Changing Out Hive Box

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by dnburton4, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. dnburton4

    dnburton4 New Member

    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm a very new bee keeper and wanted to get some advice. I purchased a hive 3 weeks ago which included a bottom, a deep with 4 frames of brood with a queen, 2 empty frames and 3 frames of honey and a top. The hive also had lots of workers and I'm guessing, drones. I just purchased an additional bottom with entrance reducer, 1 deep with 10 frames, 2 (medium) supers and a inner cover with cover. The original hive bottoms appears to be permenantly connnected to the deep and a entrance reducer (2 1/2 inches wide) is also permenantly connected to the bottom. My concern is that the entrance is not wide enough for the growing population of bees. My plans were to add my other deep this weekend and wondered if I should place all the current frames into the new deep with the new bottom thus allowing a larger entrance for the bees. After doing this, I could take apart the old deep and bottom and use the old deep for the 2nd brood chamber. Does this sound like a good idea or should I just leave as is and add the new deep to the top of the old one? I appreciate any words of wisdom and/or experience.
     
  2. CeeGee

    CeeGee New Member

    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That would work fine. Are you sure the bottom board, reducer, and deep are really permanently attached? Sometimes that propolis is pretty strong stuff.
     

  3. dnburton4

    dnburton4 New Member

    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm not 100% sure how they are attached but the beekeeper I bought the bees from picked the hive up by the handles on the side instead of underneath the hive. When I moved the hive, it all moved as one unit. This could be area specific since we have some crazy, strong winds and storms in the Texas Panhandle area. I'm not sure whether I should give the bees a full entrance or keep it reduced to the current 2 1/2 inches all the time. When I inspect and add the new deep this weekend I will check to see how it is all staying together. I may find that you are right and that I just need to put my hive tool to work. More than anything, I want to do what's right for the bees yet not disturb them too much with changing deeps and entrances if they are not needed.
     
  4. CeeGee

    CeeGee New Member

    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ahhh, Texas - well maybe they are attached, what with hurricanes and all, I dont know.

    Personally I'm thinking until the hive is really covering at least half of the second box, you may want to keep some entrance reduction, but not at the expense of returning forager congestion (You can usually get an idea by seeing if it is too congested during the busy times of day (mid-afternoon-ish))
    Maybe you can pry the reducer off (assuming it's not nailed on there) and stick something smaller, but still providing some blockage, in the entrance. That's what I do - increase the entrance space in increments as the hive gets stronger
     
  5. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have 5 frame nucs that are 4 boxes high and have a 1" hole for all the traffic and they seem fine. Of course this is Jersey and not 110F Texas.
     
  6. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

    Messages:
    3,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    hi dnburon,
    the hive may have been stapled together...check for hive staples, you want to remove these. the entrance reducer may be propolized on, or may have a small nail, or screw, staple, etc to keep it in place. you really want these moveable or separated, not permanently attached. hives can be strapped down to guard against crazy winds and weather, and you want to be able to adjust or remove the entrance reducer.
    the entrance reducer at 2 1/2 inches wide? i would remove it completely, given that you are in texas. or, adjust the reducer to the amount of traffic and bee jams in the front of the hive.
    " My concern is that the entrance is not wide enough for the growing population of bees. My plans were to add my other deep this weekend and wondered if I should place all the current frames into the new deep with the new bottom thus allowing a larger entrance for the bees. After doing this, I could take apart the old deep and bottom and use the old deep for the 2nd brood chamber. Does this sound like a good idea or should I just leave as is and add the new deep to the top of the old one? "

    my thoughts are, figure out how the hive body, bottom board and e/r are attached first before you going to all the trouble of transferring frames of a new hive to a new deep, and risking possible injury to your queen. er's can usually be removed easily. if you find no hive staples holding things together, or that the bottom board is nailed to the hive body, then i would do the transfer of the frames to the new deep, and add back the 'old deep' once separated from the bottom board as the second deep when the bees are ready for it.
    ......hope i made sense?......:lol:
    :grin:
     
  7. Lburou

    Lburou Member

    Messages:
    553
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    riverbee's advice rings true for me, that is a logical way to work through your questions. Its part of your beekeeping education. :)

    A reduced entrance is a good idea with the heat and dearth coming to the panhandle real soon (read robbing into the scenario here). I use hardware cloth to reduce the entrance, that way, the bees can use the increased air circulation if they need it yet the bees only have to defend the smaller opening when robbers come looking. When it is tipping 100-110F, you might want to do something to the top of the hive for more circulation as well, so be thinking about it. :)
     
  8. dnburton4

    dnburton4 New Member

    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Great advice and I appreciate the replies. I plan to get into the hive tomorrow late morning and I will be ready to get this figured out. I can see 1 staple at the E/R so I believe this is stapled/nailed together. I will verify this in the morning then do the change out as Riverbee suggests and use the old deep as my second deep after disassembly. I like the suggestion of using a full entrance with a hardware cloth reduction by Lburou. I have a inner cover with a telescopic cover on the way which is supposed to provide additonal ventalation. I'll replace the old cover with these when they get here. If you advise in giving additional ventalation, please let me know. I'm sure I can build a ventalation tier fairly easy. :smile:
     
  9. dnburton4

    dnburton4 New Member

    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I wanted to give an update...... I got into the hive early this afternoon and transfered the frames into my new bottom and new deep so I could inspect the old bottom and deep. Come to find out the old deep was screwed to the bottom and the E/R was stapled to the bottom. I felt like an idiot inspecting the frames due to my inexperience in beekeeping. I couldn't find the queen but didn't expect to. I am a bit concerned that the frames were full of honey and not much brood. I did pick out some drone brood, 2 queen cups on the bottom of 2 different frames and 1 frame had 3 queen cups in the center of the frame. None of the cups were near being capped. All the frames in the old deep were full except for 1 which the workers had just started to comb out. After inspection of all the frames I unscrewed the old deep and put it on top of the new deep then added my new frames. I took Lburou's advice and left the E/R out and put hardware cloth on to reduce the entrance but keep good venilation. Again, I appreciate the advice.
     
  10. Lburou

    Lburou Member

    Messages:
    553
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    dnburton, can you show us a picture of those 'queen cups'?

    Queen cups are empty and no cause for concern....When there is an egg or larva in them, I call them 'queen cells'. If you have queen cells, your bees are getting ready to swarm, or, they could be replacing their queen -difficult to tell over the Internet ;)

    If they are in swarming mode, it will be difficult to keep them from swarming. One thing you could do is to open the brood nest by taking one or two of the original frames and put them in the second hive body (replace them with empty drawn comb or frames with foundation or empty frames if that is your philosophy).

    ​Best thing you could do is to take some pictures of the frames of brood with the queen cups and post them here. HTH :)

    P.S. Read about queen cells here, and more about congestion and swarms here.
     
  11. dnburton4

    dnburton4 New Member

    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Here is the only picture I took of what looked like a queen cup or (cell) to me. There were 3 others similar in size on another frame which I did not get a picture of. I did place one of the old frames which were full of honey, brood and pollen in the upper deep then replaced it with a new frame. Thanks again!


    pool at dusk 004.jpg
     
  12. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

    Messages:
    3,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Inspecting the frames is the only way to learn. If you didn't inspect them then you might be considered an .....
    As you gain experience you'll learn to spot the queens. But don't let not finding them worry you. The most experienced beeks also miss spotting them often. More important is looking for the signs that will tell you she is there--eggs, young brood, a calm demeaner to the bees, foragers coming home with full pollen baskets.
    From your picture, it looks like you have queen cups, not cells. Assuming they are empty (when activated, the bees will adjust their shape) you have no reason to fear that the bees are preparing to swarm.
     
  13. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

    Messages:
    3,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    what ef said dnburton,
    also here is a post with a link to a great pdf on queen cups/cells, go to post #1:

    Queen Cell Identification