Please help me understand bee movements up and down

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by litefoot, Apr 7, 2013.

  1. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    I just want to understand bee behavior a little better and also why they move honey: 1) The workers force the queen down in the Spring. Does that mean the workers are filling all available space above and she has to move down to find room to lay eggs? 2) I know bees move residual honey down when you place a freshly extracted super above the brood chambers. Why is the inner cover placed in between? 3) If I have filled super frames that I want to feed back to the bees, is there ever a time when placing it below the deeps makes more sense? Would the bees move it up to keep it away from the entrance? 4) Is it usually necessary to scratch capped honey to encourage the workers to use/move it? Thanks!:smile:
     
  2. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip...
    3) If I have filled super frames that I want to feed back to the bees, is there ever a time when placing it below the deeps makes more sense? Would the bees move it up to keep it away from the entrance? 4) Is it usually necessary to scratch capped honey to encourage the workers to use/move it?

    tecumseh...
    this is a classical manipulation and yes some small amount of scratching the capping simply speeds the process up considerable. the only time this would not work is in the winter time when you would NOT wish to make any extreme changes in the hive's set up anyway.

    actually in regards to 1 the workers and only forcing the queen down in an indirect fashion in that they are building a feed (nectar and/or pollen) ring or cap around the brood/cluster. this ring around the brood nest (which can be imagined as the shape of a volley ball) as it reduces cells for the queen to lay into above, then forces the brood nest to slowly be moved downward.

    as to 2 I have no idea beyond some folks use to do this and then turn the super upside down which then kept the queen from ever laying in this upper box. I don't use inner cover myself so I have no experience in doing this myself (that is segregating boxes with an inner cover).
     

  3. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    It's not so much that the inner cover is "placed in between" as much as "the supers are placed on top", i.e., when I come back from extracting and want the bees to clean out the freshly-extracted supers, I just pop off the telescoping cover, place the supers on top of the inner cover and replace the telescoping cover. Since the inner cover stays put, I don't have a lot of bees in the air (either for putting the supers on, or taking them off a day or so later).

    I've tried placing the supers on my back porch to have them clean up the wet supers, but it creates too much of a frenzy.
     
  4. Ray

    Ray Member

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    Thanks for the question litefoot!
    Come on beeks inquiring minds want to know:grin:
    :think:
    Does this process (moving stores up) end with the first big nectar/pollen harvest in the spring?
    Do the bees use the beebread from below the cluster, or leave it for later use?
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    The inner cover is used when you want the super cleaned. It makes them think the super is separate from the hive. Without the inner cover under it, they think the super is part of their home and fill it rather than emptying it.

    The bees store honey above and around the brood nest, not below it. They will rearrange it until it is that way.
     
  6. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    I thought the extra supers I placed above the inner covers(with holes) would have the honey moved down into the double deeps below but they didnt seem to move on it. Someone suggested that scratching up capped portions would help. Another was to dip the frames in water would encourage them to move it. One of Tec's recent posts about putting the super on upside down could also have an effect in this situation. Still another suggestion was to put an extra empty super (no frames) between the inner cover and the super you want emptied could put further influence on the bees deciding that it was not theirs unless they moved it down into space that smelled more like home.

    I finally pulled the inner cover out and dropped the mostly capped honey supers down onto the deeps and wrapped things up last fall. They apparently had enough down below as a peak in shows they still are not working it very much.
    maybe I was just trying to get them to do something the considered a silly exercise. Probably lots of subtle reasons why some of our bee tricks seem to work or not work the way they are reported to. Sure makes things interesting dealing with the little bugs!
     
  7. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Indy, Tec and Iddee:
    Thank you all. Very good information. I have a medium super left over from the winter that the queen started laying in. I moved her into the deeps after I gave her some laying room and then inserted an excluder. The girls then started filling the super with robbed honey from a dead out. Problem is they were filled while I was treating for mites. I'd like to feed it back to a new package and/or nuc. And I want to have some drawn medium frames ready for the main flow. Would you place the super over an IC or under the bottom deep?
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would run the bees out and put the new super on. Then I would install the package into the honey filled super with a deep on bottom. If a nuc, I would install the nuc in a hive and add the honey filled super to the top of it.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    It's not so much that the inner cover is "placed in between" as much as "the supers are placed on top", i.e., when I come back from extracting and want the bees to clean out the freshly-extracted supers

    tecumseh...
    that is pretty much what I do although (and as previously stated) I don't use inner covers. upside down supers (which I really don't do since I don't really care if a hive does or does not store anything up there anyway) would simply due to the upside down configuration of the cells simply make storing anything up there impossible (the fluid would simply run out).

    ps... I would do much like Iddee suggest above although I would like install the package into the drawn comb and then a bit later and after I knew the hive was well establish (maybe a week or so later) simply add the deep above the super <looks a bit strange but after a while you come to know that 'the girls' really do not care.