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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last weekend I was outside and there was a swarm over my hive. My neighbor came over and said the swarm was trying to get into my hive and they were fighting. My hive all of a sudden came out like the drones on starwars. The swarm ended up way up in a tree and even though we had a nice empty hive under the tree, they went off somewhere. I am thinking that it was actually my hive swarming, but it really looked like too many bees for my hive to have harbored.

I have been a bit lazy with my hive. I have a bad back and it has really been bothering me. Lifting off the supers was sometthing I was trying to aviod. I am feeling better and should be able to keep up with them a bit better.
What do you think?
It was a new hive since around April 1st. It had mostly bare frames in it and was syrup fed. Two brood supers and just a week or so before I sawe this swarm I had added a super of honey frames that already had drawn comb on them. I had figured there was plenty of space for a new hive and wasn't too worried about a swarm.
I have since looked in and they almost filled the top honey super. THe brood supers had the outside two frames still untouched. I put a bee escape (one way out) between the new honey super so they will have to work on filling hte brood supers, then I will add a new honey frame on top.

When I go in next time, what should I look for if there is any sign to tell what happened.
 

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I would look for eggs to see if there is proof of a laying queen, if not look for evidence of emerged queen cells.

Next thing I would do is open up the brood nest, make sure the queen has room to lay, move the untouched frames from the outside toward the middle, each frame between two fully drawn frames. Move frames full of honey out of the brood nest and replace with foundation or empty comb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Move frames full of honey out of the brood nest and replace with foundation or empty comb.

I was wondering about this. I was under the impression the honey was welcomed as a resourse for the bees in the winter. Are you saying that the lowest super is for brood only, and the second one can have honey and brood?

I have to buy a book on beekeeping. I need to read up on everything. I have a hard time understand some of the answers I see here because I don't have a good foundation of the basics.
 

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Hi HRM,

I'm not sure what you have and don't want to assume too much. Standard hives use two deep brood supers. When those are mostly drawn out honey supers go above them. Ssome of us keep the brood out of the honey supers period. some don't bother. That's what the queen excluder does.

If you put your bee escape below the honey supers, remove it. That will only make them store nectar in the brood chamber. You don't want that. They can store pollen there and brood but you want to be able to extract the honey so it all goes above the brood nest.

Setting up for winter is a different thing. And it's too early now. But you'll make sure the queens in the bottom brood box with plenty of store around her. you can't do that yet cuz she's still laying (we hope).

Just in case she's running out of room to lay, let's move those outside frames that are empty into the middle of the brood nest. (Not together) Then she can use them and all frames are in service.

Is that too much at one time?


Hawk
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
NO Hawk, that was very helpful. Thank you.

I placed the Honey super on top of the two brood boxes a couple weeks ago.

My problem starts with my lack of knowledge, and people advising me. Without any definite resource (Like a juicy FAQ) I must weight peoples opinons very heavily.

I spoke with a beekeeper in passing telling how I added the honey super and they said it was too soon (since March 31) to add the honey supers to this new hive.

The honey super had drawn comb in it when I put it in and by the time I looked (5 days ago) it was alomst totally full of honey. I looked in the brood boxes also, saw they still had two frames on each side empty and figured they were correct, it was too early to add the honey super.

As a result, my neighbor and I decided to put the escape on the honey super and force them down to finish up the brood boxes.
I will take it out tomorrow. I moved the empty frame in between the fill ones today in the brood boxes.

I didn't realize that empty frames down low were acceptable. (I need to get a better understanding of the basics) I ordered new frames and will add another empty honey super on top. THe bees will have empty frames in the brood box, a fill super of honey, and empty frames on the top honey super as soon as that arrives.

Sound good?
 

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Don't think of the top honey super as full of honey. It's full of nectar. Some nectar is 80% water. Honey is only 16% water. If you round this off to 20% for easy math it means they need to fill four supers with nectar in order to reduce it down to one super of honey. That's one way to do it. The other is to let them fill and reduce at the same time. Mr. Imrie says to super with four supers to start with. And I'm on his side. If you have the supers.

The problem with forcing them to build comb during a nectar flow is that they know they need to bring in that nectar and they will bring it in. If you force them to they'll bring it into the brood box. We don't want that yet.

They empty frams in the brood box are not a necessity. We use two deeps as a standard but it's a little bit more than we need. so empties don't upset us. They'll get to it sometime. The queen does lay eggs in the cells where the old brood hatched from. If she runs out of room to lay the hive swarms.

Good Luck,

Hawk
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Once again I learn something. I figured it was honey as the frame was heavy and it looked like honey. I didn't poke at it to see how it flowed, which is how I guess you tell. If it is thick, it's honey.

I just pulled out the escape and the new frames should arrive soon to add one more.

Some of the comb is uncapped and has liquid in it, some is capped and looks like honey would to me.

How does one tell if it is honey or nectar? Just poke it and see, or taste?
 

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WWW.backyardbeekeepers.com

This is the answer to a lot of your problems. We can hook you up with a mentor and we have a beginners course one evening a month plus other workshops. Come TOMORROW for our dinner meeting. $15 at the door or bring a dish that feeds 8. (All this assumes you are not already a member.) We meet in Weston, Ct. Any other Ct 'keepers want to come? PS. Silent auction will be going on.

Dickm
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well it is mostly capped except for the end few. It is honey it seems. I removed the escape last night and today there was way too much activity around the hive. It looked like lots of bees trying to land but hesitating. THe pad was full of bees so landing woudl not be easy, but there just are too many bees for normal. A buddy said that is how the robbers behaved. I closed off the door with the bocker to make a smaller opening to defend (if that was the case) and lightly smokled them figuring that woudl confuse them. Peaking in the top it seemd like lots of activity in the honey super. I am thinking robbers found it before they could move back up. I am going to go look some more. It is not today, but has been hotter.

Regarding the dinner, is that Tuesday? It may be possible.
Thanks Dick.
 

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HRM; Their are different schools of thought on honey supers one is as you mentioned and one is that as soon as one is 80% full add another, the other is as soon as your brood boxes are full put as many as you can on all at once.
And then some pull the full frames and replace them with empty.
If you have more than one hive try both and see what works in your area and the one that you feel is best for you.
In our area as soon as the flow started I threw one empty and four drawn on mine that were full with bees. Haven't harvested yet am going to wait till the mid to last of Sept. to allow them to keep the late flow.
Listen to what others say and find what works for you and your area. The best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Regarding the dinner Dick, I am afraid I have other commitments, but I sincerely appreciate the offer.

I had run out to the hive in just shorts. I saw all the activity and a few weeks ago I saw my hive defend against a swarm so I wanted to see what was up.

Last night I had also moved all the empty frames in between the full brood frames in an effort to get them all used. Between the honey being re-opened to them, and the frame shuffled, maybe they were all just out and sensed a storm coming (which was the case) Anyway, after dressing a bit better, and having given them a tiny puff or two of smoke before going in to change, when I came out, the hive looked as normal as can be. Perhaps there was a large hatch, or many returning bees, but it was a different situation than I was used to seeing.
All seems well now, I was able to find enough parts at my neighbors to build one more medium super with foundations, so they certainly have plenty of room and lots to do.
Since I had only one drawn super (a gift from my neighbor) and all other frames simply had foundation, would it be a good idea to remove the honey from the full super so I can reintroduce the drawn comb, thus saving them the time to construct more? I realize they will have to eventually fill all the frames, but it seems since the honey is coming in, that spinning the full ones might increase the yield a bit. I think Pat might feel like spinning some too, so the extractor will get more use than just my one super.
What are the thoughts about this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I also have been wondering if the swarm was from my hive. It seems to me that there were too many bees in the swarm (I saw it in a tree) to have come from my 2 month old hive. After that day it does seem sometimes that there is less activity, other times it seems the same as before. I also have opened the front recently so they no longer have to go in and out single file. That does change the appearance of their coming and goings.

There was plenty of room in the hive with something like three empty in the first brood box, and four empty frames in the second. A week or so before I added a super full of drawn comb, though I realize that the swarm mood would have started before that. I had figured that a new hive with plenty of room would not be inclined to swarm, but what do I know.

Regarding the activit today being the swarm returning, I don't know, but it was the 5th, 22 days ago the swarm was around.

I have photos I will post them.

http://www.moonfest.com/Bees/HRM1.htm
 

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It always seems to me that when any my hives swarm several do at once. Then it seems like they can't figure out which cluster the belong to. Sometimes there are several queens in one cluster and sometimes one cluster shrinks and the other grows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
THat was what I was afraid of really, that somehow some of my bees joined the swarm. They sure did leave the nest fast, but my buddy Pat felt they were fighting.
 
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