Split During Nectar Flow???

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Dbure, May 30, 2013.

  1. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    I have a dilema and need some input. One of my hives, the strongest one, seems to have run out of room for it's tenants. I don't currently have a queen excluder on this hive and when going to pull honey from the super I found that the queen had laid brood across the bottom edges of the frames and up the front of some in the middle. The daytime temperatures here have been in the 80's and in the mornings in the upper 60's so I am surprised to see that the front exterior of the lower brood box stays covered in bees through the night. Without tearing it down into the lower boxes to see, it makes me think that they do not have enough room. I thought perhaps the humidity may play a role in this but my other hives don't seem to be affected. The super is completely full and capped now and packed with bees. What would yo do? Would you add another super with a queen excluder, or would you split this hive in the middle of the flow? My biggest concern is swarming due to the queen not having enough room to lay. This hive has two deep brood boxes below the super. I have always heard that splitting during the flow would not be advisable if you expect to harvest any honey. How would you get the frames of honey out of the super without having brood in them?

    Last year I did not have this issue because we used excluders. The majority of my property is shaded causing problems with SHB. We removed the excluders when learning that beetles had found a way to hide in the wood frame edging and then added screened bottom boards with traps. This appears to have worked very well. But I would like to go back to using excluders that don't have the crevaces in the edge like the wood bound ones.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    The first thing to do is go into the bottom boxes. They may be empty. You have to know the condition of the whole hive before you can decide what to do.
     

  3. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    Thank you Iddee. I know that that is the right thing to do. Tomorrow I will be off from work and should have the day to do it. My observations make me feel that they are out of room, but if the lower boxes are empty then would you swap them to move the queen back down? Do you know why the bees might be bearding on the front with the temps not even in the 90's?
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Even if the lower boxes are empty, they are still drawn, taking up the space and reducing the air flow. As heat rises, they must cool the upper section even more. A bit of top ventilation may help with the bearding. They will always store from the top down and place the brood in the lower section of the honey storage. If you reverse the lower box with the upper, they will just move every thing back up unless there is a flow. During a flow, they will push the queen down, thus the brood, and store the nectar in the top.
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    The daytime temperatures here have been in the 80's and in the mornings in the upper 60's so I am surprised to see that the front exterior of the lower brood box stays covered in bees through the night.

    tecumseh...
    I would guess that 1) the lower box is full also and 2) shortly this hive will swarm outright.

    for exactly the reason you describe I do not like wood bound excluder and for some of the same end results I do not like the plastic type excluder. get yourself an excluder that is metal bound around the edge... that is at least what I use.

     
  6. Beeboy

    Beeboy New Member

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    I read on here recently that to receive maximum honey flow you should requeen during the nectar flow. This causes a lapse of brood, so since there is no brood to tend to they will go gather nectar so you have more bees foraging, thus more honey.
     
  7. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    What you said about ventilation Iddee is something I have always been mindful of. As the temps heat up I have also been using full screened inner covers to allow for more air flow. It was working very well until we had problems with beetles last year. The screening was large enough for the beetles to pass through and kept the bees from being able to keep them out. My husband ended up covering the screens with smaller screen material and the problem with the beetles going through was stopped. We've considered having some of the trees cut down to allow for more sun, but the sheer expense of it has kept us from doing it right now. More sun also means hotter conditions for the hives and the need for good ventilation.

    Tecumseh, you have said what my biggest concern is, and that is swarming. Tomorrow I will be going into the hive to make a complete inspection from top to bottom. I realize that what Iddee said about knowing what is going on inside is the only way I am going to know for sure what needs to be done. If this hive is packed with bees in the 2 brood boxes, when would you advise to split it?
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I will wait for the report before suggesting anything.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    if the boxes are full of bees I would split as soon as I could get a mated queen in my hands. if you don't wish to buy a new queen then I would spend the time* to find the old queen and remove her in a small nuc (say 3 or 4 frames) and allow the hive to rear their own queen. As beeboy suggest above (and which is actually quite correct) this brief termination in brood rearing can actually mean that the honey production from this one hive is actually enhanced.

    *with a lot of bees in the hive this is much easier to do with two people than with one and if you have question about if you can or cannot find the queen simply take an old hive body shell, nail that wood bound excluder to the bottom and drive all the bees in the box thru the excluder using a lot of smoke <that is likely the best use for one of those wood bound excluders anyway.

    ​and good luck.