When does my hive need a second brood chamber?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Kevin, Nov 2, 2014.

  1. Kevin

    Kevin New Member

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    Its early summer now and I added my super about 4 weeks ago. 7 of 10 frames are full of honey and the hive is packed. Im keeping Carnicas (in Africa) and read that they are prone to swarming due to rapid hive expansion in summer. How do I know when my hive needs a second brood chamber? IMG_2008.jpg IMG_2007.jpg IMG_2003.jpg
     
  2. LazyBkpr

    LazyBkpr New Member

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    So.. your running a single deep with Supers above it? I assume with a queen excluder to keep the queen out of the super?

    I typically let my bees build up into a double deep BEFORE I ever put a honey super on them, so to answer the question I would say It should have already been done... BUT.. I have no idea what your climate is like there, or your methods of beekeeping. I can only speak as to my own experience and methods...
     

  3. Kevin

    Kevin New Member

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    No queen excluder, single deep with a super on it...
     
  4. LazyBkpr

    LazyBkpr New Member

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    Is your queen not using the super? If she isnt, she will when she gets enough bees built up... Again, provided your conditions are not radically different than ours here..
     
  5. Kevin

    Kevin New Member

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    Nope, she is not using it yet. Last year she never expanded her brood frames much (was her first season in Africa), but this year there are many more bees it seems, judging from the bees in the super and the amount of honey already.
     
  6. Walt B

    Walt B Active Member

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    Judging from your latitude, your climate is very different from what I have here in Texas. I would think it is tropical? Be that as it may, there may be some similarities in that my girls really don't have much "down time" due to cold weather. Yours probably don't have any.

    Probably what I said above makes no sense, or has no relevance, but climate has a way of making things different. Anyway, the set up that I use is a deep. When it has seven or eight frames full, I add another deep. That's all for the ladies. When the second deep is seven or eight frames full, I add a super, just for me. And so it goes. Don't know if this helps, but if you have your last super with 7 frames full, I'd add another one. It may be the bees are using the first super as a "second deep"?

    Walt
     
  7. ibeelearning

    ibeelearning Member

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    These guys are right about the relevance of our information for your location. Carnicas in Africa? I don't have a clue.

    But, if it is any help, many of my mistakes have come from not letting hives build up properly before stressing them to build, build, build. FatBeeMan does a little riff on not making your bees "depressed" by "requiring" more of them they can do. Like most things Don says, I roll my eyes. And, then a year later, it begins to make sense.

    All this is to say: I would expect very little out of them the first year. Then, go with the double deep the second spring. If they build that up, add a honey super. I have no idea what your bees need for "winter" stores, but I would be generous. I would rather have a strong, elder hive with resistance to disease, the ability to care for itself, and reserve strength to take a hit, than one that produces some early honey and dies in year two, or going into year three.
     
  8. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Walt ..... If I remember correctly, Kevin has an unusual climate. The rainfall is very low and the moisture comes in from the sea.

    There is an added problem. The local bees are "scuts" ..... scutellata. I have been puzzling since Kevin's recent posts as to how he is going to maintain and increase the number of Carnie hives he might want. He might find some help or clues in the posts from Oliver (in Brazil) who has to cope with a surrounding population of Africanized Honeybees.
     
  9. Kevin

    Kevin New Member

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    Hey Guys, even more confused :)
    As to how Ill maintain or increase, I may have to get more queens from Europe!
    The weather is hot and dry in summer and misty in the winter, average temp of 21 degrees celsius.(70F) winter lows at night are mostly around the 46F. Warms up in the day and ladies do go out a bit for a stroll. No tropical climate though, located in the middle of a desert along the coast. All plants have been planted!
    What would I do now to get them to build up another brood if they have nearly filled the super?
     
  10. LazyBkpr

    LazyBkpr New Member

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    When I am trying to get bees to draw comb I feed them 1 to 1 syrup. So basically, put your box with foundation on, and get a feeder on as well. With temps like that you may not need more than you have to winter them. Hopefully someone with a similar climate can elaborate. Any clubs or other beekeepers near you Kevin?
     
  11. Kevin

    Kevin New Member

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    So I harvest the super, and replace with an empty brood with foundation?
    Why would it be any different to the empty super?

    No bee clubs or beekeepers here, only me and a mate that taught me :) Im the only beekeeper in town that I know of - actually I caught a swarm the other day and gave it to a mate for his aquaponics and fruit trees :)
     
  12. Walt B

    Walt B Active Member

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    Thanks to Barbarian's post, I went back and read some of the earlier posts about climate, configuration, and plantings. Seems the configuration thing with brood boxes and all was discussed in 2012.

    That being said, since you say it is early summer, I'd leave everything on and add a second super. The bees will manipulate as they want. Depending on the amount of "bee plantings", it may be the "carrying capacity" of your area is a hive or two, and maybe just enough for a hive to survive and pollinate. If the second super begins to fill up, then you may want to think about harvesting.

    Walt
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014
  13. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Kevin ..... I have been giving your situation some thought.

    Your single Carnie hive may produce some new queens by chance or by your manipulation. The problem would be that these queens are almost certain to be mated by scut drones. If your intending to have Carnie hives then you may need a long term plan.

    Your isolated location could prove a help. In the UK, bee breeders are often looking for isolated apiary sites. At such a site, the breeder sets up selected drone producing hives. The intention is to flood the area with drones from the selected hives. Mating nucs with Q cells or virgins are taken to the mating apiary with the hope that the queens will be mated with drones from the selected hives.

    This year you could introduce Carnie genes into the local pool by making your hive produce extra drones. One way to do this would be to put a drawn super frame in your brood box at the edge of the brood area. The bees will usually build drone comb from the bottom bar.

    Are you able to visually distinguish Carnie workers from Scut workers ? If you can then this would be a great help when it comes to selecting your future generations of queens/colonies.

    Colin
     
  14. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    better yet, place a foundationless frame in the hive in the outside location. I use one in each hive for varroa control Bees build drone comb in it every time.
     
  15. Kevin

    Kevin New Member

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    Great advice Barbarian! I think its a brilliant idea to build up the drone population.
    Im wondering if I should try out a few different European queens before I settle with the Carnies? See who's the best out here….any suggestions?
    Answering your Q, I can tell pretty easily which are my workers, even my aunt down the road can tell them apart in her garden :)
    SO my super has 8/10 frames capped, the other two were at the edges and not drawn, Ive placed them in the centre between capped frames hoping they'd get filled too.
    Im waiting for my Eu foundation to put my next brood or super on and they're just not arriving from germany, hope she doesn't decide to swarm….. how full is too full that she might decide to swarm?
     
  16. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    I am sorry you haven't had a reply to the last post.

    I can't advise you as to a suitable race of bees for you to have. My bees are a strain of mutts which over the years I have selected to suit my local conditions. The selection has been a combination of choosing to retain a colony with good traits and replacing colonies showing bad traits. You selected Carnies as a possible race for you. Only one of your Carnie colonies survived till now so it shows that Carnies can survive your local conditions. It may be wise to stick to Carnies and as your skill and knowledge of them grows you can improve on your results.

    Have a read of the posts about swarming. You should get advice as to how to prevent swarming. For me, the one thing I wouldn't want would be for the Q to leave the hive in a swarm. I would separate a nuc containing the Q. The original hive should be left with some frames having eggs. In about 10 days or so there should be frames with mature Q cells in the original brood box. From the original hive, the next step would be to make up a couple of nucs each having one frame of Q cells, one of stores and one of bees. I might want to shake some more bees from the original into each new nuc. Hopefully each of the new nucs will raise and mate a new Q. Back at the original hive, any remaining Q cells are destroyed and the first nuc (with the original Q) is united to this colony. You should then have a queen-right colony with plenty of foragers to build up again.

    I have read that scuts try to take over existing colonies. To avoid this, small entrances are advised. Oliver used pipe entrances with a bend in them. The idea was to have an entrance which was easier to defend.

    These are my thoughts. I hope that other members will chip in with comments and other suggestions.

    Colin
     
  17. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I think moving those 2 frames to the center might slow her swarming instinct, as she won't perceive a "honey cap". I live in North Texas in an extreme drought, most of my bees forage I planted, and each year I sell or give away a hive or 2, to allow myself to enjoy my bees, as I enjoy building up a hive from 2 frames and a queen, but I do not have enough forage to feed them. My favorite queens for this area are Beeweaver Queens, they produce a small hive, they are a little aggressive but good at defending their space from larger hives as long as I keep the opening small. They are probably a cross between Italian and AHB, they are a little feisty, but I have NO idea how you would get them to Africa