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I went to the hive today, overcast, lower 70's, and there was a cluster of bees below the bottom board. I smoked the upper brood box, I only have two no supers yet. I set the upper box aside and started to go through the lower box. I forgot to smoke the lower box, not smart. In going through the lower box frames I noticed very dark brood chambers and several, what looks like to be supercedure cells. When I got about 6 frames through the box they got real mad. I was stung about 6 times, the first ever through the pants. I quickly replaced the upper box and covers and high tailed it. I think the cluster outside was a swarm, but I do not have an available box to place them in. I did not see a queen but I only went through 6 of 20 frames. The upper box appeared to have about 3 frames available. Last time I went to the hive about a week ago I placed some sticks under the cover for an upper entrance. Any hints?
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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It's more than likely they are clustering outside because of the heat. Do you have a SBB? Are they under that? I suppose it's possible they are confused and can't find their way in, but that seems unlikely. I'm guessing, if you have plenty of room in the hive, that it's just the heat.

If you propped the top, that's a good step to help ventilate.
 

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If you've only got 3 frames unused in the hive you need a super ASAP. If you were trying to make them swarm this would be the way to do it. Then you need to do something about ventilation. Upper entrance, 3/4" hole in the new super, Slide the top deep back 3/4 inch, Imirie shim(do search). Lastly, a screened bottom board which will help with air movement as well as being a good investment. Supercedure cells are in the middle of the frame(Usually). Bees build and tear these down regularly. Swarm cells are on the bottom of the frames. Try tipping the whole deep up and checking all the bottoms at once, on both deeps.
Bottom line. The bees are likely just hot, but get acouple of supers.

Dickm
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your replies. I think you are right about the available space. I will put on a super ASAP. But I would have thought that being a cooler day and having already propped the outer cover open with sticks it should have been cool enough? The hive is located in a wooded area near a stream, no direct sunlight except in the morning. If the bees that were on the outside went in the brood boxes would sure be packed. I will purchase a queen excluder, a super, and a sliding bottom board tomorrow. I have just a solid board now on top of concrete blocks. The bees were clustered under the entrance lip of the board on the facing of the concrete blocks, almost two pounds worth. All of your suggestions and feedback are great, they certainly help calm me down. Like several people have said before, the bees know what they are doing.
 

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I searched some on the SBB but never found a real description of one . The old beekeeper that I have mentoring me just looks at me kind of funny if I ask him about one . Any help is greatly appreciated .

Drifter
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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Screened Bottom Baords (SBB)
http://www.beesource.com/plans/ipmbottom.htm http://www.beesource.com/plans/ipmbottom.pdf http://www.beeequipment.com/search.asp search for product code 277 http://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=52&products_id=340 http://go.netgrab.com/secure/kelleystore/asp/product.asp?product=201

The purpose of course, is that the mites fall through and can't get back on the bees.

Other, just as useful attributes, gives you a way to monitor the mites and gives you a way to increase ventilation.
 
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