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Discussion Starter #1
Every Spring I find all of my bees in the top deep with all frames in the bottom deep completely empty. This makes sense considering they have a sugar board just above the top deep, a hive entrance at the top, and the top deep is going to be the warmest part of the hive during the winter. Today's hive inspection showed the same thing in all three hives: a small cluster of brood in the center frame and honey/pollen in surrounding frames in the top deep. My question is, will the queen recognize that the entire lower deep is completely empty and eventually move down to lay in the bottom deep? Or will she feel as though she is out of space since she is surrounded by food in the top deep? Do I need to be doing anything to reorganize the hive? I apologize if the answer is obvious, I'm still new at this.


Thanks!

Josh

Location: 4500 ft elevation NC Mtns
 

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In the start of spring I always rotate the boxes.seperate the 2,The one with the bees in it, goes on the bottom & the empty one is then on top.Mark,,,,,,,
 

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If there is only one frame of brood in the top and the rest of the combs are full of honey, then I would reverse the boxes and not wait for the queen to figure it out.
 

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Feral bees, left to their own devices, are programmed to swarm in the Spring. What would most likely happen if you leave them alone and wait for them to move down would probably mirror what you would see happen in the wild.

They will expand the brood nest downward, but at the same time, will begin to fill the cells above with nectar as the brood above emerges. As the population increases the new "lower" brood nest will be backfilled with nectar and swarm preparations started.
 

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I never rotate the boxes. Even before necter starts coming in I'll have brood in both boxes. The first surplus nectar that comes in will be stored above the broodnest. This will push the broodnest into the lower box.
I figure they have the nest set up the way they want. I control swarming by adding a foundationless frame as needed to keep it open.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the replies. It looks like my options are:

1. Leave things alone and let the queen naturally move downward to lay in the lower deep.

2. Swap the upper and lower deeps

3. Manually move frames around such that the brood nest is in the center of the lower deep surrounded by empty frames and some food in the outer frames. Then alternate food and empty frames in the upper deep.

In previous years, when I find that the bees have consumed almost all of their winter reserves leaving just the small broodnest in the center of the top deep, I swap the upper and lower deeps so the queen can expand to neighboring frames when she starts laying and already be in the lower deep. This has worked well. However, this hive was installed last year and never fully established itself. So I gave it plenty of food last fall and I believe this is what is still filling most of the upper deep. Unlike the other hives, the queen has no where to lay in neighboring frames so I fear swapping the two deeps might not be a good idea. I think I will go with option 1 for now and leave things alone. However, I'll monitor closely and make sure I see the queen laying in the lower deep in a couple of weeks.

Thanks again!
 
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