Should I check lower brood box

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by letitbee, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. letitbee

    letitbee New Member

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    I recently added a second brood box when I combined 2 hives. I added a second box to my good hive one day when I decided to combine my failing colony into my strong one. I took off the second box and combined the two. At the time I decided on the second brood box, my strong hive looked awesome. Lots of brood, eight frames drawn out, tons of pollen and capped honey. I was checking the hive the other day and felt a bee crawling on my finger as I was holding a frame and low and behold it was the queen. Can't find her when I look for her..lol. She was checking cells so obviously she is looking to lay. Should I bother looking in the lower box for awhile or focus on the upper. The bees have some gnarly comb to straighten out in the top one and I'm hoping to see new brood in the next week or so.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I try to have a fairly good idea of the condition of all boxes on all hives at all times. If it has been long enough that you have no idea what the condition of the bottom box is, by all means check it out.
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I don't know how others do things but here is my take.
    Like Iddee, if I can't remember (not saying Iddee is slipping or anything :lol: ) what the condition of a hive might be, it's time to go in.
    I always start by setting the telescopic cover upside down beside the hive.
    Then I crack the top box off and set it on the upside down cover slightly askew so the frame bottoms are raised (leaving the inner cover on).
    Then I go through the bottom box first. If I find all is ok, (see the queen or eggs) I stop.
    Then I go through the top box (easier to do if queen was spotted in the bottom box).
    If all is fine simply restack and go.
    I found if I went through the top box first, I was killing a lot of bees on the bridge/burr comb built up between the boxes as I moved the frames. With the top box removed, I can clean up all the bridge comb and even get a chance to inspect any drone cells that were broken open for mites. With the bridge/burr comb removed there are fewer bees squished when the top box is replaced.
    Just my way, I am sure there are other/better ways. ;)
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I am certain Iddee is pointing you in the proper direction here. Just for my information how many box are we talking about... you combined but I am not certain of the total? if you have less than acceptable frames now may be a good time to reshuffle the frames a bit. old misshappend comb and drone frames are good to shuffle to the outside of the brood box. if they already have some feed in them that's a plus. the idea would be to consolidate the brood nest downward. move any empties upward above the brood nest and any solid capped frames of honey out of the way of brood nest expansion.
     
  5. letitbee

    letitbee New Member

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    tecumseh, I started out with brand new hives and packaged bees so both my hives were still in one brood box. I combined the two boxes after finding one hive queenless. My beek friend told me it would be too late in the season for a new queen even if they did accept her. The brood box from my strong hive is obviously the lower, I guess my question is, because the strong hive was doing so well, I hate to bother the bottom box. I am hoping the bees will straighten out the bad comb so my awesome queen will fill it with brood. Even though I am new to beekeeping, I really have no desire to be in the hives all the time. I check them once every 10 days or so, which was a mistake because I didn't catch my one hive being queenless until it was too late. I realize that proper management of the hives is important but I also believe in letting them do their thing without my interruptions all the time. I plan on doing splits next year and taking over some of my friends hives but my main objective now is to try to help my hive to survive the winter. We have had a lot of crappy weather and rain and the poor bees don't get out every day..although they seem to make up for lost time on the good days.
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    thanks for the clarification letitbee. there is always two voices for the new bee keeper with one sayin' you need to get in there and do something and the other sayin' just let it bee (<unintended ha ha).
     
  7. letitbee

    letitbee New Member

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    HAHA...yeah I'm a letitbee kinda guy! My friend told me that he feels that every time you go into the hive and disrupt the bees, it sets them back a bit. I don't know how true that is but I am always amazed by how much the girls get done every time I do go in. I started with brand new foundation, no comb whatsoever, and within 3 weeks they had drawn out 8 frames in crappy weather. Nice looking comb too. I had visions of all that honey I was gonna harvest and now all I hope for is for them to make it through winter. My friend advised me to let them roar and get the hive strong instead of me poking around in there all the time. I like to visit briefly and let them "bee" :D .Thanks so much for all the help though...I do appreciate it! :wave:
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    do get in there some. if you are just starting you have a bit to learn and not all that need to be known can be obtained simply by reading a book or asking a trusted friend. some things you just got to come to know on your own (imho).

    I think your friend is absolutely correct... and the old wisdom was if you wanted to maximize a honey crop you disturbed them the least when there was a flow going on. ideally you only added supers.

    best of luck to ya'...