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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just did 5 splits and have just added the Buckfast queens I received from Ferguson's.
All these hives (the 5 I split and the 5 new ones) all need second deeps now. I have the boxes but what I am wondering is if I can use a bunch of frames of completely capped honey from last year interspersed with frames with foundation? Should I put the honey ones in positions 1-2, maybe 5 or 6, and 9-10, or alternate them across the board. I want to use these frames up and not have to buy a whack more of frames and foundation.
Any suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I guess what I am trying to figure out is what the bees would prefer to do! :frustrated: (like that's going to happen)
Would they be more inclined to draw out new comb on the foundation, or go after the frames of capped honey to free up the comb for brood rearing.
The only advantage I can see to alternating would be to get straight comb drawn, but I am thinking Iddee is probably right with keeping all the undrawn foundation in the center.
 

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Perry,
If you put any of those honey frames in center positions, you could try scratching the cappings on those ones. The bees are sure to clean it up, and in the process it may get their wax glands in overdrive and get the rest of that foundation drawn.

In a perfect world, they'd leave those center frames w/ empty comb for the queen to lay in. Of course, bees rarely agree with our definition of "perfect".

-Dan
 

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No, that sounds like their M.O. Perhaps if you just scratched honey cappings in any position it would do the same thing to stimulate comb building (I think that was a Tec tip from way back).

I still think it'd be worth the experiment to put a frame of honey in the center position, scratch the cappings, and see if they clean out the honey and reserve the comb for brood rearing. If there's a flow on, maybe it's not worth even thinking about.
 

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If there's a flow on, maybe it's not worth even thinking about.
That's the big issue. If the nectar is coming fast, they'll build anywhere they find apropriate. In that situation, I'd prefer alternating built and unbuilt frames so as to encourage them to make nice straight combs. If the flow is slow, I think it would be best to keep the unbuilt frames together and let the bees work from one built area as far as they can manage while it's still coming in. I don't think they'll move the capped-scraped honey while nectar is flowing. If you want the frames for brood, extract them and return the empties.
 

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I noticed with my bees that they will draw the foundation that is facing a full comb first. I also noticed if left with empty space up the middle they will start there but toward the northern edge building comb across the face of the foundation toward the south. They also favor working westerly over easterly. I Think this is partially so right now due to where the heat is in the hive.

Otherwise it appears to me they treat foundation just like any other surface that breaks bee space. they just want to fill it up.

I also noticed when I put a 5 frame nuc in the hive they considered the outer frames of honey as the outer limits of their hive regardless of there being 5 new frames outside of that. when I moved a frame of foundation inside that frame of honey they woudl set out to draw the comb quickly. SO I moved frames in my hive to
1 foundation
2 foundation
3 honey from nuc
4 foundation
5 brood from nuc
6 brood from nuc
7 pollen honey some broodfrom nuc
8 foundations
9 honey from nuc
10 foundation

I left it this way for several days and found not only drawn comb but eggs layed in that new comb. Also realize that frames 2 and 10 where both drawn on the side facing honey. So I swapped frames 2 and 3 and 9 and 10 and the foundations was completely drawn out in a few more days. with the exception of frame 1. Most of this box ended up brood but one thing that did surprise me is that they filled frame 8 with honey and actually ended up splitting their own brood nest. I again swapped frames 1 and 2 waited a few days and found the box to be what I considered 80% full. So I added the second deep.

So in all the impression on me is that when the bees are moving horizontally through the hive and find a full frame of honey, they think they are at the end of the nest. Any space inside that comb of honey will be built out. any space outside that honey is ignored to a large degree.
 

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""So in all the impression on me is that when the bees are moving horizontally through the hive and find a full frame of honey, they think they are at the end of the nest. Any space inside that comb of honey will be built out. any space outside that honey is ignored to a large degree""


I agree to an extent. If you had said frame of pollen rather than honey, I would agree 100%. They are reluctant to cross a frame of honey, but absolutely refuse to cross a frame of pollen.
 

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A Different Slant

If I had bought in some new queens (to improve my stock), I would be thinking differently.

I would want to give them the best chance of surviving to the next season. Next season would be used to breed from them. For winter survival, I would want the colonies to be strong and healthy with good stores. My priority would be to work towards this.

Unless the need was urgent, to ask the colonies also to draw out foundation would not help. The drive of the colony should be towards build-up and none of this drive should be diverted to comb building. When you give a colony two jobs there may be a risk of neither job being done as fully as possible. The comb building should be given to other dedicated colonies.

Ideally, to build a colony into a second brood box you would need empty drawn comb and a nectar flow (or feeding). With just frames of capped honey, I would go for a set up where the frames of brood are placed centrally in both boxes. Outside of this central block would go the frames of capped honey. Part of the nearest face of the honey frames against the brood block would be scratched to encourage expansion of the brood nest. The frames of honey may form a barrier to nest expansion. To try to counter this, a super of drawn comb (above an excluder) may help --- it shouldn't hinder. If the bees are very co-operative they will move the honey into the super and give the brood the space to expand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That is some very interesting thought Barbarian. :thumbsup: I am going to check and see if the queens are released today, and if all is well I am going to add the second deep. I have cleaned some comb I discovered and I will start with capped honey in frames 1-2 and 9-10 and add a frame of empty comb right in the middle. Once they have settled in I will probably go back and reorganize things keeping in mind what you have suggested.
 

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I like your proposal Perry.:thumbsup:
Do you expect a late summer flow (goldenrod?) in your area?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I like your proposal Perry.:thumbsup:
Do you expect a late summer flow (goldenrod?) in your area?
Morning Efmesch.

Yes, there is some goldenrod just starting to bloom now but I have found from past experience that they do not work it until it has been in bloom for a few weeks. The goldenrod and aster flow are the last big flow for us up here.
It is weird because the goldenrod is coming on and the clover is still going. :confused:
 

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Good afternoon Perry (time-zone differences)
Because of situations like that (not the same plant species as with you) I rarely name my honey after a particular source. I used to have Citrus honey and then the groves were replaced by other plants. :eek: Today I call my honey after the season when it's extracted: spring honey or summer honey. :dontknow:
 

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If you just scratch the honey the bees sometimes just reseals the capping and leaves the honey where it is. Contaminate it by dunking the frame in a pail of clean water after you've scratched the cappings and the bees will remove it and restore it and ripen it again. This works great on frames with granulated honey in them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Efmesch: :thumbsup: That's exactly what I do as well, summer honey and fall honey! :wink:

ApisBees: Interesting.
 
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