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First year, no mentor, seeking advice. 2 deeps, 10-frame langs over SBB/west oil trap, Italians from 5-frame nuc in May. Pulled formic acid pad 2day after 21 day treatment for bad case of varroa - dealt with SHB all fall, but controlled them rather nicely.

Cold - mid 40's, blustery and overcast 2day, I just wanted to pull formic pad, remove hive-top feeder, do a quick inspect and convert to dry sugar feeding. All frames in top deep in white capped some uncapped honey. Pulled #4 frame, heavy & with bees primarily on center-side. Propolis between boxes.

I looked down into bottom brood box and saw 1 large white-capped cell on upper 1/3 outside of frame #4 - no other large cells I could see.

Considering time of year - with our coldest months ahead, late dec, jan & feb, and cell location (yes, read Walt's articles), I (want to) believe a supersedure cell and not swarm (where would they go this time of year?).

I don't know the condition of the brood or room for expansion they might have - altho I know they have none right now in the upper deep filled with stores. I am guessing that I should allow the supercedure to take place and here is where I REALLY need advice. What would be the best way (and time) to expand brood area, and possibly stave off a potential spring swarm - swap top & bottom hive boxes? Checkerboard (how exactly is this done to prevent total disruption of the brood core and chilling)? Re-queen?

There are a good number of bees (not tons), and I haven't noticed that many deads out in front of the hive - and plenty of stores, so I have to be somewhat optimistic about winter survival.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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"There are a few rules of thumb that are useful guides. One is that when you are confronted with some problem in the apiary and you do not know what to do, then do nothing. Matters are seldom made worse by doing nothing and are often made much worse by inept intervention." --The How-To-Do-It book of Beekeeping, Richard Taylor
 
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