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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just an update on my hives I thought might be queen less. One hive did not make it through the winter, but the other did. I fed sugar by the five pound bag untill the weather warmed. Last week I installed some sugar water to see if the queen would lay. I believe I got that tip from Walt (thanks). Went to check today and there is brood!! Haven't seen that since July! From the many wonderful resposes I got form my first post I think I should have feed sugar water at the end of the summer as the weather dryed out and we didn't get our second necter flow. I think it would have kept her laying and set up better stores for winter?? What do y'all think?

The brood was laid in the upper super so per another poster suggestion I smoked them real well and several bees went down to the brood box and then I installed the queen seperator. We shall see next week if this worked. Could I have just put the top super on the bottom and the brood super on top (swapped them)? Wasn't sure if that was a good idea. What do y'all think?

Thanks so much for helping me out this winter. I'm so excited they have a queen! Also very good advice to order a package as I will be needing it now!

K
 

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You have a queen! Particularly this year you put a smile on my face and probably many others. It has been a LONG brutal winter, and it is not over yet here.

Regarding feeding in the summer, I think it would have been good to fee sugar water. Around here we had a dearth last summer that started in the latter half of June. The hive that made it through the winter (a split) was in trouble in August. It was an 8-frame, deep on bottom and medium on top. The bees moved up in the summer to the medium. The deep had fully drawn comb in all frames, fully empty. I started feeding 2:1 for several weeks, and in about 1-1/2 months the bees pretty much filled the frames, so they were pretty well set for winter. Before starting this feeding I swapped the boxes. Going into winter I put a frame of sugar cakes above the bees for insurance.

Earlier this month, when the weather permitted I did a quick check. All the bees were up top (in the deep). I did swap boxes, putting the deep below the medium. Last Saturday was the first time I pulled any frames, as the temps reached the low 60's. As you experienced, I saw brood. :D
I have put on some 1:1 sugar water, but not a huge amount, as the girls are storing it, have some stores left, and are bringing in a bunch of pollen.

We got 3-4 inches of snow last night, but not bitter cold. Next week the forecast for one night is 20 degrees and 37 mph winds. I had removed the wraps from my hive last week, but will be putting them back on during that episode.

Personally I have not had a good experience with queen excluders, so I don't generally use them on colonies. I would not smoke excessively; so far this year I have lit the smoker but only used it when I needed the girls to clear the top of the bottom box so that I could put the top box back on with few or hopefully no casualties.

Good luck this year,

Phil
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Phil, merince,
Very helpful. I think I'll swap them then as I like this better. Yes my 8 deep has full empty comb. Ok I'll go easy on the smoke :) Yes I was so excited today when I saw brood I just had to share.

K
 

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Why would you put an excluder on when they're just starting to build up? Separating the queen from the brood nest now is probably not the greatest idea unless the top box was full of brood and bees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't know!! Just something I read. It may seem obvious to many but I'm a bear with very little brain ;). Sounded right at the time. Sigh...

K
 

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Don't beat yourself up, I just wanted to give you something to think about. I know many people get stuck on terminology about 'supers' and 'brood boxes' but it's all the same to the bees. Invariably they move up in winter and will start brooding in the 'super' so if you don't like honey in dark comb you need to have your wintering boxes for the bees to put stores in and your clean supers for honey flows you want to extract that don't stay on the boxes over fall and winter or pull all the supers off and condense down to your defined 'brood' boxes. It's also why having all the same size boxes on a hive is helpful, makes reversing boxes easy and I know queen excluders in general require a learning curve for some people and bees.... In general, you never want to separate the queen from the broodnest, as the bees now have to divide to keep the queen alive and cover brood in two areas.
 
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