. When I checked them recently, the upper two boxes had brood and honey again and the lower box is full of pollen. It is almost all pollen, with a little honey and no brood. So, should I rotate them again?!? If so, should I add another box? Should I split them? I'd like to go into winter with 2 deeps, and my goal was for the third deep to fill with honey that I could harvest. It might help to know that the star thistle is starting to pop here and I'm in an area with a lot of it, so the flow should come on pretty good here soon.

Thanks for your help,

Bob
 

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Rotate boxes in the early spring for build up. You've rotated and they're back the way they were, that should tell you what they want. Leave the boxes alone quit rotating. Pollen is a good thing, they use lots of pollen that's their protein they need it and will use it quicker than you can imagine. In a week or two they will more than likely have a lot of brood where the pollen was. A hive that puts up a lot of pollen produces very healthy bees that should over winter very well for you!
 

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Slow Drone has given you the northeastern routine. That is where most of our literature comes from. But you have probably seen that it's not all applicable to CA. I personally do not have a good feel for your field forage schedule or the timing of your bee schedule. You may be far enough inland, away from the coastal, near tropical band, to be close to my timing. That band gets fairly narrow when it enters Oregon.

If you were here, there would not be any convenient thing you could do that would get you back to a double deep that would not affect the colony somewhat adversely. If you remove or raise the deep of pollen, it will not be where they want it in Aug. That is below the broodnest. Normally, Lang hive design inhibits their instincts to store a pollen reserve below with broodnest expansion upward, in the spring buildup when pollen is plentiful. It is possible that your star thistle flow could push them down, but I doubt that you can count on that happening. Removing the box of pollen might be best, but keep it handy - to give back, piecemeal.

If raised, it will be in the way of honey accumulation overhead. Although the bees can move honey/nectar around at their convenience, pollen is tough to move. It almost must be consumed as food. That's why residual overhead pollen gets encapsulated under honey.

Maybe these notes will help you chart a course.

Walt
 

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Walt, in your writings, you've said in the past, in a three box brood chamber system, the bees often fill the lowest box with pollen. Since it is difficult for them to move bee bread, if the lower box is pollen bound, will they generally consume an opening in the center frames to create space for the colony to move (down) into in late summer or fall? Are pollen frames best stored in a freezer, and if there is more than needed to feed back in fall, will it retain nutritional value until early spring?
 

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Walt, in your writings, you've said in the past, in a three box brood chamber system, the bees often fill the lowest box with pollen. Since it is difficult for them to move bee bread, if the lower box is pollen bound, will they generally consume an opening in the center frames to create space for the colony to move (down) into in late summer or fall? Are pollen frames best stored in a freezer, and if there is more than needed to feed back in fall, will it retain nutritional value until early spring?
I don't go by the book. RS Johnson points out they will consume an opening in the center frames to create space for the colony to move down into in late summer or fall, my experience sometimes they do and sometimes they use it sooner. This year mine filled the bottom up(like most years)Within a couple weeks they expanded the brood nest back down into the lower brood chamber. After they have expanded to 5 to 6 frames of brood I break my doubles down to singles, over winter as singles and have very healthy bees that over winter well and build up strong in the spring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The longer I have bees, it seems, the more that I don't know. I guess I need to keep reading more, because I'd never heard of a hive (let alone seen one) that was pollen bound. At least I now know what I'm dealing with. Thanks for the responses!
 
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