Nobody working upstairs

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by ibeelearning, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. ibeelearning

    ibeelearning Member

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    :wave: Hi, all:

    I love the board... and am particularly impressed with the lack of rancor. Beekeepers may indeed be a different race! Thank you!!!!!

    New beekeeper (20+ years ago just to pollenate doesn't count), new hive in NE Alabama. New package with queen went into the deep the first week in April. A very dark and wet spring seemed to slow things down; they may have even requeened during that time. But by Memorial Day, the deep was drawn and operating and all seemed happy. So, I put on the excluder and super. The deep has looked great; the super has been very slow to populate.

    Reading the board, that seems normal, so I didn't worry too much. Checking every couple weeks (I pretty much have to smoke 'm to mow, anyway) the population in the super seemed to be ramping up.

    But today, although there were several hundred bees in the super, there was no drawn comb at all. Everybody looks fine in the brood box. Forgetting that I wanted to steal one frame of honey before fall, now I'm wondering about their stores for the winter.

    So, all decked out, smoking, dripping, and standing in the 100 degree heat, I made the command decision to remove the excluder. I left it propped by the hive; they immediately started cleaning it up. I know it's my imagination, but everybody already seemed happier.

    Did newbe over-react?

    Assuming they start moving up and drawing comb, when do I put it back?

    Thanks, again, for a great board.

    IBL
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    If you had never put it on, you would likely have 3 full boxes by now. NEVER put an excluder under foundation. Only under drawn comb, and then only if you are one who just has to have it. I never use one, but don't fault those who do. If there is no drawn comb above the excluder, the bees think it is the top of their home and seldom if ever work through it.
     

  3. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    I spent the first 5 years of beekeeping not using an excluder. I had no use for one and learned to keep bees without them. Then as I got more educated on excluders by talking to people who used them and comparing there set up for bees to mine. I then bought some and put them to use with good success. IMHO a keep should have an excluder as one of the last things on his list to buy and possible not at all on the list until later. After getting going and a couple years under your belt you can make a decision on if they would fit in on the style of beekeeping you want to pursue
     
  4. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Unless you are deliberately wanting to harvest Honey, there is no real reason to put an excluder on.

    All my research and understanding this year, is that a nuc or swarm hive should be left to grow as natural as possible first year.... ie add boxes when full and let them do what bees do. Making sure they have enough stores going into winter.

    My big hive has 5 boxes and no excluder and the queen is happy in bottom two boxes at present, will be pulling another (3rd) box of honey off today.
     
  5. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I'm no so negative on excluders. My experience with them has not always been consistent. But I bless them every time I open an upper super and don't have to do any sorting of total honey frames from those big, beautiful, bulging honey frames that have to be left in the hive because they've been "ruined" by small patches of developing brood. Having to come back a few weeks later to get that honey isn't always practical--who wants to set up the whole extraction operation again? :|
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    might I suggest (and as suggest somewhat by Jerry Hayes article 'Is a Queen Excluder a Honey Excluder) if you had closed off the bottom entrance and provide an entrance only above the excluder or at the top of the stack then you would have highly encourage the field bees to utilize the closes available space. almost always when I do add an excluder I do like to place at least one pulled frame of comb in a box of frames with foundation only.
     
  7. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Tec,
    That sounds like a brilliant idea. :thumbsup:
    It is too late in the local season to try it this year (in another week I'll be taking off the summer honey and the bees aren't really collecting anything now) but if my long term memory is functional for next spring( :| ) I will certainly give it a try. ;)
     
  8. Bo's buzzers

    Bo's buzzers New Member

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    I have 4 hives and one is doing great and the others are are having a hard time. This drought in south Texas has been tough on them. Is there anything I can do to help them start drawing comb?
    I have fed them all summer and the drink a quart a day...but I don't know where they put it??
     
  9. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    Bees consume a lot and put away very little this time of year. They do not necessarily need more room just because they are on the front porch staying cool. They need the water to cool and humidify all that space you give them to heat, cool, ventilate humidify and defend.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    efmesch...
    I think you would find mr hayes article quite insightful. for me it kind of represents a 'you can teach old dogs new tricks' moment since my bee keeping upbringing (primarily via commercial mentors) had convinced me that a queen excluder was a honey excluder. I think the article was published in the American Bee Journal in about 1985 or so. I did reproduce mr hayes experiment here since I am a bit (<definitely an understatement) of a sceptic.

    mr hayes is the current state bee inspector for the State of Florida and answers questions in a regular running article (The Classroom) in the ABJ. you might be able to get a copy from Mr Hayes directly by email gwhayes54@yahoo.com. given mr hayes day job sometimes he doesn't respond instantly but he does get back to you fairly promptly.
     
  11. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Tec:
    Thanks for the original info and for the lead to Hayes and his article.
    Bless You. ;)