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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I installed a 3# package April 15th and released the queen the 17th

They've built my top bar to 7 frames about 3/4 full

There's a good size brood nest that has gone through one solid brood cycle

Pollen and nectar are coming in steady even in the intermittent rain :)


My question is should I try to expand the brood nest? Will this encourage a larger brood nest or damage my colony?

Should I just leave them alone? They're building beautiful straight comb

Input?
 

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I'm in exactly the same situation, though with less flow and a hive thats about 4 days older. I'd really like to hear what people think as I was about to post the same question.
 

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If you want a larger work force to gather more honey, you should go ahead and open your brood nest. To do this place empty top bars between two really well drawn combs. Only do about 2 at a time and make sure each one is between two nicely drawn combs. The bees will draw them out pretty quick. It's not going to damage your hive and yes it will encourage a larger brood nest.
 

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I will second the opinion of drlonzo to open it up. Can't remember the post from 5/15, but Michael Bush recommended giving them all the bars so last night I added 5 bars to my brood nest. There is no way the girls can draw out your comb, unless you give it to them, and they need to do it when a main flow is on. That said, I now have 14 bars dedicated to the brood nest (1/2 of my hive) so now I am selectively moving comb with lots of drone cells to the back/center of the hive for them to fill with nectar once this brood cycle is over.

For my second hive that had a package installed on 4/20, I only added 3 bars to the brood nest to bring them up to 10 brood bars.
 

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It's tough deciding how much "management" you want to perform. Personally, I would add a 2 bars at a time, one just within the outside brood bar and the rest of the brood nest, the other between the outside bar and the follower board. That way if things are going well they'll draw in out nice and straight. But if weather takes a turn for the worst there is still plenty of cluster space and adjacent comb for the queen to lay on.
 

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If they have taken up 80% of the space I would double their space. That assumes, of course straight combs. If you're having issues getting straight combs, you may be better off doing them one or two at a time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone

I was going to add space regardless and I like Michael's recommendation to double the space

I guess my main question is theoretical

Does adding bars in the middle of the brood nest, and forcing the bees to fill the space put undue stress on the colony?

Yes they will build comb quickly to fill the space and the queen will have more space to lay but would it be less invasive and better for the colony in the long run, to just give them bars on the outside of the nest instead of splitting and forcing them to fill the space?

This is a first year colony and I don't think they have a strong urge to swarm yet so that doesn't seem to be a strong concern...

I would like as strong of a foraging force as possible of course but not at the cost of making a hive more susceptible to pathogens

Just a new beekeeper developing paternal instincts thinking in advance to the long cold PA winters....
 

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>Does adding bars in the middle of the brood nest, and forcing the bees to fill the space put undue stress on the colony?

"A" bar? If they are not short of bees, no. Several? It depends on the density of bees.
 

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I'm reading this post with great interest as well. With the 2nd inspection scheduled for tomorrow (i wrote about the first inspection in a prior thread), i'm really betwixt and between about how to expand the number of bars. Do i just slide (for lack of better word) everything down and add more bars near the entrance, which would give them more space while effectively leaving all combs in their current position within the hive? Do i put one blank bar between each bar of comb, as i've seen done on several Youtube videos? Is some other approach better still?

Decisions, decisions ...

Combs are perfect and straight, and our bees have been working their way from the "back" of the hive (i.e., the "false back" of the follower board) towards the entrance. They're running out of space!
 

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I'm reading this post with great interest as well. With the 2nd inspection scheduled for tomorrow (i wrote about the first inspection in a prior thread), i'm really betwixt and between about how to expand the number of bars. Do i just slide (for lack of better word) everything down and add more bars near the entrance, which would give them more space while effectively leaving all combs in their current position within the hive? Do i put one blank bar between each bar of comb, as i've seen done on several Youtube videos? Is some other approach better still?

Decisions, decisions ...

Combs are perfect and straight, and our bees have been working their way from the "back" of the hive (i.e., the "false back" of the follower board) towards the entrance. They're running out of space!
That is strange they are going from the back.. do you have more holes along the side they think is the front? are those vents along the side fully open or screened?

either way, put empty bars in between full bars. just move everything accordingly. if you have 4 full comb, you take 3-4 emptys from behind the follower. slide follower board back then put the empty in between full.
 

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JakeDatc, thanks for your reply! The vents are all screened. The only opened entrance is the one in the front corner, so basically, they've been building one comb at a time as far from the entrance as possible. I didn't realize this was unusual! Both hives have done the same thing (although one was set up in the opposite direction so the entrances would be as far apart as possible).
 

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Could be because yours are on the side corner like that or if you have a feeder there. who knows. with end entrances I think they usually start right at the door and go backward. Michael has probably seen other ways.

but they will do what they feel like doing and if they are building comb and filling up brood then it works.
 

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Garyprunty, my apologies if it seems like i'm hijacking your very informative thread. I'm just so eager to get clarity on this issue.

In this hive, the bees are building from left to right, as far away from the entrance as possible.


And in this one, they're building from right to left, also as far away from the entrance as possible.


If i'm understanding correctly, the hives should be expanded by placing one blank bar between each of the above drawn combs?

PS: See the queen in that top photograph, her head turned away from the camera?
 

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Yep, should work. how many bars are between that last comb and the entrance end of the box? they'll fill those eventually too

can't see in the photo.. hard when it's not full res. but looks like pretty comb. gotta love obs windows :)
 

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Thanks so much for your help, JakeDatc. I hesitated to post the photographs because they're so horrendous, but i figured they got the point across. :)
 
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