bees not building foundation

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by kugoggio, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. kugoggio

    kugoggio New Member

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    I have 2 hives, one's strong, one's weak (the weak one had a pesticide issue early summer so I don't have much expectation with them but it's strengthening up.)
    This stronger hive still hasn't gone up to the honey super and started building foundation.
    Yesterday I took out the 10th frame in the second brood box, walled with capped honey.
    Yesterday I also took off the Q excluder I had put on 3 weeks ago. I recently read "Q excluder=honey excluder, if the Q can't get up there the workers won't either".
    Hmmm?
    So I'm thinking I should let her go up there, spread some scent around so the workers go up there and get to work building foundation, then put the Q excluder back on once they've gotten to work.
    Does this make sense?
    If not why won't a strong hive (they are packed, even bearding on rainy days) go up there and get going?
    I've attached a picture of them bearding, it's lightly raining when I took the picture, but had been raining all day.
    Isn't it getting late for them to have not even started yet?
    Thanks!
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Removing the honey excluder was one step in the right direction. They will not draw out any comb when there is no honey flow. It is over here for the summer. If it is the same in Wis., they won't move up until the fall flow or maybe spring.
     

  3. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I don't like using a queen excluder except on drawn comb, and that is only in the height of the honey flow.

    If I am reading your post right you have two deeps that are completely full of brood and honey, will this get you through a Wisconsin winter? if not they need to keep on building stores and catch the fall flow also.

    G3
     
  4. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    The days are getting shorter, the flow is decreasing, and the bees spend very little resources in drawing comb if they have any cells or other areas to fill first. They will start back-filling the brood chamber in around the ever smaller brood chamber area.

    So relax, forego the bad advice of anyone calling a queen excluder a honey excluder (which is usually an oldtimer who has used an excluder in the same manner as everyone else who somehow can't seem to make an excluder work) and maybe next spring when the time is right to use an excluder, ask for some advice about entrances above the excluder, using an excluder sideways, and other beekeeper management tricks of the trade.

    I can show you many boxes where bees are not going up to draw wax in new supers the last week of July, whether an excluder is used or not. Most hives are in "winter-prep" mode, and yet beekeepers are wanting new comb drawn. A big conflict that has little to do with excluders.
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Excluders are like automobiles. A good tool in the hands of a well trained operator. A dangerous item in the hands of an untrained person. Too many people try to operate a lot of tools before completing training. That's bad, so I just advise them to not use them the first few years of beekeeping.
     
  6. kugoggio

    kugoggio New Member

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    Thanks for everyone's input.posting.php?mode=reply&f=36&t=888#
    I was told when I started keeping bees that if you pose the same question to 3 beekeeper you'll get 4 different answers!
    Consistency in that statement! posting.php?mode=reply&f=36&t=888#!

    All kidding aside, I love hearing everyone's theories, certainly gives a beek something to ponder and keep the brain active.
    A more seasoned beek than myself came to my hives today, said they were great (see what I didn't know!). But, I need to vent up top...maybe too hot for them to want to go up in the supers.
    So, that's what I did, and smeared some honey around up there. If there's a fall honey flow maybe this will help. If not that's okay too.
    So I'll relax, thanks for the advise!
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    kugo writes:
    All kidding aside, I love hearing everyone's theories, certainly gives a beek something to ponder and keep the brain active.
    A more seasoned beek than myself came to my hives today, said they were great (see what I didn't know!). But, I need to vent up top...maybe too hot for them to want to go up in the supers.

    tecumseh:
    venting at the top of the stack would sound to be beneficial. the higher the temperature the more this concern might move toward being essential.

    therories? here's one.... well not really.
    I have often times explained the use/misuse of an excluder in much the same terms as iddee. this description is often times proceeded by a disclaminer that I was reared by two commercial bee keepers that voiced exactly the same 'wives tales'... that is a queen excluder was a honey excluder. so for quite a long time and except for use in a bit of package shaking or queen rearing I never much utilized a queen excluder. information can however change how you look at things. after reading an extremely well done 'experiment' in an old bee journal I came to question this wisdom. being somewhat a sceptic I repeated this 'experiment' here. bottom line... properly employed a queen excluder (+ entrances above the excluder and reduced entrances at the bottom of the stack) can slightly enhance your honey crop and decongest the brood nest (which may also reduce swarming).
     
  8. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    I think bees are all different, too. One year I put an excluder on a strong hive with a super of drawn comb above, and the bees crowded below it and never came up.

    That being said, I use my excluder a lot... to lay honey frames on while uncapping!
     
  9. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Putting on wax foundation at this time usually means a real loss as the bees utilize the wax for capping in other areas of the hive. If I put anything on at this time of the year, it is plastic foundation. Where they stop this year, they will start again next year. Not so with wax foundation. I use much wax foundation, but have found any foundation at this time of the year means wasting it as the bees strip it clean off the wires.