First Spring Inspection / Manipulation

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by litefoot, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    We've had several days of at least 60 degrees and sun, so today I decided to inspect and start mite treatment. I have two deeps and a medium. Here's what I found. Top medium: About two frames of capped brood and larvae. Not a lot, but some. Some pollen and some freshly capped honey as well as other frames being filled with wet stuff. That really surprised us, but then we thought the bees must be moving it up from the stores below. Top deep: Some brood and lots of old leftover capped stores from the winter. Some frames of pollen. We removed two of the honey-packed frames on either side of the brood area and replaced them with new foundation. Bottom deep: Again, quite a bit of leftover stores and some pollen-packed frames and some empty comb. No brood anywhere. We removed 5 frames of mostly empty comb, moved the remaining frames to the outside of the box and put 5 new frames of new foundation in the center of the box. I want the comb for my new package arriving in late April. We then removed the bottom deep and cleaned off the BB, where we found much of the sugar we had poured onto the inner cover 3 weeks ago.:lol: Next, we placed the middle deep and the medium super (now becoming a brood box) on the BB and the formerly bottom deep is now on top of the hive. We also treated with ApiGuard before closing things up. There were lots of bees. Any comments on how we handled this? Also, some of the leftover capped honey cappings were dark brown. Is that normal?
     
  2. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I doubt if at this time of the year the bees are moving stored honey from one area of the hive to another. The "wet stuff" is most likely fresh nectar coming in--- a good sign. This means that they should be ready to build new combs but I think you were a bit too bold placing the 5 frames for drawing in the center of the hive. You would have done better, IMHO, to have split them and placed two on one side and three on the other side of the bottom deep, or better yet, intermixed them alternately with the built frames, NOT SPLITTING THE BROOD into two groups.
    You didn't mention whether you saw the queen or not. In any event, it is important that you be sure she is down below with the brood and not up above, starting a new center for the nest. Otherwise you'll have problems with brood in your honey storage area.
    Dark brown honey cappings are quite normal from dark cells.
     

  3. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Thanks, Ef. The box with the 5 frames centered (top deep now) had no brood in it, but you are right, I probably should have alternated new foundation with the drawn frames. I can fix this fairly easily. I didn't see the queen, but there was already brood in the top medium so I moved the medium along-side the other deep (with brood) to keep the brood nest together. There was a frame in the top medium that looked like newly capped honey along with the other wet cells I mentioned. The local beeks told me that we won't see nectar until May 1 so it is important to get all Spring treatments completed before the end of April. So I was surprised by my findings. As a matter of fact, nothing I saw in my inspection looked like what I "expected". There are at least 4 more really heavy frames in the (now) bottom super full of the winter's stores. Not sure what to do about them.
     
  4. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Assuming that all freezes and need for clustering are behind you: If the filled supers are not made from sugar-syrup and haven't been exposed to any chemical treatments, you can move them up to your storage super and erxtract them when you take off your honey. Otherwise, just move them to the sides of the brood box. This leaves room for the queen to lay and as the nest expands, the bees should use the syrup for brood rearing. You can encourage them to use these frames by scraping the cappings a bit.
     
  5. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    IMHO, if any of those frames containing honey (from this year or last) have been in the hive when there is treatment of any kind going on, mark those frames as "bee only", not for human consumption.
    While very inconvenient, that is why I run one size box for brood, and a different size for honey. I don't extract deeps, and honey supers only go on during a flow when there is no treatment going on.
    Again, just my opinion, others may have differing ones (that's what makes this place great) :wink:
     
  6. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Hey Perry, thanks! Yes I would like to keep the box sizes separate so as to differentiate between the bee's honey and what I want take. But I added the super in the Fall thinking I would give them extra stores. Now I have brood in it. So I guess I need to keep it alongside the brood in the deep until temps rise above the the level where they need to cluster. I thought maybe once I identify the queens location I could use an excluder until all brood emerges and then remove the medium until I need it.
     
  7. jb63

    jb63 New Member

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    Keep an eye on your new frames ,last yr mine wanted to build lots of drone comb on new frames early spring.
     
  8. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    By the time the bees have emerged from the comb they will need the space. keep the box on top and as nectar comes in they will fill the comb with honey and force the queen down. If you want to add an excluder and can not find the queen shake the bees of the frames into the brood boxes and place the bee-less super over the excluder and the nurse bees will come up thru the excluder to care for the brood. Only do this when the temp is warm so not to chill the brood.
     
  9. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    "We then removed the bottom deep and cleaned off the BB, where we found much of the sugar we had poured onto the inner cover 3 weeks ago.:lol: "

    so the girls thought it was trash......:lol:
    too funny!
     
  10. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    OK, Ef I took your advice and went back in and mixed the new foundation with the drawn comb as you suggested. Thanks!

    Apis, I found the queen in the medium super, moved her down and inserted an excluder. I've seen evidence of her, but that's the first I've actually seen her since August of last year. Anyway, thanks for your input. I feel better about this arrangement (moving the super back to the top).