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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a hive in an eight frame double deep. They swarmed about a week ago and, assuming there's a queen in there she hasn't started laying yet. My concern is that while the colony is queenless the bees have gone into overdrive collecting nectar. It looks like as brood is hatching out, they're backfilling with nectar. The top deep has five and a half frames of solid nectar/honey. There's a super on but only one of the frames is drawn - they seem to be filling the brood space before they decide to draw the super out. I suspect I should have had the super on earlier.

My first thought was to pull some of the frames from the top box and give them back foundation so they can spend time building comb while the queen is mating. Hopefully they'll have time to build it but not fill it before she's ready to lay. Does that seem like a good solution?

The other problem is what to do with the frames. One of them is 75% capped and I could possibly extract it but I'm worried about water content. The other frames are 50% capped. I guess I could spin them to remove nectar/uncured honey before uncapping and spinning again to get good honey. All that seems like a waste of time and nectar. I could put the frames in a box above the inner cover in an attempt to get them to move it down into the super but with it being mostly undrawn it doesn't seem likely to work.

What would you do in this situation?

Thanks,
Jason
 

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In my experience, they won't draw wax if there's not a laying queen needing room to lay. Once she's mated and laying, they'll start moving honey up to give her room to lay below.

Your profile does not say where you are located. I myself might test that 75% capped frame by shaking it flat face down to see if any nectar flies out. If it does not, I'd call it good enough to extract, same with the 50%'s. After all, you'll need more than one frame in an extractor. If you are in the south east of the rockies, it may very well be too wet to extract from your high humidity environment. But mostly, just bide your time. Once the new queen gets mated and laying, the bees will move honey up to give her room and start drawing wax once they get to a point where they think they need it. sometimes It's harder to get them started drawing wax than it is to keep them drawing it, they tend to let themselves drastically need the space for brooding before they'll start drawing.

I would say just be patient and see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
In my experience, they won't draw wax if there's not a laying queen needing room to lay. Once she's mated and laying, they'll start moving honey up to give her room to lay below.

Your profile does not say where you are located. I myself might test that 75% capped frame by shaking it flat face down to see if any nectar flies out. If it does not, I'd call it good enough to extract, same with the 50%'s. After all, you'll need more than one frame in an extractor. If you are in the south east of the rockies, it may very well be too wet to extract from your high humidity environment. But mostly, just bide your time. Once the new queen gets mated and laying, the bees will move honey up to give her room and start drawing wax once they get to a point where they think they need it. sometimes It's harder to get them started drawing wax than it is to keep them drawing it, they tend to let themselves drastically need the space for brooding before they'll start drawing.

I would say just be patient and see what happens.
Thanks a lot! I'm in southern Indiana so it's currently fairly dry and our nectar flow is going strong. I think I've managed to update my profile so that info will be available next time. That makes me feel better. I've heard stories about honey bound hives and was worried I could be setting myself for failure.

I just ordered a refractometer so I can see how wet the nectar is but for at least two nothing was dripping when I turned the frame so I'm betting it'll be good enough. I'll give it a shake in a day or two and then double-check with the refractometer. On the bright side this'll be an opportunity to try out my new extractor for the first time! It'll also be the first honey from my hives so that's pretty exciting.

Last year was my first year so this is my first spring with hives that are really going strong. The speed they can draw and fill comb totally took my by surprise.
 
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