Hive inspection vid. Critical mass?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by afterburn001, May 20, 2012.

  1. afterburn001

    afterburn001 New Member

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    OK, This is our second year as bee keepers. We started out with two hives and they both overwintered real well, especially the one in the video. Being new beeks it's hard to judge when we reach critical mass as far as swarming goes. We want a good honey crop and have already made a nuc from this hive just over a month ago so we would rather not split again if we don't have too. any thought on the matter would be appreciated.

    Parameters:
    *Middle of the day so there we a lot of foragers out.
    *Out of the 20 frames in the two deeps there were at least ten packed with brood in various stages.
    *no swarm cells yet but there were two cups (perhaps capped) on two separate frames. I think there are empty. My wife thinks maybe not.
    *Both deeps drawn out and super has four of eight drawn.

    It was a 46 min inspection. I tried to edit it down to about seven. Sorry about the large size (HD) I'm still trying to figure out the camera settings. It looks good in full screen though. :lol:

    P.S. Our thoughts are that the hive will be fine without thinning it, but we (I) can be wrong. :roll:

    [video=youtube;xgWMblButro]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgWMblButro[/video]
     
  2. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    When you say that you made a nuc from this hive, I'm confused. Did you take the queen? I guess not, or you wouldn't have brood of all stages just a month later. Did you just take some frames of brood away? That would get replaced real quick by a laying queen, so I wouldn't rely solely on that as population control, if that's your goal. When you say "critical mass" I get the impression that you believe overcrowding is the only cause of swarming. You might need to give more details to get better help. 46 minutes to inspect a hive seems excessive to me. But if you are going to spend a lot of time looking at it, you'll gradually get better at recalling where the queen cells were (top, middle or bottom of frame) if there are any, and whether they are, or are not, capped.

    I know it's hard to get at first at first, but having surplus drawn comb early in the season is one really good way to give them plenty of room for brood nest and nectar storage and prevent swarms. Another is to take the queen and a few frames of bees/brood/stores and start a nuc a couple weeks before start of flow. But you have to take the queen, not just some frames of bees.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    *no swarm cells yet but there were two cups (perhaps capped) on two separate frames. I think there are empty. My wife thinks maybe not.

    tecumseh:
    capped cells are not cups they are cells that have only a small time window before they become virgin queens.

    at this time my internet connect is very slow so I am having difficulty reviewing you video. however by the short glimpse I did get there appears to be several queen cells in the hive you are inspecting. There looks to be one cell in the opening frame at the left hand corner of the frames.

    although some folks minimize the direct link between crowding and swarming I would suggest to you it is the first of several conditions necessary to encourage swarming. by casual observation it appears the hives you are inspecting has no upper entrance which will invariable make crowding worse and the need to swarm greater for hives set up in that manner.
     
  4. afterburn001

    afterburn001 New Member

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    DR Buzz,
    No, we did not take the queen when we made the nuc, We gave the nuc their own queen. Yes we took two frames of brood and two frames of honey. I realize that overcrowding is not the only cause of swarming but it is one of the triggers. The extra time we took in the hive was to clean up the mess they mad in the bottom box. A few of our frames we apparently not pushed together and they were making a mess!

    Tecumesh,
    I saw a few open cups, my wife mentioned the cells. I didn't get a good look at the two cells in the middle of the frame, At the time I was more interesting in seeing if there were swarm cells on the bottom of any of the frames. There weren't.

    I have been intending to into adding a top entrance to the big hives (we now have seven hives in all, 3 double deeps) Would this just be a few escape holes in the top or a top entrance board?

    Thanks!
     
  5. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    You can cut a notch in your inner cover, if you use one, or you can drill a hole in your box, or you can shift the top box back a half inch or so to make a gap between it and the box under it.....I know an old guy that simply puts a little stick the size of a pencil under the inner hive cover when he wants to increase air flow and/or create an upper entrance.....You can get an Imirie Shim or make your own.....
    There are many other ways of achieving an upper entrance as well, that are difficult to visualize from a written description.
     
  6. afterburn001

    afterburn001 New Member

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    Thanks! My wife reminded me that that we put sticks on one edge of the inner covers for ventilation. I guess that's does serve for an escape.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    I know an old guy that simply puts a little stick the size of a pencil under the inner hive cover when he wants to increase air flow and/or create an upper entrance

    tecumseh:
    you mean to tell me someone else is using the patented 'tecumseh stick' and have not payed me any royalties for this idea?

    ps to afterburn001. building shims obtainable in any building supply store make for an easy way to make entrances between the various hive bodies.
     
  8. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Ha! You would have liked him, he was a short stacker, too :) He over wintered about 100 hives in single deeps, added a second deep during the flow and no more. He'd invite people to come buy swarms for $25 each, BYOB (box, not beer.) He needed the ventilation, too, because he had Russians, and he was a full sun guy, all the way, and Arkansas can get pretty hot, of course.

    I tried doing sticks for a bit, but it was a pain during inspections to have to mess with them, so I took to just putting a little screw in the inner hive cover, on the underneath side so the screw head rests on the top of the hive body. If I wanted more or less ventilation (or use the space as an upper entrance or not) I'd just keep a screwdriver in my pocket and give the screw about a half turn one way or the other. Usually it never needed any adjusting, they got the same ventilation in the winter as in the summer.....