When to add second brood chamber on new hive

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Steve777, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. Steve777

    Steve777 New Member

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    So I have this hive which I started in April with a queen and 3# of bees. I have been feeding (some pollen sub which stopped when I started seeing them come in with pollen) and sugar syrup. They have been going thru roughly 1 qt of 1:1 sugar syrup every 3-4 days. The syrup is being feed by a qt canning jar over the inner cover hole, with an empty full size box over it.

    About 2 weeks ago I inspected the hive before changing syrup jars, and found brood on 5-6 frames with a couple of empty frames at either end of the box. We are still early in the nectar flow, apple blossoms just opened last week, and the bees seem busy enough bringing pollen and presumably nectar in.

    So my question is when should I add the second full height brood box? Before the bees feel a size pressure and start thinking about swarming; but I am not sure when that is? The question is complicated some because the empty box covering the feeding jar is my second brood chamber to be. So I will have to either stop feeding or find another feed method when I add the second box to the brood.

    I was about to open the hive for another inspection, and wanted to find out how to tell when to stop feeding and/or add another box. Any obvious signs of when to add a second brood box to a new package of bees? And how to tell when to stop feeding?

    And on a related note, A week or two ago I removed the entrance reducer from the hive, as days were getting warmer and there was a lot of traffic congestion with the small opening. I left the reducer off entirely as the bees seem to need the extra opening, but now I am having second thought about possible robbing. What would be the "right" sized opening for a hive at this stage?

    TIA
     
  2. Walt B

    Walt B Active Member

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    I've gone with adding a new box when there are 7-8 frames full. There are probably other opinions.

    Walt
     

  3. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Add the 2nd deep when 80 percent of the frames are drawn in the first. I usually take a frame of brood from the first and move to the 2nd deep to help get them up and working it. I would order another deep to put the feeder in. You will need it sooner or later anyhow. I Like to feed until they have 2 deeps drawn and some weight on the hive before removing the feeder. Your first year with a package you want to focus on getting them built up and ready for the winter. Robbing shouldnt be a problem if there is a flow on and the hive is strong.
     
  4. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    like walt and riverrat said for adding the second deep. 7-8 frames or 80%, i tend to add it sooner when there is a really good nectar flow....like walt said 7 frames. you can tell when inspecting, how quickly the bees draw this out, and you want to keep ahead of them. if you find the bees are ignoring and not drawing out undrawn frames, these can be shifted.
    swarming; package bees and a young queen typically, and in general, will not swarm the first year.
    about your second deep empty box to be brood chamber for feeding; add a third deep box on top to cover the feed jar/pail, they will come up for the feed.
    when to stop feeding? when they stop taking it.
    entrance reducer; adjust the entrance reducer to the size of the traffic jam, and removal of this will aid in hive ventilation.
    robbing; many variables on this.....how many hives do you have? strong hives will rob from weaker hives. during nectar flows robbing is usually not an issue until later in the season (or dearth) when nectar flows drop off and/ or there is a dearth. you can place the er down to the smallest opening, but i prefer to use robbing screens in the heat of the summer months, and also screen off any top entrances.

    like riverrat said ,"Your first year with a package you want to focus on getting them built up and ready for the winter"

    :grin:
     
  5. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    I add a box when the first is 80% full. Bees are a little slower about getting to the edges. So if they fill out 8 fraems of a 10 frame box I consider them done until they have conditions that will motivate them to pack every box as full as it can get. Keep in mind I measure a full frame not only in that it it is drawn in height and width but that it is drawn out and filled in thickness as well.
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I don't look at what is in the frames. In a 10 frame box, there are 11 open slots. When I open the lid and look down, if 8 or nine slots are filled with bees, I add a box.
     
  7. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    I use two saparate pieces of wood for entrance reducer. The opening can be whatever I want. If you don't have any more deep boxes, use two supers as a casing for the feeding jar. When you get to the point where you have 6 frames of solid brood in the hive, the population ramps up quite quickly. Sounds like you should have the second box on already.